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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Birth of the Sultan of Swat & The Late Summer Classic, June 1, 2001
This review is from: Babe Ruth and the 1918 Red Sox (Paperback)
In 1918, Wood's main focus is on the dramatic and historic 1918 season, in which the Red Sox took their sixth Junior Circuit flag, then continued on to beat the Chicago Cubs in the World Series four games to one, becoming the first team to win five World's Championships. As we know, 1918 is also the last world title for the BoSox. Also featured are the amazing exploits of the young pitching phenom George Herman Ruth. This was the year that Ruth burst on the baseball world not as the Cy Young-like lefthander he had been, but as the soon-to-be Sultan of Swat most of us think of when we hear the name "Babe". Wood also goes into great detail on the undisciplined Ruth's season-long feuding with his manager, Ed Barrow, as well as with the Sox' owner Harry Frazee. Ruth was desparate to play first base, the outfield, or even come in as a left-handed shortstop so he could play every day and hit more homers. Management wanted him on the mound, where he was still one of the most dominant pitchers of the dead-ball era. Wood tells of at least three times where Ruth 'quit' the Red Sox, only to show up at the park the next day. Another major part of the book is told through the backdrop of World War I. In early 1918, Major League Baseball inexplicably failed to request an exemption from the government's "work or fight" order (while other entertainment industries, such as theater and the nascent motion picture crafts, were granted exemptions). This meant that players were obligated to either join the active military or find war-related work until the cessation of hostilities. With a September 15 deadline, baseball's answer was to cut the regular season short, with the last games being played on Labor Day and the World Series starting on September 5. Ironically, the Armistace would be signed only eight weeks after the end of the "Late Summer" Classic. This book offers an interesting history of the early days of the game, the early days of the most famous baseball player of all time, and an insight into the background of the "Curse of Babe Ruth". This book is a must read for baseball historians and Red Sox fans. Yankee fans will also draw fiendish pleasure from the book, as a reminder of the eight decades of frustration suffered by fans of the Red Sox.
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