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The earliest documentation of my Yankee obsession, sporting my little Yankees jacket in 1987. I’m less than 2 years old.

I can mark the timeline of my life by the ebb and flow of the New York Yankees.

  • 1996: They win the title.  I’m in 5th grade, checking the standings while waiting for the bus.
  • October 11, 1999: They beat Cleveland in game 5 of the ALCS.  It’s my birthday.
  • 2001: They lose a game 7 heart-breaker in Arizona.  I’m recovering from appendicitis.
  • 2004: They lose an 0-3 lead in the ALCS.  I am a freshman in a college near Boston, seriously contemplating a transfer.
  • August 3, 2012: They beat Seattle 6-3.  I get married.

Yankee milestones are the tabs on my mind’s Rolodex of memories.  ‘1998?  Championship.  125 wins.  7th grade.  I get slapped in the face by Amanda Shapiro.’  That is how my brain connects the dots.  The boys in pinstripes are my life’s point of reference.

My Yankee loving pedigree runs deep.  My maternal grandmother can recall watching Joe DiMaggio play at Yankee Stadium. Her intensity as a fan remains and is such that when my grandpa flips the channel at the end of an inning to check the Mets score, she switches on the TV in the guest room so that she doesn’t miss a pitch.

My paternal grandfather grew up in the Bronx and, although his heart was with Mel Ott and the New York Giants, he “saw more games at Yankee Stadium than you can shake a stick at.”  He remembers the days when boys under 12-years-old received free admission if accompanied by their father, and how he and his mates would grab the hands of nameless men to get through the gates.  My grandfather went on to become a New York City cop, so my father grew up in the shadow of the Stadium’s grand edifice.  The fact that my dad saw Mickey Mantle play means a lot to me, as though part of me is a little closer to having seen that powerful swing and those churning legs running down fly balls in centerfield.

I was born on Long Island in October of 1985.  October.  The Yanks are 9-4 all-time on my birthday.  I remember revering the name “Don Mattingly” long before I understood the game.  The modern Yankee dynasty coincided with the age in which I became sports-conscious.  It was a magical time to grow up in New York.  After their improbable run to the 1996 World Series, championships in 1998, 1999, and 2000 quickly followed and I was hooked.  The New York Yankees World Championship video became an automatic Christmas present, something my brother and I could pencil in on our lists around mid-July.

We all have a mixture of happy and sad memories of growing up; mine happen to be narrated by Joe Buck, John Sterling, and Michael Kay.  When I think of some of the happiest moments of my childhood I think of that Christmas I got all those G.I. Joes, lazy summer days, and Jim Leyritz’ home run.  When I recall some of my most painful memories closing my finger in the garage door and Luis Gonzalez’ bloop single come to mind.

On my first date with my wife, in July 2011, she informed me that she could never marry a Mets fan.  I fell in love.  In short, the Yankees are a part of me and I hope that as you encounter this site you enjoy the history of professional sports’ most glorious franchise as well as the passion I have for it.

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Praise for 161st and River

  • David Kaplan, Director of the Yogi Berra Museum: “Your blog is really terrific, a great mix of history and current and I’m hooked.”
  • Alex Belth of Bronx Banter: “Here’s a Yankee site that you must check out, bookmark, and make part of your regular Yankee reading.”  Read his two posts about the blog herehere, and here.
  • Eric of YankeeNumbers.com: “If you want to see some terrific pictures that you may not have seen elsewhere, you have to visit this website.  He also has some interesting lists, such as his list of the 61 greatest home runs in Yankee history and 86 moments vs. Boston.  It’s fun.  Check it out.”

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Thoughts?  Comments?

Contact Dan Hickey: octoberyank@gmail.com

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Michael permalink
    October 23, 2012 7:22 PM

    Sweet stuff…

  2. Anonymous permalink
    November 29, 2012 11:31 PM

    Well written, my man!!

  3. Anonymous permalink
    January 6, 2013 9:34 PM

    keep up the good work hickster

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