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It Was Never About the Babe: The Red Sox,…
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It Was Never About the Babe: The Red Sox, Racism, Mismanagement, and the Curse of the Bambino (edition 2009)

by Jerry Gutlon

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For years, Red Sox fans were told that their team was cursed because the Sox sold Babe Ruth to the hated Yankees. But as Jerry Gutlon reveals in It Was Never About the Babe, there is much more drama to Red Sox history than the "Curse of the Bambino." The truth is more shocking than any myth. With the thorough research of a seasoned journalist and the zeal of a lifelong Red Sox fan, Gutlon explains why the Sox came up short season after season: ownership chose managers and players not based on their talent, but on whom they drank with; before and after baseball integrated, personal and institutional racism affected their decision-making; and their teams consistently lacked the talent, leadership, chemistry, and luck needed to win championships. Most fans don't know that Babe Ruth was sold not just to produce a Broadway play, bust also because commissioner Ban Johnson was trying to run Sox owner Harry Frazee out of baseball and because Ruth was a major disruption in the Sox clubhouse. They will be surprised to learn that Jackie Robinson tried out at Fenway Park and shocked to learn that much-admired Tom Yawkey, along with owning the Red Sox, also owned a brothel for decades. Covering the early Red Sox championship dynasty of Ruth, the never-good-enough teams of Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and Carlton Fisk and Curt Schilling, It Was Never About the Babe is an eye-opening read for every baseball fan, and a must-own book for every fan in Boston.… (more)
Member:hildr8
Title:It Was Never About the Babe: The Red Sox, Racism, Mismanagement, and the Curse of the Bambino
Authors:Jerry Gutlon
Info:Skyhorse Publishing (2009), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library, Wishlist, To read
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Baseball

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It Was Never About the Babe: The Red Sox, Racism, Mismanagement, and the Curse of the Bambino by Jerry M. Gutlon

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Until their historic World Series win in 2004, many Boston fans considered the Red Sox to be under a curse, the Curse of the Bambino, a curse some claimed started after Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. In "It was never about the Babe" author Jerry Gutlon shows that the Red Sox were never cursed by the Babe but were denied a World Series win for over 80 years by a combination of many factors: ignorant owners; poor management; players with big egos; the loss of players who fought in the war; passing over players who became superstars for other teams; fighting amongst players; and some truly tragic events.

"It was never about the Babe" is a comprehensive, informative look at the history of the Boston Red Sox. Author Jerry Gutlon does an excellent job of looking at both past and current owners of the Red Sox and how the early owners mismanaged the team. He also tackles past and current sports writers (he's clearly not a Dan Shaughnessy fan) and credibly argues that they were partially to blame for not writing about some of the transgressions of the owners and managers. Much of what he writes is eye opening - the bigotry in baseball including Tom Yawkey who passed on both Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays; boneheaded trades - not only did the Red Sox trade Babe Ruth but later on Cy Young; how the Red Sox let managers like Joe Cronin stay on too long; how players instead of managers ran the team (interestingly enough Yaz doesn't come off too well in the book). Gutlon of course covers the major players past and present - Ruth, Ted Williams, Yaz, Luis Tiant, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz - and all the World Series the Red Sox were involved in (Gutlon does an especially excellent job with the 1975 World Series). He also talks about two of the major tragedies that affected the Red Sox - the death of Harry Aggannis and the beaning of Tony Conigliaro. And he effectively puts any talk of the Curse of the Bambino to rest by pointing out how quickly the Red Sox won the World Series under the current ownership.

"It was never about the Babe" is very informative. It is not perfect - I found two errors - it is the Boston Globe and not the Boston Herald that is in financial difficulty and it was Julian Tavarez not Julio Tavarez who played for the Red Sox. However, as a lifelong Red Sox fan I discovered a few things I didn't know about the Red Sox which is what I want in a book like this. Well done. ( )
  drebbles | Nov 30, 2010 |
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For years, Red Sox fans were told that their team was cursed because the Sox sold Babe Ruth to the hated Yankees. But as Jerry Gutlon reveals in It Was Never About the Babe, there is much more drama to Red Sox history than the "Curse of the Bambino." The truth is more shocking than any myth. With the thorough research of a seasoned journalist and the zeal of a lifelong Red Sox fan, Gutlon explains why the Sox came up short season after season: ownership chose managers and players not based on their talent, but on whom they drank with; before and after baseball integrated, personal and institutional racism affected their decision-making; and their teams consistently lacked the talent, leadership, chemistry, and luck needed to win championships. Most fans don't know that Babe Ruth was sold not just to produce a Broadway play, bust also because commissioner Ban Johnson was trying to run Sox owner Harry Frazee out of baseball and because Ruth was a major disruption in the Sox clubhouse. They will be surprised to learn that Jackie Robinson tried out at Fenway Park and shocked to learn that much-admired Tom Yawkey, along with owning the Red Sox, also owned a brothel for decades. Covering the early Red Sox championship dynasty of Ruth, the never-good-enough teams of Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and Carlton Fisk and Curt Schilling, It Was Never About the Babe is an eye-opening read for every baseball fan, and a must-own book for every fan in Boston.

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