Breaking Babe Ruth; Baseball's Campaign Against Its Biggest Star.

Author:Fleischer, Jeff
Position:Brief article - Book review

Edmund F. Wehrle; BREAKING BABE RUTH; University of Missouri Press (Nonfiction: Sports & Recreation) 29.95 ISBN: 9780826221605

Byline: Jeff Fleischer

If Babe Ruth had not captured the public imagination when he did, odds are baseball would never have become the national pastime and the multibillion dollar industry it is today. However, as Edmund F. Wehrle thoroughly details in Breaking Babe Ruth, both the league and the Yankees routinely took steps to undermine their biggest star and damage his reputation. This is an engaging, important book.

The book covers the full arc of Ruth's life, from being abandoned as a child in Baltimore to a living as a retired legend unable to obtain the manager job he'd long sought. It includes all his familiar on- and off-field highlights. At each point, though, Wehrle also considers Ruth as an early labor figure: a man well aware of how much his employers profited from his work, but who had limited power to claim his fair share of that profit.

Ruth's contract negotiations provide some of the book's drama. The team attacked his maturity in print, spread gossip...

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