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The House That Ruth Built: A New Stadium, the First Yankees Championship, and the Redemption of 1923 Hardcover – April 4, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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"The Baseball Whisperer: A Small-Town Coach Who Shaped Big League Dreams"
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his first book, Slate sports columnist Weintraub examines the 1923 New York Yankees, the team that opened Yankee Stadium and won the first of the Bronx Bombers' record 27 World Series titles. The center of this work is the clash between the Yankees' star, Babe Ruth, with his new "bashing" style of playing the game, and the classic "scientific baseball" epitomized by manager John McGraw and his New York Giants. While the Giants got the best of the Yanks in the '22 fall classic, Ruth and the Yankees' 1923 World Series victory over their crosstown rivals would change the face of baseball and New York City forever. Weintraub nicely infuses modern references like "imagine Ruth as Rocky Balboa preparing to wreak vengeance on Ivan Drago" into his 1920s descriptions. The book is comprehensive, and Weintraub details everything from the construction of the stadium and the careers of Ruth and McGraw to a detailed season overview and deconstruction of the 1923 World Series. The stories about Ruth and McGraw hold the narrative together, but it is the asides of forgotten personalities like Mose "The Rabbi of Swat" Solomon, Russ "Pep" Youngs, and Yankees co-owner Cap Huston that create a much-needed undercurrent of character and humor. (Apr.)
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Review

Weintraub nicely infuses modern references...into his 1920s descriptions. The book is comprehensive, and Weintraub details everything from the construction of the stadium and the careers of Ruth and McGraw to a detailed season overview and deconstruction of the 1923 World Series.―Publisher's Weekly

Weintraub is a very lively writer: he makes it all fresh and newly intriguing, adding in a whiff of Damon Runyon's saltiness and introducing readers to some of the idioms of the era. Bracing and fun for all baseball buffs, whether or not fans of today's Bombers.―Library Journal

Robert Weintraub has written a fascinating tale of one of baseball's greatest moments-the emergence in 1923 of Babe Ruth and the Yankees. The research is meticulous and the writing is delightful. Get on the train with Babe and the boys. You're in for a rollicking good ride.―Johnathan Eig, author of author of Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig and Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season

Just when you thought there were no great seasons left uncovered -- or anything new left to say about Babe Ruth -- here comes The House that Ruth Built. Robert Weintraub has resurrected the 1923 season and showed us how it changed baseball that season and every season that has followed it. A perfect match of the team, the year, and the writer.―Allen Barra, author of Yogi Berra and The Last Coach

The whole baseball year of 1923 is the frame for Weintraub's elegantly constructed narrative: the year the Yankees moved into their own stadium in the Bronx and won their first World Series...There is no nickname ever used for a player that Weintraub overlooks nor any colorful phrase now common in baseball that he doesn't cite...a treasure for the fan who cannot get enough.―Booklist
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (April 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031608607X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316086073
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #964,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love great writing, and author Robert Weintraub has treated us to a rousing rendition of a story in his new book entitled The House That Ruth Built. It is an account of the 1923 baseball season with a concentration on the feud between the New York Giants and their across-the-Harlem River rivals the New York Yankees. We have had recent books devoted to the seasons of 1920 and 1921, but this book surpasses both of those. Weintraub avoids the day-by-day summaries of games that all too often make up books devoted to particular seasons. Instead the featured players in this story such as owners, managers, players, and writers are all brought back to life with anecdotes that greatly enrich this wonderful book. Examples would be a story you may well not have heard regarding the Lou Gehrig and Wally Pipp incident. How did Bullet Joe Bush get his nickname? The train ride that took the life of "Wild Bill" Donovan and spared the life of George Weiss who went on to become the general manager of the New York Yankees. The Odd Couple ownership duo of prim and proper Jacob Ruppert and slovenly Til Huston and their accompanying feud over who should manage the Yankees. Ruppert had the audacity to insist on being called Colonel when Huston is over in France fighting in The Great War to End All Wars. Giant Manager John McGraw's inconsiderate treatment of Lou Gehrig at a tryout. Bomber boss Ed Barrow telling Eleanor Gehrig, "Well, I guess he'll have to find another line of work," when told Lou would no longer be able to play baseball.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
American's favorite summer past time, baseball has gone through some tough public relation bumps in recent times. Steroids, player strikes, and money disputes make fans yearn for a time that the game took us away from life's troubles with larger than life heroes and rivalries.

One such book that delves back into the nostalgic good `ole days is The House That Ruth Built: A New Stadium, the First Yankees Championship, and the Redemption of 1923 by Robert Weintraub.

Weintraub does a masterful job of retracing back to 1923 and the origins of the New York Yankees as they moved from the polo fields into their own stadium and the essence of Babe Ruth.

The term "the house that Ruth built" is actually a play on Mother Goose nursery rhyme "This is the house that Jack built", which feed into the legend of Babe Ruth. This bigger than life baseball player was created in part by his natural abilities and the sports journalist of the day who typed out tales that captured baseball's magic.

Babe Ruth did not go to the party, he was the party. A born hell raiser who loved booze, baseball, and babes, Ruth overindulge in life's pleasures. In his father's saloon, he would sneak sips of beer and steal cigars from the patrons, all at the ripe old age of six. His parent's struggled to rein in this rebel and it was not until a priest used the power of baseball to calm his devilish spirit.

A medical official once did a full examination on Ruth to discover that he was the perfect instrument for the game. Just knowing he was at the game brought fans from all over to experience this baseball living marvel.
This book delves into the Yankee owner's rivalry mixed in with the player's high flying lifestyle as the early fans rooted for the underdogs.
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Format: Hardcover
I have read most pre-war baseball history books written. Many focus on single seasons. Most do a credible job but many focus too much on detailed game accounts to the point of excluding the off the field lives and events surrounding baseball. In weintraub's The House That Ruth Built, he manages to balance on the field accounts of the first season at Yankee Stadium with what life was like for players and fans outside of baseball. We also get a look at how the Yankees overtake the Giants in capturing more fans. Ruth is largely responsible for that but the new stadium was a wonder among ball parks. The stadium did as much as Ruth to draw fans.

Weintraub's accounts of players lives outside of the game shows the womanizing and drinking that seems to transcend eras. Despite prohibition in 1923 players found drinking clubs easily accessible and patronized by politicians and judges who were supposed to enforce the law. We get wonderful stories a young Casey Stengel, then a giants utility player. John Mcgraw the Legendary Giants manager is portrayed as a genius of the old style of small ball,that is a master of scoring by base running and strategies such as hit and run. Ruth is shown as the first to bring power ball to the game but hated by baseball purists.

Weintraub is a brilliant writer and his pace is breezy and light. He is a master at the anecdote bringing these old players to life. These boys of summer worked hard given the long train rides in un-airconditioned cars and stuffy hotel rooms in the heat of summer. We can excuse their raucous behavior given most were farm boys let loose to temptations of fame and big cities.

What is most amazing is Yankee Stadium was built for just over 1 million dollars, even given inflation, that is a small sum. We learn about the lesser known co-owner Cap Huston, who sold out to Jake Ruppert later. Huston was the one who oversaw the construction. Overall a must read for baseball fans not just from New York.
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