The Bronx Zoo: The Astonishing Inside Story of the 1978 World Champion New York Yankees
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The Bronx Zoo: The Astonishing Inside Story of the 1978 World Champion New York Yankees

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  715 ratings  ·  32 reviews
This bestselling, highly-acclaimed account is a hilarious but scathing baseball tell-all. After being voted the 1977 American League Cy Young Award winner, Sparky Lyle was rewarded for his efforts by being benched. The Yankees, a leader of free agency, signed Goose Gossage as their closer. Things only went downhill from there and the 1978 season turned out to be one of con...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 1st 2005 by Triumph Books (first published 1979)
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Chris Mauger
Let me start by saying that the 1978 Yankees are my favorite baseball team ever. I was 13 in 1978, and these guys were my heroes. I read this book when it first came out in 1979, and loved it. Sparky was the "good guy", Reggie and George were the "bad guys." But now, reading it as an adult, Sparky was no hero either. Leaving the stadium during a game without permission, showing up late for spring training, certainly not the hero I'd seen him as in my youth.

That being said, his humor is engaging...more
Tom Gase
I've read a lot of books about the 1978 season, either from the Yankees side or the Red Sox side but couldn't remember reading one that had been told by a player (with help from Peter Golenbock)so this was refreshing. Sparky Lyle was the Cy Young award winner of the 1977 season and is the author of this book. After winning the 1977 Cy Young the Yankees go out and get Goose Gossage for the bullpen, basically putting Lyle out of the closer role even after winning the Cy Young. Lyle chronicles that...more
Jul 04, 2014 B rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: westend, own
There's a series of stories that everyone likes to tell . . . . The Reggie-George-Billy triangle. The George craziness. The Bucky Dent homerun.

Here, probably the most exciting part is Lyle's perspective. The problem is that Lyle is a real whiner in this book. And not in a real consistent way. I think you could find opposing whines throughout. So it's got this kind of "You Know Me, Al" feel to it.

Probably his three biggest are:
(1) He is only pitching badly because he's not pitching enough. So und...more
Oh my gosh this book is so funny. I laughed out loud several times. Sparky tells the truth and it's a riot. Sparky's very opinionated, but he was in an interesting position--it was well known by the Yankees front office that he wanted to be traded, and he was, so there was no reason for him to hold back in this book. You certainly get an early indication of what a jackwagon Stienbrenner was (and how limited his baseball knowledge was) and what a show-boater Reggie Jackson was.

For all that, Spark...more
Michael Kallan
One of my favorite books ever; probably have read it ten times over the last 30+ years. 1978 was the first year I was really into baseball for the whole season, and at that time I was a big Yankees fan. It turned out to be a memorable season full of larger than life personalities, with the Yankees making up a 14 game deficit to the Red Sox in July, taking the division lead in September, watching Boston come back to tie them on the last game of the regular season, and it culminating in a 1 game p...more
M. Milner
1978 was a pretty great year for baseball, especially in New York. The Yankees, down by 14 games in July, roared back and took the AL East pennant in a one-game playoff against Boston. Anyway, if you're a baseball fan, you probably have some knowledge of that. And here, in The Bronx Zoo, is the other side of that season: what happened off the field, away from the cameras and inside the clubhouse.

Lyle's book is a wild read, ranging from raunchy clubhouse tales to keen observation. He'll go from a...more
Mar 06, 2008 John rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to John by: Bruce Frederic
This book was really entertaining, if a bit repetitive. Plus if you are interested enough in baseball to want to read it, you already know what happened to the yankees (and red sox) in 1978, so there is a lot of temptation to skip ahead while Lyle rehashes all the shitty games that the Yankees played early in the season.
But the really interesting thing about this book was the portrait of the yankees of the 70's as the crazy, prank playing, who the hell cares, funny moustache team, while the red...more
Mar 07, 2012 Spiros rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who needs to be convinced that Steinbrenner was a tosser
Another (chronologically, the first) first person account of the madness that was Yankee Baseball in the early part of the Steinbrenner Era. A fraught season with a glorious (unless you happened to be, like me, a Bosox fan) ending, the season marked the swan song of Sparky Lyle's Yankee's career; the Boss went on one of free agent buying sprees, during which he acquired Rich "Goose" Gossage, which in the words of fellow Steinbrenner sufferer Graig "Puff" Nettles, relegated Sparky "from Cy Young...more
Along with Bouton's 'Ball Four', this book left an indelible mark on a young 3rd baseman. Lyle doesn't quite dish the dirt in the manner of Bouton about sex and drug use among athletes, but he does show the crass and petty side of human relations in a closed environment full of egos chasing a common goal. I was also a serious biology student, and I was astonished that Lyle preferred to throw as hard as he could on the first day of camp, then sit out the rest of the spring with this 'injury' unti...more
David R
I loved this book and I'm a Mets fan. Reggie Jackson got suspended? Didn't know that. Billy Martin got fired and was told he would be back to manage in 2 years? Would that even happen these days? I usually can't stand retelling of baseball seasons past, but Lyle and Gollenbock don't recount every out of every game. They tell the story of the season as most of us remember a baseball season: the highlights and the lowlights and the silly drama in between.

