NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From Jane Leavy, the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Boy and Sandy Koufax, comes the definitive biography of Babe Ruth—the man Roger Angell dubbed "the model for modern celebrity."
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2018
“Leavy’s newest masterpiece…. A major work of American history by an author with a flair for mesmerizing story-telling.” —Forbes
He lived in the present tense—in the camera’s lens. There was no frame he couldn’t or wouldn’t fill. He swung the heaviest bat, earned the most money, and incurred the biggest fines. Like all the new-fangled gadgets then flooding the marketplace—radios, automatic clothes washers, Brownie cameras, microphones and loudspeakers—Babe Ruth "made impossible events happen." Aided by his crucial partnership with Christy Walsh—business manager, spin doctor, damage control wizard, and surrogate father, all stuffed into one tightly buttoned double-breasted suit—Ruth drafted the blueprint for modern athletic stardom.
His was a life of journeys and itineraries—from uncouth to couth, spartan to spendthrift, abandoned to abandon; from Baltimore to Boston to New York, and back to Boston at the end of his career for a finale with the only team that would have him. There were road trips and hunting trips; grand tours of foreign capitals and post-season promotional tours, not to mention those 714 trips around the bases.
After hitting his 60th home run in September 1927—a total that would not be exceeded until 1961, when Roger Maris did it with the aid of the extended modern season—he embarked on the mother of all barnstorming tours, a three-week victory lap across America, accompanied by Yankee teammate Lou Gehrig. Walsh called the tour a "Symphony of Swat." The Omaha World Herald called it "the biggest show since Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey, and seven other associated circuses offered their entire performance under one tent." In The Big Fella, acclaimed biographer Jane Leavy recreates that 21-day circus and in so doing captures the romp and the pathos that defined Ruth’s life and times.
Drawing from more than 250 interviews, a trove of previously untapped documents, and Ruth family records, Leavy breaks through the mythology that has obscured the legend and delivers the man.
Sportswriter Leavy (Sandy Koufax) energetically narrates Ruth's larger-than-life story in an entertaining and colorful biography. Troubled by their son's misbehavior, Ruth's parents sent the seven-year-old Ruth to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, across town from their home in Baltimore. There, Ruth developed his baseball skills thanks to Brother Matthias, who showed Ruth how to hit. Ruth joined the Baltimore Orioles in 1914, was sold to the Boston Red Sox a few years later, and a year later was traded to the Yankees. In his career Ruth had 2,873 hits, 714 home runs, and a lifetime batting average of .342, and as Leavy points out, Ruth lived as hard as he played; he "imbibed whatever life had to offer." Ruth's accomplishments and his appetites for drink and women (he had several extramarital affairs) coincided with the rise of sports journalism and marketing, and his manager, Christy Walsh, was instrumental in creating his public image. In 1927, Ruth slammed his 60th home run of the season, led the Yankees to a four-game sweep of the Washington Senators in the World Series, and embarked on a publicized three-week barnstorming tour of the country with Lou Gehrig to celebrate. Leavy's captivating biography reveals Ruth as a man who swung his bat with the same purposeful abandon that he lived his life.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Jane is a genius. This is her third brilliant baseball bio.
This book jumps around in missed attempt to tell tales of
Babe Ruth. It is not cohesive in any form. In chapter after chapter you are in a different year,, with several different
friends, acquaintances, teammates. It is frustrating.
I rarely rates books and if I do, it is most often a review
that recommends a book. This is onetime I cannot recommend .
Loved this book. A new look at the Babe. Fascinating reporting brings the Babe and his time to life. Read it!