Friday, 04 September 2009 00:00
As with any other small town in America, Roslyn has seen its share of ambitious youth seek their fortunes elsewhere. Not many of them have chosen the great state of Montana as their destination. One Roslyn native, Andrew Laszlo, has lived in Big Sky Country for 30 years now, working as a stockbroker and raising a family.
Laszlo has recently turned his hand toward fiction writing. The result has been two novellas collected under the same book cover and by the pen name Andrew Laz. The Real World Series and Another Year In The Bronx was released last February by Publish America, Baltimore, MD, and has already found a devoted readership.
The Real World Series concerns a plot to keep baseball from coming under Eastern dominance. According to the book’s publicists: “The Real World Series depicts the events surrounding an unknown team from East Timor who are winning games by lopsided scores throughout a goodwill tournament. Baseball’s best come together to combat East Timor in a three-game series unlike any other. Organized by George Steinbrenner and managed by Tommy Lasorda, the U.S. All-Star team includes Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, and Roger Clemens. To further tip the scales, Bill Gates, Tom Cruise, Tiger Woods, and Paris Hilton, along with a few others, form a brain trust to put two grudge-carrying MIT graduates and their mysterious team out of business. Ultimately, it takes the cocky brilliance of a teenaged video-game geek to save baseball as we know it.”
The follow-up novella, Another Year In The Bronx, takes on the usual soap opera drama that surrounded the Yankees during the George Steinbrenner era.
In the story, the Yankees find themselves at the bottom of their division until an unknown pitcher from fictional Pea Patch, West Virginia, comes to the rescue. Jethro Bodine is the Joe Hardy-type who seems to be a savior until he and his family create the largest public relations disaster in Yankee history. Steinbrenner enlists the help of Joe Torre, Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump, and Dr. Phil to keep the Yankees on course.
Laszlo grew up in Roslyn as an avid Yankee fan during the halcyon days of Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Whitey Ford. A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and Dartmouth College, Laszlo, as noted, is a resident of Montana. A stockbroker based in Billings, Laszlo was recently named by Barron’s Magazine as the top financial advisor in Montana.
“Growing up in Roslyn, being a Yankee fan was a way of life,” Laszlo said in an interview with The Roslyn News.
He recalled that for him and his friends, the real rite of passage into manhood was when one was old enough to take the train to Yankee Stadium. During the glory days of the Casey Stengel era in the late 1950s, Laszlo and his Roslyn buddies used to go to Gate 13 at the Stadium, where the attendants were kind enough to let youngsters in for a mere 25 cents. Not only that, by the fifth or sixth inning, if the game wasn’t a sellout, then stadium officials would let all youngsters in for free, to seats in the old Yankee Stadium’s cavernous bleachers.
“There was such a fraternity in those days,” Laszlo recalled from his days at the storied old ballpark. “We got to know all the kids in the bleachers.”
In 1960 and 1961, the young Laszlo even attended World Series games played at the Stadium, as the Yanks lost a heartbreaker to the Pirates in 1960, but rebounded the next year to defeat the Cincinnati Reds in one of the greatest years ever by a Yankee squad.
Not only did Laszlo go to the games, he even had a clubhouse pass, courtesy of his father’s union. He also recalled having a baseball signed by all the Yankee greats of that era – Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Roger Maris, and others. Alas, as with any other youngster, Laszlo and his buddies played hours of sandlot ball with the prized possession. In the process, the autographs went fuzzy and the ball lost its commercial value.
Laszlo also played Little League during his growing up years. The photo included here of Whitey Ford and Laszlo also features Jay Prosnitz, a fellow Little Leaguer. The occasion was a Roslyn Little League awards dinner. Andrew was named as that year’s outstanding hitter and Jay as the top pitcher. And so, they had their photo taken with the future Hall of Famer.
In time, all these memories were put to good use.
“These were all unforgettable experiences,” Laszlo said. “The stories in the book grew from them.”
In its first five months on the market, the book has sold enough copies to be listed as one of the top 10 sports fiction books on Amazon.com. When reminded that the recent biography on Yankee great Thurman Munson is now the top selling sports book in America, Laszlo noted the advantage of having the Yankees as a subject matter.
“If you write about anything related to the Yankees, you have a worldwide audience,” he said.