is a public relations executive, author and former PR Director for the New York Yankees.
Thank you for agreeing to this interview for the members of Baseball Nation.
Q: Baseball Nation - You were born in Brooklyn, who were your favorite players/team growing up?
A: Marty Appel - I adopted the Yankees after they lost the '55 World Series. Everyone on my block was celebrating the Dodgers win, but I wanted to cheer for the underdog.
Q: Baseball Nation - How did you talk yourself into a job with the Yankees?
A: Marty Appel - I was editor of my college newspaper and a big Yankee fan. I wrote to Bob Fishel, the legendary PR Director of the Yanks, asking for a summer job. I got an interview, did well, and was hired to answer Mickey Mantle's fan mail in 1968.
Q: Baseball Nation - What was it like working for the Yankees in the 1970's?
A: Marty Appel - It was a lot of fun! Although we didn't return to the World Series until 1976, we were in the pennant race until late int he season several times in the early '70s, even to the point of doing World Series preparation. I worked with great people, was in awe of the organization and the terrific people who manned the front office. Wonderful times.
Q: Baseball Nation - You interacted with and did PR for some of the great Yankees players. Who were your favorites to work with? Did anyone make your job harder?
A: Marty Appel - Mantle was my favorite because, of course, her was The Mick. I couldn't believe Mickey Mantle knew my by name. But other lesser knowns were really great to me - Steve Hamilton, Ruben Amaro, Booby Cox, and two left-handers named Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich. No one made my job harder - except maybe Thurman, who hated the media, but I didn't let it bother me. I liked Thurman a lot and let it slide.
Q: Baseball Nation - So why did you leave the Yankees?
A: Marty Appel - There's a little bit of burnout involved with the job. You pretty much work every day from mid-February to October, all those nights, you never come in late the next day.....you age quickly in the job. But I still look back at it and wonder if I should have stayed. And still been there. Great memories of it all.
Q: Baseball Nation - You have written 18 books (...and counting?) with most about the Yankees. In addition you have contributed to so many others baseball books and promoted dozens more. What is it about the game that you love so much?
A: Marty Appel - There's so much to love, apart from the game on the field. The personalities, the fans, the ballparks, the way you can measure the passage of time through the sport. I do that a lot - like when Hank Aaron retired, well, he was the last player from my first year as a fan. Or when you remember every manager and coach from their playing days. Or my goodness, when players you remember die, and you can't believe they are 80 years old. It's all like a shadow life if you are fully engaged in it.
Q: Baseball Nation - You started your own PR company when you left the Yankees. How hard was it to launch and when did you feel you were "making it" in the business?
A: Marty Appel - The friendships and associations I made through the Yankees, and the nice identity if provided for me (name recognition) helped make the business successful. I've had many non-sports clients who came to me because they were Yankee fans who recognized my name. That Yankee brand is a wonderful thing.
Q: Baseball Nation - What aspects of the PR work do you feel is your strong suit?
A: Marty Appel - I think I've always been strong at putting people together - forming partnerships or associations. I like to introduce people to others who can help the,. A lot of satisfaction in that.
Q: Baseball Nation - What advice would you give a young person who wants to work in any baseball related field beyond actually playing?
A: Marty Appel - Wide ranging question. Let me limit it to marketing, PR, communications, because I know that best. Think like a journalist. Be a good writer. Be informed and inquisitive. Master your subject. Be a good listener.
Q: Baseball Nation - Do you ever miss working solely with one team as you once did with the Yankees?
A: Marty Appel - Oh yes. To genuinely root for your "company", to live those wins and losses each day - that was a remarkable feeling. And although there are plenty of people who have never liked the Yankees, the era that began with Williams, Jeter, Posada, Pettitte, Rivera and Torre was a tough one to root against the Yankees. Genuinely likeable guys; a very unique era in Yankee history.
Thank you again sir. We appreciate you taking the time to do this.