Robert N. Keane
AMS Studies in Cultural History, No. 7
The 1920s was a time of American sports titans. Johnny Weissmuller, Bobby Jones, Bill Tilden, Helen Wills Moody, Jack Dempsey, and Red Grange all leant luster to their fields. But in our collective memory George Herman “Babe” Ruth stands above them all—towering in baseball as the greatest player of all time.
Ruth’s prowess as a pitcher, hitter, and all-around player electrified the national pastime. His overall record, not just the home runs, gives the truest picture. He ushered in the era of power baseball and boasted a salary that rivaled the president of the United States.
This book collects essays, recollections, and testimonials derived from a conference on the Bambino held in 1995 at Hofstra University. Contributors range from sports writers to professors to lawyers to corporate CEOs—united here by the Babe’s universal appeal. All aspects of Ruth’s career are studied, from his rookie years as a pitcher to his glory days as the Yankees’ homerun king and including his time in the US, Cuba, South America, and Japan, where he took barnstorming tours with teams of top players. Off the diamond, his zest for living created its own legends. A symbol of boyish exuberance, he typified the Roaring Twenties and not a few of our own daydreams.
This book presents a kaleidoscope of the Sultan of Swat with career-ranging photos and incisive sketches, informative statistics, and a bibliography.
George Vesey, Foreward with an Afterword
Eric J. Schmertz, Conference Director’s Message
Robert N. Keane, Preface: Me and the Babe
Part I. The Early Years
1. William Jakub, “Babe Ruth: The Rookie Year”
2. John E. McGah, “Babe Ruth, the Red Sox, and Fans of Boston”
3. Larry Turkish, “The Boston Babe: The Big Splash”
4. Sephen D. Guschov, “All the Glory Belongs to Boston: The Story of Babe Ruth and the 1918 World Champion Red Sox”
5. Thomas G. Jordan, Jr., “The Phenomenon Known as the ‘Curse of the Bambino’”
6. Peter T. Dalleo and J. Vincent Watchorn, “Sultan of Sweat or Slacker? Babe Ruth and the Bethlehem Steel League, 1918”
Part II. The Yankee Years
7. Michael D’Innocenzo, “The 1920s: The Prime Time of Babe Ruth”
8. Victor Debs, Jr., “Ruth’s Greatest Season”
9. Sam Stoloff, “The Sultan and the Czar: Babe Ruth, Judge Landis, and the Carnivalesque in Mass Culture”
10. Lyle Spatz, “Babe Ruth on Opening Day”
11. Steven P. Gietschier, “From ‘Frank Ruth’ to ‘Nation Mourns Ruth’: The Sporting News Contributes to the Making of a Legend”
12. Peter Carino, “Reciprocal Grandeur: Babe Ruth and Yankee Stadium”
13. Joseph Dorinson, “Yankee from Olympus: Babe Ruth and Baseball Tradition in the Bronx”
14. Ron Briley, “Ruth and Cobb as Cultural Symbols: The Development of a Mass Consumer Ethic for Baseball in the 1920s”
15. Ray Robinson, “The Babe and Lou”
16. Michael P. Riccards, “Myth and Manhood: Ruth, DiMaggio, and American Baseball”
Part III. Barnstorming
17. Robert F. Eisen and William Cahill, “Babe Ruth’s Barnstorming Activities”
18. Raymond I. Schuck, “Babe’s in Tourland: How Babe Ruth Was Well-Suited for Barnstorming”
19. Ray Schuck, “When the Broadway Limited Stopped in Lima: An Ohio Town Embraces the Babe”
20. Robert Peterson, “Ruth and the Other Side of the Tracks”
21. Kazuo Sayama, “The Impact of Babe Ruth on Japan and Japanese Culture”
22. Manuel Márquez-Sterling, “Babe Ruth’s Impact on Latin American Baseball and Latin American Baseball Players: Cuba—A Case Study”
Part IV. The “Called Shot”
23. Stan Isaacs, “Babe Ruth’s Called Shot: A Matter of Semantics?”
24. Peter Williams, “Magnificent, but Not Divine: The Called Shot”
25. Ray Kelly, as told to Stan Isaacs, “Ray Kelly’s ‘Called Shot’”
26. Roger L. Solberg, “The Sick Boy, the Called Shot, and the Swan Song: Hollywood and Babe Ruth”
Part V. Babe Ruth in Literature and Song
27. Linda K. Fuller, “The ‘Sultan of Swat’ and the Silver Screen”
28. Richard H. Miller, “Along Came Ruth: The Babe and Popular Music”
29. Marjorie Maddox, “Hits and Home Runs: Babe Ruth as Baseball Folk Hero in Poetry and Fiction”
30. Joseph Lawrence Basile, “Babe Ruth: Baseball’s Whitmanesque Hero”
31. Ron Kaplan, “The Books on the Babe: The Later Biographies of George Herman Ruth”
32. Michael Solomowitz, “Babe Ruth and the Printed Ad: Hitting Homers and Striking Out, Everyone Wanted a Piece of the Babe”
Part VI. Myth, Legend, and Psychology
33. Mark A. Roesler, “A Legend Never Goes Out of Style”
34. Leonard R. N. Ashley, “Babe, the Babe, the Bambino: Nicknames of Baseball’s Sultan of Swat”
35. Adam J. Cox, “Babe Ruth: A Pure Expression of American Id”
36. Thomas Gaskill, “The Best-Made Myth: The Inevitable Emergence of Babe Ruth as America’s Mythic Hero”
37. William Petty, “A. Bartlett Giamatti, Babe Ruth, and the ‘Nostalgia’ of Baseball”
Part VII. Statistics
38. Ken Shouler, “Babe Ruth’s Top Ten List: Ten Reasons Why the Babe Is Truly the Sultan”
39. Norman P. Bolotin, “Baseball’s Greatest?: Statistically, It’s No Contest— Ruth’s the Undisputed King”
About the Editor and Contributors
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Baseball and the “Sultan of Swat”: Babe Ruth at 100 / edited by Robert N. Keane.
p. cm. — (AMS Studies in Cultural History; no. 7)
Selections from a conference held in April 1995 at Hofstra University.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN-13 978-0-404-64257-0 (alk. paper)
1. Babe Ruth, 1895-1948—Congresses.
2. Baseball players—United States—Biography—Congresses.
I. Keane, Robert N. II. Series.