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View Full Version : What's the BEST Book Written About Babe Ruth?


quinnsryche
10-12-2018, 04:37 PM
Looking to read a Ruth biography and would like some opinions on the best one. No sugar coated, unicorns and rainbows book. A real, honest biography, warts and all. Let's hear any and all opinions and why.
Thanks,
Tony

yanksfan09
10-12-2018, 04:49 PM
I haven't read them all but The Big Bam, by Leigh Montville is very good, imo.

conor912
10-12-2018, 04:55 PM
I really liked The House That Ruth Built.

roarfrom34
10-12-2018, 05:16 PM
I see that Jane Leavy (who has written great books about Mantle & Koufax) has a new Ruth book out

earlywynnfan
10-12-2018, 05:54 PM
I thought Robert Creamer's was good, even though it's old now.

clydepepper
10-12-2018, 06:27 PM
I thought Robert Creamer's was good, even though it's old now.


I thought it was great!

pclpads
10-12-2018, 08:15 PM
Hard to go wrong with anything Robert Creamer wrote. It's more recent and I haven't gotten to it yet, but Montvilles' is reportedly well done also.

vintagebaseballcardguy
10-12-2018, 08:42 PM
I thought Robert Creamer's was good, even though it's old now.+1000! Creamer's books are wonderful reads.

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mr2686
10-13-2018, 10:53 AM
+1000! Creamer's books are wonderful reads.

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+1001

darwinbulldog
10-13-2018, 11:55 AM
One more vote for Creamer.

brian1961
10-13-2018, 12:52 PM
Creamer's BABE is old as a Dom Perignom '53 is old! Mr. Creamer's biog is informative and entertaining. I well recall in the early 70s, perhaps just prior to its release, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED devoted three issues to bless readers with three segments from the book. They were enthralling; loved each one. After devouring them, I quickly bought the book.

There are other fine biographies of The Babe. It is my opinion that Robert Creamer's work stands at the best of the list.

--- Brian Powell

Jay Wolt
10-13-2018, 01:12 PM
One more vote for Creamer.
I'm also in the Robert Creamer camp.
I read it years ago, may have to dig it out & read it again

Tabe
10-13-2018, 02:02 PM
Definitely "The Big Bam".

lumberjack
10-14-2018, 02:36 PM
They all have something to offer.
Creamer is a most graceful writer AND he had the advantage of talking to Ford Frick, Ernie Shore, Hoyt, Dugan and Shawkey, among others. Primary sources, that's what it's all about.
The Smelser book covers EVERYTHING (excuse me for shouting, again), which is perfect if you want this storehouse of knowledge.
Montville came long after Creamer, and may inject himself, subtilely, into the work. If you read Creamer and Montville, who didn't have access to the old guys, it wouldn't be a bad thing.
Jane Leavy. Her book is supposed to come out about now. There is a short interview with her in Smithsonian.com. This is good place to get her perspective. Her Mantle book is a treat, although I know casual fans who actually didn't want to read her 20 page chapter on Mantle's tape measure shot at Griffith Stadium in '53. I would read anything written by Jane Leavy.
There you go.
lumberjack

commishbob
10-14-2018, 03:11 PM
I loved Creamer's book and kept my copy all these years which is a big endorsement since I usually don't.

I have Leavy's book on pre-order. Looking forward to it given how much I enjoyed her Koufax and Mantle books.

RTK
10-15-2018, 01:17 PM
There's a new book out titled, "The Big Fella" by Jane Leavy. 656 pages and there's supposed to be some new material included.

Hot Springs Bathers
10-15-2018, 03:24 PM
I second the Creamer book and add another really good one by Bill Jenkinson, THE YEAR BABE HIT 104 HOME RUNS. It traces Ruth's 1927 season from spring training through the end of season barnstorming. Smelser's book is also very good.

