“Babe Ruth Saves Baseball!” by Frank Murphy, illustrated by Richard Walz
Random House, New York, 2005, 48 pages, Grades 2-4.
Spring is a happy time of the year. The snow has melted, the grass begins to
turn green, and hope fills most hearts.
For millions of people, it also means that Opening Day is close at hand.
Opening Day is the beginning of baseball season in the major leagues. Though
the season traditionally starts in Cincinnati, recent first games have been
played in many different ballparks.
April is also the time to remember all the great stars of the past. Older
adults can often vividly remember their first baseball game. They recall
long home runs and exploits from the past. But no one conjures up more
dramatic memories than the first man to ever hit 60 home runs. This great
player was none other than the Great Bambino himself, Babe Ruth.
So many stories abound about the Babe that it is hard to know where to
start. In 1914, a strong young pitcher named Babe Ruth came up with the
Boston Red Sox. Early in his career, Babe is in tremendous shape. He is a
pitcher at the beginning of his career, and his rocket arm helps the Red Sox
dominate the American League.
But his manager is surprised when Babe begins hitting long home runs. This
simply wasn’t the way baseball was played at the time. Hitters were supposed
to hit behind the runners and move them along the base paths. This type of
play is sometimes called small ball. Now crushing a fastball 100 feet over
the center field fence for a home run is quite different. This is known as
long ball. No one had ever so consistently pounded the baseball like Babe
Ruth. His enormous home runs, sometimes called “taters,” were avidly
followed across the nation.
Two things then happen at the end of the 1919 season. First, the World
Series is thrown by the Chicago White Sox. The 1919 Chicago team will be
referred to as the Black Sox after this awful event.
Second, Babe Ruth is sold by the Red Sox to the New York Yankees. Much to
Boston’s sorrow and New York’s delight, Ruth begins leading the Yankees from
one World Series Championship to another. So many people begin following the
Yankees, that Yankee Stadium is built.
Next, Ruth begins hitting so many home runs that he becomes a national hero.
But the Great Bambino has something else that draws people to him like a
What about Ruth fascinates the entire nation?
As the years pass, his rock hard physique changes. When does it change? Does
being in shape or not being in shape seem to have any effect on his play?
How does the size of his waistline make him even more attractive?
Why are children so drawn to the great Yankee outfielder? Why do people
forget the Black Sox scandal after seeing Ruth crush a towering home run?
To find out the answers to these questions, go to the library and check out
this interesting early reader, “Babe Ruth Saves Baseball,” by Frank Murphy.
This book is part of an early educational series entitled “Step into
Reading.” This series is written to help primary school students’ move from
picture books into chapter books. It uses an easy to understand vocabulary,
and is written in an interesting and lively manner. The illustrations are
enjoyable, and draw early readers into the story.
You can’t help but love the Babe after reading this book. I hope you go to
the library and check out this pleasurable title. I like it and think you
will as well. Play Ball!
2013 Southern Nebraska Register Publication Dates
(Resume Jan 4, 2014)
November 27 (Wed.)