Also, I will never pay much attention to w...more
I loved this. Granted, I know this book wasn't written by Sparky Lyle, per se, but the voice throughout is something special. Lyle has a keen insight into the absurdity and power dynamics of the Steinbrenner regime, as well as the psychology of what makes managers and players tick. I know he has managed on the college level, though I can't figure out why he isn't in the major leagues right now.

I laughed out loud more than a few times when reading this book, especially when he describes Lou Pinie...more
A great look at the Yankees of the late 70s. Lyle had just won the Cy Young, and was promptly relegated to mop-up guy. His insights into baseball, his team, his manager, and his owner were fascinating to me and I don't even like the Yankees. He and Golenbeck have put together a terrific book. It's cut up into choppy scenes and sections, but that works with the theme of the baseball season. He shares some hilarious anecdotes, and it does sort of let you into the clubhouse, if you'll permit a clic...more
I read a lot of sports books as a kid, and I idolized the Yankees, so it was obvious that I would read this book. Kinda sorry I did. Not that the book was all that bad, really. Just that it shattered a lot of my innocent ideas of my boyhood idols (which I still held, even though I was 14 when I read this book).

Don't read it. Just know that it exists, and accurately portrays another side of sports that is best left hidden.
Tom Stamper
I gave an oral book report for this in the 10th grade. Being one of only three Yankee fans at my Indiana high school I emphasized the humor if the book over the games and even the girls laughed. Sparky Lyle caught the absurdity of 1970s New York City and George Steinbrenner. It was so successful that some other Yankee player had a memoir each season for several years thereafter.
Sep 24, 2007 Lonnie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Yankee fans and haters
Presented in journal format, Lyle reveals a lot of the inside drama that was the 1978 Yankees. Much of this book's info is dramatized in the TV show "The Bronx is Burning" but details much more as books always do. It's a quick and entertaining read that demonstrates how remarkable that season was for the Yanks and their fans.
I read this book for a 6th grade book report. It is a diary style book like Ball Four from Yankees pitcher Sparky Lyle of the 1978 baseball season. It was an interesting year for Lyle and the Yankees and Lyle is quite the eccentric.
I read this when I was, like, 12, so don't hold me to it. However, not only did I laugh hysterically throughout, it was the first time I de-idealized a heroic figure. In case you were wondering.
carl  theaker

This book was considered outrageous at the time of its publishing with it's insight & plenty of opinions on the Steinbrenner way of running a ball club. Goes great with Nettles "Balls".

Kenneth Flusche
Well I've now read Billy's, Regie's and Sparkie's version of the NY Yankees 1978 season as well as living it on TV. Thanks Regie for recommending this book as Sparkie is more intertaining than you.
Lisa Kilbride
The same format as Ball Four, but not as happy a ball player, which made for difficult reading. Very glad he got traded to Texas, and hope he was happier there.
Mike Veliky
This was a fun read even though I am not a Yankee fan. Book was funny and well written. A great story of a champion team with daily turmoil.
Great insight into the life of a struggling Cy Young Award winner during a world series season... This is a must-read for any Yankee fan.
Matt Lehotzky
Great book on the Yankees through this pitchers eyes. Love the fact that wehavemet him numerous times and he autographed the book for me.
"my thing, before the press ruined it, was sitting on cakes. i used to do it all the time."

also, reggie's a dick.
Ted Guglielmo
A great read in the tradition of Ball Four. Great stuff and insight inside the Yankee clubhouse.
K.J. Kron
You've gotta be a Yankee fan in the 1976-1980 era to love this.
Hal Brodsky
5 stars for being the first and best of what it was.
A good insite to the crazy years of the team
the Yankees in the 70's
Spary Lyle's diary of the Yankees 1978 Season was not nearly as entertaining as Jim Bouton's "Ball Four", and his details of the 1969 season (only season) for the Seattle Pilots.
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