Listen: Babe Ruth, Baseball, Ruth Baseball discussed on WGR Programming
"Ruth professor Edmund world's new book is, breaking Babe Ruth baseball's campaign against its biggest. Star professor wurley thank you for. Joining, us greetings thanks for. Having me now I gotta say right off the bat. Professor wurley so. To speak Robert Kramer wrote a bead legend comes, to life which many people consider the definitive biography of arguably the greatest figure in the annals of. Of sports what led you to believe before you really dug into the research here that that there was more to uncover, that Babe Ruth and? His. Life, sure well it was really the initial plan was to write a book on sports writers from the. Nineteen twenties, you know all these great names grantland, rise Damon Runyon. Lardner absolutely and as I Started to do some research I. Looked at how they treated Ruth and I was really shocked at how very negative they were about how they constantly infantilized him nineteen twenty five Ruth ended up, in, a, dispute with. The New York Yankees in the press, published pictures of his live in girlfriend while. He was married to someone else. And, I was always taught. That the press didn't do that type of thing they. Let John f.. Kennedy alone they left Franklin D Roosevelt alone now, I find here they are really going after Ruth on a personal level so that you know I. Started some questions there and I continued to ask those questions and I became increasingly convinced that and not nothing against Creamer, which is just a? Wonderful. Biography, and Lee Monfils work as well but big bam I but I became increasingly convinced that there maybe. Was too, much emphasis on this Ruth as an, adult an overgrown. Out a lesson A man short, on intellect and high on outlet. Power slave to his impulses Creamer plays, down that a little bit but you know other biographies and certainly movies about Ruth play that up and that's. Kind of the way we've come to understand them all of that I argue in the book is the product of a character assassination campaign by the baseball. Establishment by major league baseball and when you say that professor wurley do you. Mean specifically Commissioner Landis well I, think Landis was an, arm of. Major league baseball I think the real forces were the Yankee management first of all especially the owner, Jacob Rupert his business manager Ed barrow also a ban Johnson who is the president of the American League and if you could, let me go just for a second here in remember Jeremy I'm, a history professor, son. Used to talking and fifty minute increments so interrupt me as as much as you'd like that'd be, perfect but you know everything's Context in, the first two decades of the twentieth century were just. A mess for professional baseball labor strife violence on the field. In the stands. Gambling that culminates in the nineteen nineteen black SOX scandal renegade leagues right rival leagues to federal league the shipyard builders. League so baseball really wanted stability in, Ruth was terrific for baseball starting? In, nineteen twenty driving stands in larger numbers than ever but. He is he's an independent operator he was a. Member of the, players fraternity he's, outspoken in, criticizing baseball's labor practice the draconian reserve clause he's you know he's got a passing temper he. Does gamble although not on baseball in you know he does he's got his own. Course in baseball. Wants to bring him to heel to take advantage. Of him but also to break him right control. Them we're speaking. With professor Edmund, world Early his new book. Is breaking Babe Ruth baseball's campaign against its biggest star and of course at this time we're talking about half a century before the advent of free agency we're talking about, a, system that of course bound players indefinitely to their teams at the team's discretion we're. Talking about a young man and George Herman Ruth who went from being literally an. Inmate at reform school at the beginning of nineteen fourteen to, starring for the Boston Red Sox by the end of that, summer so how. Much sophistication could could. Young Ruth have brought to an understanding of. His own situation well great question and, my conclusion is at. Least, initially not, a lot and he himself. Later on said, you know you had such, a tough upbringing abandoned. By his parents and then I think you're quite right in saying an inmate in this reform Matori, it took him a long time as he. Put it to get his bearings In remember at that time you don't. Bring an agent, into negotiations with you Ruth had to negotiate with Rupert in this guy Ed barrow. Is business agent one on one, in route, hated us it was Rupert's a former congressman and he's. Got a negotiated with him Ruth does have an agent Christy Walsh but Walsh is not allowed into those negotiations and I think it took Ruth quite a while to realize the forces that were aligned against him and. That was all of major league baseball in sports writers as well who were essentially an arm? Of, major league. Baseball and I know you know this Abid Jeremy and, I but I'm not sure your, listeners know, it sports writers basically worked for the teams the teams, major league teams paid for their travel they put them up in the best hotels. Pullman cars when they traveled the best food so Rui sports writers had to Ape the positions of major. League baseball and if that meant criticizing route Indians. Fantasizing him there's this constant. Campaign in Spanta lies and Ruth which. He contributed to a little bit but it went on way too long. Speaking with Edmund wurley who was a, professor of history specializing in international affairs at. Eastern Illinois university his new book breaking Babe Ruth baseball's campaign against its biggest star and as you. Already said professor Babe Ruth was good for baseball and of course that's a massive understatement he did incredible things to increase. The popularity of the game, in particular, after the aforementioned, nineteen nineteen black SOX scandal he made the. Game more exciting he was by virtue. Of his talents someone who just drew people to. The game what kind of threat did he, represent as a superstar that magnitude to the. Ban Johnson's and the Jacob Rupert's And, the the judge Landis is, up the world terrific question let's go right to the nuclear option the, greatest threat in their mind is. That Ruth would go off in start, a rival, league he already did these barnstorming tours of the country off season that we're incredibly popular, right at the time there's no there there really radios in its infancy there's no television the only opportunity to see major league baseball and, stars like Ruth and the, on the west coast or in small. Towns was to see one, of, these, barnstorming tours in baseball grew. Increasingly worried that, Ruth could you know. With the power of his personality is charisma in his star power could form a separate league in this isn't something, that they just dreamed up there. Had been as I mentioned earlier this, federal league challenge in the second decade of, the twentieth century then during World War One the shipbuilding, yards league was a a major threat to professional baseball A major league baseball so this was the biggest fear but there's. Also the secondary fears that Ruth demanding higher salaries would drive up salaries everywhere that Ruth demanding player empowerment. Would encourage players. To challenge management on any number. Of issues and of course the reserve clause was the key one there but you know playing conditions all of that stuff so for all of those reasons the independent minded Ruth was a threat professor Edmund Werleigh's Newark is breaking, Babe Ruth, baseball's campaign against its biggest star we've just scratched the surface you're talking about some of the issues. You dress professor wurley thank you for joining. Us and thank, you for producing this,."