My first novel was Gift of the Bambino, a coming-of-age story about a young boy and his grandfather, and how the two were bound by baseball and the spirit of Babe Ruth. It was largely inspired by Ruth’s first pro home run which he hit in 1914 when he was a minor leaguer. To say I’ve been on a Babe Ruth journey since that book came out is putting it mildly.
On April 1st my new book BABE RUTH – A Superstar’s Legacy will be released. This isn’t a novel, but a non-fiction look at the enduring legacy of Ruth on many different fronts, both in and beyond baseball. It involves sport, culture, business, the arts, and in no small dose, humanity. This is unlike any book ever written about the remarkable icon who captured America and the world, and is a testament to his enduring appeal.
Tom Stevens, who is the Babe’s grandson, wrote the Foreword and the Ruth family has provided photos.
Why the fascination with Babe Ruth? For starters he is a huge historical figure – the most celebrated person in America during the 1920’s and 1930’s – and one of the most famous persons the United States has ever produced. His impact transcends baseball and sport.
“He is a cultural icon, not a sports icon,” says Michael Gibbons, the man who spent almost four decades running the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore.
From the 16-foot bronze sculpture of Ruth that stands at Camden Yards where the Orioles play, to the Babe Ruth exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., to the billion-dollar business of sports collecting and memorabilia in which Ruth is the no. 1 player, Ruth is in a class of his own as a phenomenon.
In 2012 his New York Yankees jersey from the early 1920’s sold at auction for $4.4 million, which is still a Guinness World Record for an item of sports memorabilia. That was almost twice the dollar figure it cost to build the original Yankee Stadium back in 1923!
No one else but Babe Ruth could command such interest. But as I have discovered, there is considerably more to this man than the guy who, for all intents and purposes, invented the home run. A lot more.
Watch for it. BABE RUTH – A Superstar’s Legacy.