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Nick Swisher

Boasting a mix of homegrown talent and All-Star signings, the 2009 Yankees were composed of the very best. It was the last title for the "Core Four" -- Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte -- who would each retire over the course of the next five years. It was the lone title for Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, A.J. Burnett and Nick Swisher, each of whom saw memorable peaks and valleys during their time in the Bronx. Mission 27, by Mark Feinsand and Bryan Hoch, is a thoroughly reported chronicle of an unforgettable season, packed with interviews with the full cast of key players, team executives, broadcasters and more. Here is the foreword by Nick Swisher.

When the 2008 season ended, I was in a bad place. It had been such a tough year for me professionally with the Chicago White Sox, and I had no idea what my baseball future would look like. Then I got the call that changed my life.

Mission 27 Cover The New York Yankees had traded for me. What? Me? 

Given how 2008 had gone, I couldn't imagine someone of Brian Cashman's status would believe in me enough to give me an opportunity to play for the New York Yankees. Somebody pinch me because this has to be a dream

Yet I did end up with the Yankees. And, bro, let me tell you: it was every bit as amazing and badass as I had hoped it would be. 

In short, 2009 changed my life forever. I got to play for the greatest organization on the planet. I met and fell in love with JoAnna, the greatest woman I will ever know. I won the World Series. Far too many players never have a chance to experience that. Other than the birth of my two little girls, Emerson and Sailor, 2009 was by far the greatest period of my life. 

Getting to spring training and seeing the slogan "Mission 27" slapped on T-shirts and binders was super exciting for me. It was like those were our marching orders. We knew exactly what we were supposed to go out and do. 

That was the first time I got a true sense of what being a New York Yankee was all about. Either you win the World Series or you don't. That's it. There are no other objectives. That's the thought process of the Yankees' universe and their fandom. 

When you get to be part of that, you immediately buy into it. I'm a pride guy. I'm a passion guy. I'm a tradition guy. The pinstripes have all of that. For me, it was a dream come true, a match made in heaven. I was so stoked just to have the opportunity to be part of it. 

So many amazing things happened to me that year, and in my mind, it's all because of New York and the Yankees. I'll always love that city. I'm not a boy from the Bronx, but I feel a connection with that place and its people. There's something special that's almost hard to explain.

Nick Swisher

When you win a World Series with the New York Yankees, you're remembered forever. You're kind of immortalized. Once a Yankee, always a Yankee. It's a family, and once you're part of that, your life will never be the same.

I'm so amped that Mark and Bryan are telling this story. They were in the trenches with us every step of the way -- from the first day of spring training all the way to that unbelievable parade down the Canyon of Heroes.

Every time I hear "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, it takes me back to a year I will never forget. I still jam to that song all the time. That was our anthem, New York's anthem, and I am damn proud to have been part of it. It was my year; it was our year.

-- Excerpted by permission from Mission 27 by Mark Feinsand and Bryan Hoch. Copyright (c) 2019. Published by Triumph Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Available for purchase from the publisher, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple Books. Follow Nick Swisher on Twitter @NickSwisher. Follow Mark Feinsand on Twitter @Feinsand. Follow Bryan Hoch on Twitter @BryanHoch.