Vaccaro, Mike 1967(?)–
Vaccaro, Mike 1967(?)–
Born c. 1967; married; wife's name Leigh. Education: Degree from St. Bonaventure University, 1989.
Times-Herald, Olean, NY, reporter, beginning 1989;Northwest Arkansas Times, Fayetteville, sports editor, beginning 1991;New York Post, New York, NY, lead sports columnist, 2002—. Worked as columnist at Newark Star-Ledger, Kansas City Star, and Times Herald-Record(Middletown, NY). Guest on radio and television programs, including Angles(MSG-TV).
Winner of more than fifty major journalism awards since 1989; citations for distinguished writing from Associated Press Sports Editors, New York State Publishers Association, and the Poynter Institute.
Emperors and Idiots: The Hundred Year Rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox, from the Very Beginning to the End of the Curse, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2005.
1941—The Greatest Year in Sports: Two Baseball Legends, Two Boxing Champs, and the Unstoppable Thoroughbred Who Made History in the Shadow of War, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2007.
Mike Vaccaro is an award-winning sportswriter who, at the time of his hiring at the Northwest Arkansas Times, was the youngest sports editor of a daily newspaper in the United States. A little more than ten years later, he had progressed to the position of lead sports columnist for the New York Post, and he has been the recipient of numerous awards for his writing throughout his career. Vaccaro's two books each take sports as their subject. His first,Emperors and Idiots: The Hundred Year Rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox, from the Very Beginning to the End of the Curse, gives a history of one of the most celebrated and heated rivalries in professional baseball, that of the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. In his next book,1941—The Greatest Year in Sports: Two Baseball Legends, Two Boxing Champs, and the Unstoppable Thoroughbred Who Made History in the Shadow of War, the author discusses some major sporting events in 1941, juxtaposing them with the U.S. entry into World War II.
Emperors and Idiots documents the hundred-year history of the rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees. In the early years of professional baseball, the Red Sox were dominant, but fortunes reversed in 1920. At that time, Babe Ruth was sold from the Red Sox to the Yankees. Ruth went on to become one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, while the Red Sox fell into a slump, unable to win many key games from the Yankees for decades. Their losing streak became known as the "curse of the Bambino," referring to Ruth's nickname. In 2004, the Red Sox finally triumphed over the Yankees and won their first World Series pennant since Ruth had left the team.
Emperors and Idiots offers a look at many of the colorful incidents and personalities involved in both teams over the years—players, owners, managers, and the fans, who are the key to the rivalry's intensity. He gives particular attention to the 2003-2004 playoffs, interspersing his narrative of those years with flashbacks to other periods. According to Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times, Vaccaro "writes like a good utility infielder in straight-ahead, serviceable prose." She noted that Vaccaro did a good job of portraying "the intensity of this rivalry—the hostility; no, make that hate—many fans and team members feel toward one another." Vacarro's book is "evenhanded" as well as "lively and … marvelous," according to GraceAnne A. DeCandido in Booklist.
Discussing the two teams' rivalry in an interview with Frank Russo for NYYFans.com, Vaccaro said, "They are two awfully good, awfully proud franchises that drive each other to great, grand heights. That should be celebrated. There really is no other relationship like it anywhere else in sports. Maybe Army/Navy comes closest, from an emotional standpoint, but once you factor in the quality of play it doesn't even compare."
In 1941—The Greatest Year in Sports, Vaccaro illustrates the way sports served as a distraction for U.S. citizens during the year their country entered World War II. He intercuts events from the war with accounts of five key sporting events in 1941: a Triple Crown win by Whirlaway, a Thoroughbred race horse; a heavyweight bout between Joe Louis and Billy Conn; Ted Williams batting a .400 average; and Joe DiMaggio hitting in an unprecedented number of consecutive games. A Publishers Weekly writer felt that the book's thesis "has merit," while finding the choice of 1941 as the "greatest" year in sports as being "fairly arbitrary." Vaccaro "re-creates the excitement surrounding each of these sporting milestones" as he puts them in historical context, according to Wes Lukowsky in Booklist. Lukowsky further recommended 1941—The Greatest Year in Sports as "carefully researched and entertainingly written."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 15, 2005, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Emperors and Idiots: The Hundred Year Rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox, from the Very Beginning to the End of the Curse, p. 1257; March 15, 2007, Wes Lukowsky, review of 1941—The Greatest Year in Sports: Two Baseball Legends, Two Boxing Champs, and the Unstoppable Thoroughbred Who Made History in the Shadow of War, p. 14.
Book World, June 17, 2007, Andrew Ervin, review of 1941—The Greatest Year in Sports, p. 9.
Library Journal, April 1, 2005, Morey Berger, review of Emperors and Idiots, p. 102; November 15, 2005, Cliff Glaviano, review of Emperors and Idiots, p. 106.
New Jersey Monthly, October, 2005, Steve Adubato, "Q and A," p. 35.
PR Week, June 18, 2007, "Media: Journalist Q&A—Mike Vaccaro, New York Post," p. 12.
Publishers Weekly, February 5, 2007, review of 1941—The Greatest Year in Sports, p. 52.
Mike Vaccaro Home Page,http://mike-vaccaro.com (November 30, 2007).
New York Times Online,http://www.nytimes.com/ (March 25, 2005), Michiko Kakutani, review of Emperors and Idiots.
NYYFans.com,http://www.nyyfans.com/ (March 28, 2005), Frank Russo, interview with Mike Vaccaro.
Shea Faithful,http://sheafaithful.blogspot.com/ (November 30, 2007), interview with Mike Vaccaro.
Sports Book Review Center,http://sportsbooks.homestead.com/ (November 30, 2007), review of Emperors and Idiots.
St. Bonaventure University, School of Journalism and Mass Communication Web site,http://www.sbu.edu/ (November 28, 2007), biographical information on Mike Vaccaro.