Between World War I, the Black Sox scandal, and a dearth of home runs, many people thought that 1920 would be the beginning of the end of baseball. Sure, George Herman Ruth had excelled as a pitcher for the Red Sox and had established himself as a slugger, but one player -- any player -- competing in Boston certainly was not enough to save America ...Read MoreBetween World War I, the Black Sox scandal, and a dearth of home runs, many people thought that 1920 would be the beginning of the end of baseball. Sure, George Herman Ruth had excelled as a pitcher for the Red Sox and had established himself as a slugger, but one player -- any player -- competing in Boston certainly was not enough to save America's pastime. As it was, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee cared more about producing Broadway shows than he did about winning pennants. Perhaps the Red Sox's fifth World Series title in 1918 had left him satiated with baseball success. Or, more likely, perhaps Frazee simply had his price. price: USD125,000. Eighty-five years and zero World Series titles later, Frazee's fateful decision is eerily regarded as the Curse of the Bambino. The timing of Ruth's arrival in New York in 1920 was impeccable. For a country exhausted by war and depleted by a raging flu epidemic, Ruth's season of seasons -- his first with the Yanks -- was just the tonic America needed. Throughout the country, drugstores and newspaper offices had even taken to posting signs outside their doors listing Ruth's staggering accomplishments. The Babe finished the 1920 season with a record-breaking fifty-four home runs -- more than the totals of eleven of the fifteen other big-league teams. on-base percentage of.530. In Launching the Legend: Babe Ruth, the 1920 Yankees, and the Team That Saved Baseball, baseball historian and critically acclaimed author Jim Reisler describes the remarkable, transforming impact Babe Ruth and the 1920 Yankees had on the game. Their brand of baseball -- bludgeoning opponents with the long ball -- was something never before seen, and Ruth's record-breaking season created a level of excitement that saved the game as the Chicago Black Sox scandal threatened its very core. pivotal moment in baseball history and an era frozen in time, with Ruth, already an emerging star, on the verge of becoming a legend. It was a year when Ruth was simply a ballplayer -- not yet the Ruth of myth, and certainly not the cartoonish, overweight figure of legend portrayed so inaccurately in film. As the Black Sox scandal was unfolding, Ruth generated a level of excitement that rescued the game at its darkest hour. Performing in America's biggest city and on its biggest stage, with every move chronicled by legendary scribes Damon Runyon, Grantland Rice, Jimmy Cannon, and Westbrook Pegler, helped make Ruth and his mammoth home run the most exciting attraction in sports -- and gave rise to the Yankee dynasty that endures to this day.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2004-01-19 It seems only fitting that this book about Babe Ruth's first year with the Yankees should hit shelves just as the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry will be reaching new heights. Looking back on Ruth's sale to and first season with the Yankees, Reisler (Babe Ruth Slept Here; Before They Were the Bronx Bombers) analyzes the Babe's impact on baseball, America and the roaring '20s. While the detail in covering every game of a season slows the book at times, it does capture the great media attention Ruth received in his first year in the Big Apple. The book also demonstrates how Ruth revolutionized America's pastime and how he helped save the game from the "Black Sox" scandal that turned much of the nation away from the sport. Reisler's book has morsels of revisionist baseball history (e.g., he supports arguments that Red Sox owner Harry Frazee did not sell Ruth for the money to open his play No, No, Nanette, as has often been reported). The end of the 1920 season is slightly anticlimactic since Ruth, though the main box-office draw, didn't bring the Yankees a championship that came three years later, when he had the help of a few more former Red Sox players. Given the countless books that have been written on Ruth, there is sure to be some overlap here, but Reisler's telling makes for a fresh take on some familiar topics. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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