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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Favorite Non-Fiction Books, #89: The Big Bam, The Life and Times of Babe Ruth

Do you have an adjective named after you? No, you don't. Babe does.

1. Boy, do I hate the Yankees

2. Boy, was this a fun read

I can’t help but like the Babe. And Mickey Mantle, and Mariano Rivera. Ability mixed with authentic charisma and a boyish kind of delight in the game. Conversely, Derek Jeter and Joe DiMaggio and their corporate, smug, pretentious artificiality leave me cold. Funny how that works.

Ruth is an icon a century after his playing days for a reason. The Bambino practically invented the home run, and his personality was even bigger than his prodigious appetite for meatballs of all kinds. He was Ali, or Jordan, a kind of singular melding of sport and theater, a larger-than-life Paul Bunyan of the athletic world. Maybe it’s easier to look back on him with some forgiveness and grace now that the Sox are the team of the century in MLB with four titles in the last 15 years. Maybe I’m just more able to appreciate that kind of shooting-star dominance because we have one across town under center for the Patriots. Make no mistake, Tom Brady is the modern Babe Ruth: putting up numbers no one will ever reach, famous for his diet and his off-field life, target of envy from those left sprawled in his wake.


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