Babe Ruth is an American hero
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.
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