Publisher Sues Best-Selling Author Over Failure To Deliver Biography Of Alex Rodriguez, Broken-Down Yankee

A New York City publisher has filed a lawsuit seeking repayment of a $550,000 book advance given to best-selling author Richard Ben Cramer, who contracted to write a behind-the-scenes account of Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees. 

In a New York State Supreme Court complaint, the Hachette Book Group alleges that Cramer, 62, failed to deliver the Yankees book by its February 2010 due date (which had been extended from an original March 2008 due date).

According to documents filed with the lawsuit, in September 2006, Cramer signed a $1.5 million, two-book deal with Warner Books, a Hachette subsidiary. Cramer’s first book, a contract notes, would take readers “inside the world of today’s New York Yankees and shows what makes them the best franchise in baseball history.” The contract included a $250,000 bonus provision if the hardcover edition of the Yankees book sold 200,000 copies within a year of its publication.

As part of that contract, Cramer has been paid $550,000, according to Hachette’s December 14 complaint. In an October 2009 agreement extending the due date for Cramer’s book, the publisher listed the work’s provisional title as “The Importance of Being Alex: A Life with the Yankees.” The book appears to have morphed from an examination of pinstripe exceptionalism into a biography of Alex Rodriguez, the enigmatic Yankees star.

Rodriguez, 37, is seen above admiring himself in a mirror.

Cramer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent, has authored several critically acclaimed books, including “Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life,” a 2000 biography of the enigmatic Yankees star. 

In a September 2011 letter to Cramer’s agent, Hachette terminated the two-book deal and demanded repayment of the $550,000 advance (along with accruing interest). In a June 2012 interview with the New York Daily News, Cramer said that he had placed the Rodriguez book “in abeyance” while he worked on another project.