The new book by Jane Leavy is questionable to me, she tends to sensationalize things and does not do great research in my opinion. Just me opinion.

jerseygary
10-15-2018, 03:54 PM
Speaking not only as a Babe Ruth fan, but someone who took a traveling exhibit from the Babe Ruth Museum around the country for a year back in '02, I put Creamer's book above all the one's I've read. Sure, it's from 1974, but as someone already wrote in this thread, Creamer got to interview the people who knew him and played with and against him. I think the book's subtitle, "The Legend Comes to Life" speaks for itself when comparing this against other biographies.

That said, Big Bam is quite good and I recommend that as well. I really thought the author did a spectacular job describing the last year of Babe's career and how he dealt with retirement better than anything else I've read. Also, his description of the pain and suffering he went through from the cancer was harrowing for me. But to really get the essence of the man, Creamer's book is for me the best.

I suggest reading the others after Creamer's book.

In addition to "Big Bam", check out Keene's "The Babe in Red Stockings" for a comprehensive telling of his time in Boston, "Young Babe Ruth" by Brother Gilbert who knew Ruth in St. Mary's, Kelley's "In the Shadow of the Babe" to hear actual players who faced the Babe tell their story and Barthel's "Babe Ruth is Coming to Your Town!: Post Season Barnstorming Games, 1914-1935" for his famous tours. There's more, but those are the one's that come to mind first.

stlcardsfan
10-16-2018, 10:30 AM
Have only read the Creamer book but it was excellent.

brian1961
10-17-2018, 12:49 PM
Speaking not only as a Babe Ruth fan, but someone who took a traveling exhibit from the Babe Ruth Museum around the country for a year back in '02, I put Creamer's book above all the one's I've read. Sure, it's from 1974, but as someone already wrote in this thread, Creamer got to interview the people who knew him and played with and against him. I think the book's subtitle, "The Legend Comes to Life" speaks for itself when comparing this against other biographies.

That said, Big Bam is quite good and I recommend that as well. I really thought the author did a spectacular job describing the last year of Babe's career and how he dealt with retirement better than anything else I've read. Also, his description of the pain and suffering he went through from the cancer was harrowing for me. But to really get the essence of the man, Creamer's book is for me the best.

I suggest reading the others after Creamer's book.

In addition to "Big Bam", check out Keene's "The Babe in Red Stockings" for a comprehensive telling of his time in Boston, "Young Babe Ruth" by Brother Gilbert who knew Ruth in St. Mary's, Kelley's "In the Shadow of the Babe" to hear actual players who faced the Babe tell their story and Barthel's "Babe Ruth is Coming to Your Town!: Post Season Barnstorming Games, 1914-1935" for his famous tours. There's more, but those are the one's that come to mind first.

Gary brings up a succinct point in quoting Mr. Creamer's subtitle, "The Legend Comes to Life". That's precisely what Robert Creamer accomplishes; he allows us to go back in time and re-live Babe's life. Again, it's enthralling, and timeless with his use of the many key people he interviewed to bring fans a well-chronicled flashback of The Babe.

---Brian Powell

JollyElm
10-17-2018, 05:54 PM
Let's hope Creamer knew what he was doing, because I just hit a BIN on ebay for $3.99.

Tabe
10-18-2018, 04:18 AM
The new book by Jane Leavy is questionable to me, she tends to sensationalize things and does not do great research in my opinion. Just me opinion.

I am very much not a fan of her work. Don't like her writing style at all.

brian1961
10-18-2018, 11:36 AM
The new book by Jane Leavy is questionable to me, she tends to sensationalize things and does not do great research in my opinion. Just me opinion.

I second what you feel about Jane Leavy. She relishes upsetting the apple cart. Hank Bauer warned her not to be messing with Mickey Mantle's legacy; she didn't listen, and drilled down on his 565-foot home run. The 4,206 fans that were there that afternoon of April 17, 1953 would drill her with their empty beer bottles.

I won't go in to what she suggested about Sandy Koufax.

Let's just say, LEAVE LEAVY'S WORK ABONE----DON'T BOTHER WITH IT, 'CAUSE IT'LL BOTHER YOU!!!!!

-----Brian Powell