Forbes: Epic Babe Ruth Bio By Jane Leavy Captures His Life And Times
Jane Leavyâ€™s second book, a critically acclaimed,Â New York TimesÂ best-selling biography of Mickey Mantle in 2010, has sold 211,000 copies in hardback and 60,000 in paperback. Such commercial success in todayâ€™s publishing world is like a big leaguer hitting 85 homers in a season or a pitcher winning 40 games. Her first book on Sandy Koufax was also, with good reason, well-received.
While waiting for her third baseball biography, I felt the same excitement as before the release of a Bruce Springsteen album in his heyday.
Iâ€™m delighted to report that Leavyâ€™s newest masterpiece,Â The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He CreatedÂ (Harper Collins, $32.50, available onÂ AmazonÂ and at all bookstores) delivers all the goods again. Meticulously researched over eight years and richly detailed, itâ€™s as close as weâ€™ll ever come to meeting the legend and watching him in action.
Newsday: New Babe Ruth biography by Jane Leavy focuses on his childhood
â€œI knew the first question would be: Why another book about Babe Ruth, and did you find anything new?â€
She spent a year before agreeing to the job, reading everything she could find, and even spoke to Creamer about it before he died in 2012. Creamer had spent little time on Ruthâ€™s childhood, opening a door to explore the man more fully.
â€œYou couldnâ€™t write a biography of Winston Churchill without his childhood,â€ Leavy said. â€œBut so much of sports biography was a biography of a career, and not a whole life.â€
She came armed with an edge that Creamer lacked.
â€œI perceived myself as working at an impossible disadvantage, which is everyone you need to speak to is presently dead,â€ she said. â€œIt turned out that it wasnâ€™t.
â€œIt was offset by the fact the digital revolution – even since Leigh wrote his book – has so improved access to old newspapers and to personal histories and documents of birth, death, divorce, arrests, whatever.â€
The result is the most complete account yet of Ruthâ€™s complicated, tragic family life, including siblings who died young, parents who separated and, most famously, being shipped off to St. Maryâ€™s Industrial School for Boys in Baltimore.
The lack of information about that part of Ruthâ€™s life hit home for Leavy when she visited his daughter, Julia Ruth Stevens â€“ who is now 102 â€“ and she spoke of Babeâ€™s parents, George Sr. and Kate, having separated.
Babe Ruth’s San Diego Visit Was an Arresting Experience
The Voice of San Diego
The best baseball player of all time enjoyed a good time. Babe Ruth drove fast, drank himself silly and appreciated the company of women other than his wife. So itâ€™s perhaps no surprise that he got arrested on suspicion of engaging in illegal behavior during a jaunt to sunny San Diego.
Whatâ€™d he do? Well â€¦ he allowed an 8-year-old girl to recite a poem during a stage performance in a downtown theater. Weâ€™re not kidding.
A bewildered judge balked at the charges, and George Herman â€œBabeâ€ Ruth Jr. never had to spend a day behind bars. But thereâ€™s a lot more to the story, as I discovered while taking a look back during this World Series week. It features a left-leaning labor commissioner, baseball-tinged baseball and, in a supporting role, the Sultan of Swatâ€™s appreciation of politically incorrect seafood.
The tale unfolds in baseball writer Jane Leavyâ€™s widely praised new biography â€œThe Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created,â€ which chronicles how the home run king produced a new kind of celebrity.