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Babe Ruth : Launching the Legend Hardcover – February 27, 2004

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Reisler... finds new gold in an oft-mined subject" -- The New York Times -- The New York Times

"Reisler’s work makes for quite an enjoyable ride." -- Steve Goode, Hartford Courant

From the Back Cover

How the Babe shook America from its doldrums with the crack of his bat

For a country exhausted by the tragedies of war and depleted by a raging flu epidemic, the timing of George Herman Ruth's arrival in New York in 1920 was perfect. Baseball had never seen anything like him on or off the field. His confident swagger, seductive charisma, and powerhouse swing at the plate was just what the country needed to forget its sorrows and kick off the jubilation of the Jazz Age.

Babe Ruth: Launching the Legend is the story of that incredible year and the transforming power of Babe Ruth and the Yankees of 1920.

When Americans wanted desperately to move on, drink gin, dance the Charleston, and enjoy a good game of baseball, the Babe gave it to them. Big time. Not only did he hit a record-breaking fifty-four home runs that season, he unleashed a new way to play the game, helped launch the Yankees dynasty, and saved baseball in the midst of the devastating "Black Sox" scandal. History was in the making.

Told in luminous prose by acclaimed baseball writer Jim Reisler, Babe Ruth: Launching the Legend is a rare glimpse into the story that started it all, a year when Ruth was simply a ballplayer, an emerging star on the very verge of becoming a mythic hero.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (February 27, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071432442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071432443
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,518,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
While it is true 1920 is the year Babe Ruth began his assault on American League pitchers with his batting prowess as a member of the New York Yankees, the year also was known for the unraveling of the fixed 1919 World Series, the hiring of baseball's first commissioner, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, and the death of Cleveland Indians' shortstop Ray Chapman by one of Yankees' pitcher Carl Mays's submarine deliveries. It is often said the Babe's home run bat saved the game of baseball from the Black Sox Scandal, but people flocked to the park to see Ruth as a member of the Yankees in 1920 before the scandal broke in September of that year. The unfortunate death of Chapman is also dealt with in some detail. Carl Mays was a very unpopular player not only among rival players, but his own teammates as well. He was, however, absolved of any blame for intentionally hitting Chapman with the pitch. Mays won 26 games for the 1920 Yankees and compiled a better won lost record (209-126) than several Hall of Famers, but has been denied a place in baseball's hallowed halls. We are also provided with character profiles of Yankees' owners Colonel Jacob Rupert and Tillinghast "Cap" Huston, manager Miller Huggins, Judge Landis, White Sox owner Charles Comiskey, and American League President Ban Johnson. The hiring of Landis put an end to any power that Johnson wielded in the American League. Even though it didn't happen until 1925 the author also mentions the matter of Wally Pipp's famous "headache" which caused him to sit out a game and was replaced by Lou Gehrig in the lineup who remained there for the next 14 years. In reality, Pipp's "headache" was a fractured skull due to being hit with a pitched ball in a previous game.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
When I picked up this book, a little voice in the back of my head said "prepare to be disappointed". I have read numerous Babe Ruth tomes and baseball history books, and so was skeptical that this one could provide me with anything new. Oddly enough, however, it did fill in some gaps for me...only to be dragged down by a lack of focus.

The problem with this book is it needs to be titled something like "1920: The Year That Ruth Built" (okay, that's cheesy, but you get the point). To put only pictures/text of Ruth on the cover is basically false advertising (though it got me to buy it, so I guess it works). This is a book about so much more than Ruth. It's about the 1920's Yankees, their pennant race, and baseball in general. I really can't even call the book a "Ruth bio" because of the extent that it covers other subjects.

That being said, what the book does cover, it actually covers pretty well. I learned a little more about Ruth, but more about the 1920 Yankees. Author Reisler goes into great detail about that team and its players, something I had not read before. It just takes a good deal of time for the reader to know what the book really is about.

So, if you are looking for a strict Babe Ruth bio, steer clear. However, if you want a very in-depth look at the 1920 New York Yankees, you couldn't have come to a better place. Personally, I just didn't like how the book uses Ruth as the "hook" and then goes off in many different directions. The cover/advertising do not accurately describe the content, in other words, which is a shame because his in-depth research about that team is quite thorough and interesting.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My friend was very happy with this book and would recommend if you like the all time greats in baseball
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