Babe Ruth is an American hero. He transformed baseball from a sport, to a national pastime when it needed it the most. Coming off of the wake of the Black Socks scandal, baseball was headed downhill. It had a bad reputation, and interest was waning. The dead-ball era was dragging on, and there were to few baseball “purists” left to support it. Baseball was in search of a new audience, and Babe Ruth handed it to them on a silver platter. Babe Ruth started the Home run era of baseball. In the dead-ball scores of 2-1 1-0 was the norm.
With the advent of the Home run era, games that averaged 1-2 runs an inning were common. What once took a couple hits, walks, and a stolen base to accomplish were being done with the single swing of a bat. Baseball was now much more enjoyable to watch. Then with the invention of the radio, millions of people enjoyed listening to it. George Herman Ruth was born in the early 1890’s to a couple of German immigrants who ran a local bar. His parents had there hand’s full with the bar, and had very little time to tend to young George.
His trouble making, and lack of time on his parents part eventually landed him in St. Mary’s Boys school. It was here that he met the man who Babe claimed to be the greatest man who ever lived, Brother Mathias. Brother Mathias was the one who handed Babe his punishments, and it was Babe who always touted his strong, yet caring hand that led him to baseball. It was also at St. Mary’s that Babe started his life of giving. He would save up his money from his job in the Tailor shop and often spend it on large amounts of candy to give away to the little boys at St.
Mary who were poor, or orphans. Brother Mathias was the one who introduced Babe to baseball, as a recreational game to play during the spring. It wasn’t long until Babe was the only 13 year old playing on the 16 years and older team. First as a catcher, then later as a Pitcher. It was here that he first established a prowess for hitting. His long home runs would leave local audiences speechless. It was his pitching, however that landed him his first professional job. Jack Dunn of the then minor league Baltimore Orioles signed him at the young age of 17.
He played a few years for the Orioles, until Dunn sold him to the Boston Red Sox. Babe pitched well, finally breaking into the Red Sox starting rotation in 1918. Then the Red Sox ran into some hard luck, and in search of money sold him for the then huge amount of money, 125,000. It is often said that New York and Babe Ruth were made for one another, and by the way Babe took New York by storm, it is hard to dispute the saying. He took an instant liking to the big city, enjoying bars, dance clubs and people in general.
It was in New York that Babe started the long ball game. In the early twenty’s Babe’s home run totals usually eclipsed that of any other TEAM in baseball. After a few years however, people began to pattern there swing after babe, and pretty soon each team had their own home run experts. The boom in run scoring also equated to a boom in attendance and revenue. It wasn’t long until Babe started to cash in on this, with his salary soon surpassing that of then President Grover Cleveland. In a Characteristic Ruth remark, Babe Responded “Why not I had a better year than him!
When asked by a reporter if he should be making more money than the president. Babe’s way of life was Characteristic of the time period, The Free willing 20’s. Babe frequented speakeasies (a place to get illegal alcohol during the prohibition. He was often at odds with his teams manager, owner, and even police. This was Characteristic of the Rebellious 20’s. He would often weasel his way out of speeding tickets by offering a signed baseball if the officer let him go. The Yankee’s owner was often reluctant to suspend Ruth, knowing the negative effect it would have on his team’s performance.
In this particular Biography, the author’s intent is to provide the most detailed, in depth Biography on Ruth ever. That he does, in masterful accounts of Babe’s most heroic Games, and World series. Even his personal life is told in great detail and accuracy. Controversies such as Babe’s actual date of birth are presented, debated, then concluded with the authors opinion. I choose this book because I am fascinated by Babe Ruth. I have read many biographies on him, and this is by far the most in depth and detailed. I really admire Babe’s love for life, and people.
He gave to those less fortunate, and did everything in his power to make sure he enjoyed his life to the fullest. Sometimes that meant bending a few rules, and even laws, but Babe realized you only get one crack at life, and he made it worth it. In all the biographies I have read before, I did not know Babe made an unsuccessful bid to be a manager. It was details like this, and many more that made this book very interesting. This book didn’t really change my view on Babe, it just broadened my horizon as to the many aspects of his life and career in the major leagues.
I would not however recommend this book to someone just looking to learn a little about this American icon. There are many books that would do this in far fewer pages, and most would probably consider this book boring with it’s many little story’s it delves into with great detail. However for the baseball enthusiast who has time on his hands, or for someone who just can’t get enough of Babe Ruth; I strongly recommend this book as the most informative piece of work on the Greatest Baseball Player to have walked the earth, George Herman (Babe) Ruth.