If you are a baseball fan, this is an exciting time of the year. Spring Training is under way and opening day is in just a few weeks. Here is a great book to help you get ready for the start of the season. The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth is a must read if you are a baseball fan. Leigh Montville is the author and has written for Sport’s Illustrated, Smithsonian, etc., and has authored many other books. He is the perfect guy to write a book about Babe Ruth.
I’ve read other books about the Babe and sat through The Babe Ruth Story movie a couple of times. I even endured John Goodman in his movie,The Babe. Reading this book, however, was like running into an old friend on the street and spending the next few hours catching up. Montville is a great writer and really takes the reader back to the time when Babe Ruth was one of the first true superstars.
How big was the Babe? I don’t think baseball fans today appreciate how much of a superstar he really was. He could and did do it all. He started his career as a pitcher and had a lifetime record of 94-46 with an ERA of 2.28. When he was traded to the Yankees and became an everday player, he showed what he could do with a bat and ended up with 714 homers and a batting average of .342. If he hadn’t have pitched all those years, he might have hit 850 or 900 homers. If hadn’t have become an everyday player, he would have probably won 300 games as a pitcher.
Those were interesting times. The regular season was only 154 games back then. When the season was over, however, many players, the Babe included would go on a barnstorming tour all over America playing another 50-75 games. It is estimated that there were some years that he played in 250 baseball games.
Even if you are not a baseball fan, you will enjoy this book. Montville does a great job of capturing the era in which Babe played. The Big Bam gives a great snapshot of America in the 20’s and 30’s.
I know that every generation has its great players. I have been fortunate to see Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson, Derek Jeter Nolan Ryan, Greg Maddox, Tom Glavine, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Chipper Jones, Cal Ripken and so many, many others play. At the end of the day, though, I don’t know that we will ever see another player dominate the game like the Babe!
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