Book Signing for “Thanksgiving 1959” by Local Author on Nov. 10

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Local football fans will want to check out a book signing at the Barnes and Noble in Freehold on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. as Jay Price, the author of “Thanksgiving 1959,” will be signing copies of the book. Jay is an award-winning columnist with the Staten Island Advance, a Manasquan resident and the father of current Manasquan assistant Jay Price. There are also other connections, as much of the staff at Manalapan are from Staten Island and have a close connected with the schools in the book. Ed Guerrieri, Tom Gallahue, Joe Tetley, Bill Smith, Steve Vella and Dom LePore all played their high school ball and coached on Staten Island, and Tetley is quoted in the book. Members of the Manalapan staff will also be in attendance at the signing.

Here is more info on the book, and you can also check out the website by clicking here.

“Before television and the big money changed the games … before the athletes were all millionaires with agents, entourages, and a sense of entitlement … and before a new bridge changed everything else in that isolated corner of New York City … Staten Island was still part of small-town America, where everybody turned out for the Thanksgiving Day high school football game.

The coaches in that game were as different as any two men could be who sprang from the same roots, went to the same schools, and played for the same mentors.

Sal Somma, tall and reserved, was a dropout and runaway who quit his 27-cent-an-hour Depression-era job to go back to school and play football, and wound up kicking the extra point that kept Vince Lombardi and Fordham’s legendary “Seven Blocks of Granite” out of the 1937 Rose Bowl.

Andy Barberi, short, squat and spectacularly profane, spent most of his football life in Somma’s shadow, until he got the only job either one of them ever wanted, and their Thanksgiving Day rivalry became a test of their contradictory approaches to life, and to football.

Jay Price, an award-winning columnist for the Staten Island Advance and a former assistant coach at Manasquan High School, has written an evocative account that follows Somma and his players, the sons of Italian and Irish immigrants, on the road to New York City’s first schoolboy championship game and the Thanksgiving rivalry that … like the community around it … would never be the same.

He will be joined at Barnes & Noble by local high school coaches. Signed or personalized copies of the book will be available.

Here is some praise for Thanksgiving 1959:

Praise for Jay Price’s Thanksgiving 1959

“If you want to read a lovely book about sports and the city, read “Thanksgiving 1959” by Jay Price.

Mike Lupica (N.Y. Daily News)

“Strips away the gloss and commercialism of modern sport and reminds us of how and why we fell in love with the games.”

Harvey Araton (N.Y. Times)

“Captures with texture, and a sense of loss, a time and place now gone forever.”

— Cormac Gordon (Staten Island Advance)

Thanksgiving 1959 is not a book that depends on the suspense of its ending. It’s a fine story, thoroughly researched and well told with real affection. But I’m still not gonna tell you who won that game.”

— Bill Littlefield (National Public Radio)

“A beautiful elegy of a book … about two coaches you will instantly recognize and appreciate, about youth, about a time in America so many still yearn for.”

— Mike Vaccaro (N.Y. Post)

“You won’t be able to put it down.”
— Steve Edelson (Asbury Park Press)

“Ranks at the top of the list, right alongside “Friday Night Lights.”

— Bruce Johnson (Westfield, N.J., Leader


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