Bat Boy

In 1991, when I was 16, I wrote a series of letters to the New York Yankees asking how to become a bat boy. Rather miraculously, I was hired. For the next two years, during the 1992 and 1993 baseball seasons, I was in the Yankees dugout and clubhouse for every home game. Later, after college and law school, I wrote about the experience in my book BAT BOY: Coming of Age With The New York Yankees (Doubleday / Anchor Books).

If you’ve not read it, here are a few flattering recommendations from people who have:

  • “A terrific memoir, combining an endearing coming-of-age story with a unique window on the inner world of baseball.  It is warm, witty, shrewd, and entertaining from start to finish.” – Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • “More than an all-access pass to Yankee Stadium and baseball — it is an exquisitely written and observed book about growing up and the beauty of the game.” – Library Journal
  • “A remarkable memoir of a boy among men playing a boy’s game. At turns wistful and hilarious, the book lyrically captures the complexities not of dreams broken, but of dreams fulfilled.” – Gay Talese
  • “[McGough] writes with polish but manages to maintain a tone of innocence and awe in his narrative… Only a kid on the loose in a candy store would display more sheer joy than McGough at his great good luck.” – Kirkus Reviews
  • “Wonderful… It should eventually find its way to that very short shelf of enduring sports non-fiction, perhaps somewhere between ‘Ball Four’ and ‘Friday Night Lights’.” – Leigh Montville, author of ‘Ted Williams’ and ‘The Big Bam’
  • “Matthew McGough’s memoir of his teenage days in the Bronx is a winning, inside look at clubhouse life.  Wry and nostalgic, Bat Boy takes readers to a time before steroid scandals and $200 million payrolls when the Mattingly-led Yankees were still lovable losers.  Where have you gone, Danny Tartabull?” – Stewart O’Nan, co-author of ‘Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season’

Below is some bonus material (and other assorted artifacts of my time with the Yankees) that I thought might be of interest to fans of the book, baseball, or both.

Photos

A few photos from my time with the Yankees.

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How I Got the Job

A copy of one of the letters I sent to the Yankees in October 1991, when I was 16 years old. This was shortly after it occurred to me while watching a game from the bleachers that someone might be able to apply to be a batboy, and before I understood it was naive to expect a response. I mailed copies to everyone in the Yankees front office who I imagined might be involved in bat boy hiring, from George Steinbrenner on down to the field manager Stump Merrill. Looking back, my favorite part is the dual signature line at the bottom — my best attempt at age 16 to project to the General Manager of the New York Yankees that I meant business!

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My First Day with the Yankees

My story for “The Moth” about my first day of work as a Yankees bat boy, Opening Day 1992.

Recorded in 2003 before a live audience in New York City.

Matthew McGough – My First Day with the Yankees (right-click to download as mp3)

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NYT, 1993: “A Yankee Batboy Who Made It On His Own”

New York Times profile published in September 1993, just before I left the Yankees to begin college.

My own baseball card (with stats!)

A fun faux baseball card a friend made to help me promote the book when it was first published.

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