Forbes: Epic Babe Ruth Bio By Jane Leavy Captures His Life And Times
Jane Leavy’s second book, a critically acclaimed, New York Times best-selling biography of Mickey Mantle in 2010, has sold 211,000 copies in hardback and 60,000 in paperback. Such commercial success in today’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.
I’m delighted to report that Leavy’s newest masterpiece, The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created (Harper Collins, $32.50, available on Amazon and at all bookstores) delivers all the goods again. Meticulously researched over eight years and richly detailed, it’s as close as we’ll ever come to meeting the legend and watching him in action.
Newsday: New Babe Ruth biography by Jane Leavy focuses on his childhood
“I knew the first question would be: Why another book about Babe Ruth, and did you find anything new?”
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 Ruth’s childhood, opening a door to explore the man more fully.
“You couldn’t write a biography of Winston Churchill without his childhood,” Leavy said. “But so much of sports biography was a biography of a career, and not a whole life.”
She came armed with an edge that Creamer lacked.
“I perceived myself as working at an impossible disadvantage, which is everyone you need to speak to is presently dead,” she said. “It turned out that it wasn’t.
“It 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.”
The result is the most complete account yet of Ruth’s complicated, tragic family life, including siblings who died young, parents who separated and, most famously, being shipped off to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys in Baltimore.
The lack of information about that part of Ruth’s life hit home for Leavy when she visited his daughter, Julia Ruth Stevens – who is now 102 – and she spoke of Babe’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 it’s perhaps no surprise that he got arrested on suspicion of engaging in illegal behavior during a jaunt to sunny San Diego.
What’d he do? Well … he allowed an 8-year-old girl to recite a poem during a stage performance in a downtown theater. We’re not kidding.
A bewildered judge balked at the charges, and George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr. never had to spend a day behind bars. But there’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 Swat’s appreciation of politically incorrect seafood.
The tale unfolds in baseball writer Jane Leavy’s widely praised new biography “The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created,” which chronicles how the home run king produced a new kind of celebrity.