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The life of baseball’s grandest figure, told in extraordinary detailNearly a century has passed since George Herman Ruth made his major league debut, and in that time millions of words have been used to describe baseball’s greatest hero. But for a man like the Babe, for whom the phrase “larger than life” seems to have been coined, those millions of words have created a mythologized legacy. Who was the real Babe Ruth? Relying on exhaustive research and interviews with teammates, family members, and friends, historian Robert W. Creamer separates fact from fiction and paints an honest and fascinating portrait of the slugger. This is the definitive biography of a man who was, in legend and in truth, the best who ever lived.
Topics: Sports and Baseball
Published: Open Road Media an imprint of Open Road Integrated Media on Jun 28, 2011
Warts and all welcome to the legend that is Babe Ruth. Uncluttered and forward this book gives a great insight to the life of the greatest ball player ever. the authors feelings never come into this great story and he gives multiple versions of "lore" when several sources move in different directions.read more
I have been looking forward to reading this book for a while, ever since I read Baseball in '41 some time ago. Also, I wanted to know more about this mythical figure that looms over baseball in so many ways. But until I started to follow baseball a few years ago, I had literally no idea who Babe Ruth was. I think I may have heard his name, but with no context. So, is this book a good introduction to this legendary sportsman? I would say yes. Robert Creamer has a very easygoing style. It is as if he were sitting next to you in a pub, telling a story over a pint of beer. The book seems to assume that the reader may know very little about Babe Ruth himself, though it does presume some basic knowledge of baseball (which is fine, after all who but someone with some interest in baseball would be reading a book on Babe Ruth?). It starts with a chapter on his legend, to place his life in the context of what follows and continues to this day. The next chapter starts with his birth, and sets the scene. This first portion of the book - which goes from his birth to his trade to the Yankees, including him becoming a professional baseball pitcher and then the switch to a fulltime hitter - was for me the most interesting. This is in part because his exploits as a hitter - the home runs in all their majestic glory - I already know a little about. But his origins and his pitching were virtually unknown to me, so it was just damned interesting to find out more. The second portion of the book is the main bulk, and is his time at the Yankees, including the separation from his first wife, his relations with the women who would become his second wife after his first wife's death, and also the stormy relationship with his managers, and the showdown he had with Landis - and, of course, all those home runs. What interested me most in this section was not so much Ruth himself, but the other characters that played a part in his story, particularly Gehrig, Huggins, Barrow, and a few others. The final portion goes from when he left the Yankees to his death, and I found this a little disappointing. Perhaps this is because, in many respects, after Babe left baseball the rest of his life was disappointing. While he played he was a legend, and did great things. After he retired, nothing he did amounted to very much (in this he reminds me, strangely, of Oskar Schindler, who after the war ended also did very little of note). I think part of the problem is that Creamer choose to put the chapter on his legend at the start of his book, and I think I would have preferred it at the end. This is something of a quibble however. Creamer does an excellent job of painting the pictures of the past on the canvass of the printed page. His does a marvellous job at imaging the characters of his story - of Ruth himself obviously, but also all the others who made up world, with the curious exception of Ruth's first wife Helen. He tells plenty of anecdotes, but is also careful to distinguish from what is probably true, and what is probably exaggerated. On a couple of the most famous episodes - for example the called home run shot - he goes into quite some detail, which in its way is interesting of an example of how a legend can grow. Ultimately I read through this book swiftly and with great enjoyment. I would recommend it to anyone just starting to explore baseball's past. More seasoned baseball fans may find less in this book as they may already know more things, but I would still recommend it. Verdit: A-read more
Terrific biography of the incomparable Babe Ruth, but also a wonderful glimpse at the game of baseball as it was in the 1910's, 20's, and 30's. Received this book from my father-in-law over twenty-five years ago, why it took so long for me to read it I have no idea.read more
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