During the 1974 baseball season the New York Yankees were sent to Shea Stadium, which at the time was the home of the Mets. Reason being was the fact that they were renovating Yankee Stadium. It was very difficult for the Yankees because Shea just wasn’t our home. The clubhouse that they gave us was tiny so the players felt very uncomfortable.
It was really like being back in your high school baseball teams locker room.
Some of the players actually couldn’t wait to get back on the road because some of them were more comfortable in some of the visiting locker rooms. Some of the newer stadiums like Kansas City had modern locker rooms but the older ones like Detroit and Boston were as small as Shea. That season it felt like we were on one long road trip. Players like Bobby Murcer never got comfortable at all. He really missed everything about the old Yankee Stadium including the friendly short dimensions for left handed hitters. He wouldn’t hit a home run at Shea that season until September.
I will never forget that after he hit that homer he said that he was never more happier to hear Paul’s voice. By that he meant that every time a Yankee hit a homer, they would play that summer’s most popular song… Paul McCartney & Wings …The Band on the Run. The Yankees were actually called the Band on the Run because of that song and the fact that like a band we were always on the run. Murcer, Thurman Munson and some of the other guys actually thought that it was very cool. Murcer and Munson were always singing and loved pretty much all types of music so you would hear them singing The Band on the Run.
I will never forget that on August 16, Thurman Munson hit a game winning home run and when he crossed home plate some of the players started laughing because Thurman was actually singing the song. It was truly a fun season especially for me because that was my first full season with the team and Mr Steinbrenner actually put me on the road that summer with the Yankees. The Boss was very superstitious and really thought that I was a good luck charm.
It was a wonderful experience for any teenage kid. The players really made me feel like I was really apart of the team. They actually took turns taking me to dinners while on the road. I will never forget meeting up with my Uncle Juaquin in Chicago. We went to eat at some restaurant and Lou Piniella just happened to be there. He saw me sitting with my uncle, came over to our table. I introduced Lou to my uncle. Lou said to my uncle , you have a wonderful nephew, you should be proud of him. My uncle smiled broadly and I thanked Lou. He really made me feel great. Especially with the fact that I had a very deep respect for my uncle. That team in 1974 was a very special team. They actually went into September in first place.
We would stay in a very intense pennant race right up to the next to last day of the season. The Baltimore Orioles would finally overtake us. I think that was the only time that George Steinbrenner may of felt that his Yankees may of overachieved But he would never admit that. I can tell you one thing , he was very proud of what his team that was known as the Band on the Run accomplished in the summer of 1974.
Thirty years later. I would get together with Sir Paul McCartney ,tell him what he meant to that team and Thank him because his number one hit almost drove the 1974 Band on the Run Yankees to the number one spot in the American League East.
I want to send a special thank you to Steve Holly the drummer for Paul McCartney and Wings during Parts of the 70s.