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Thread: Banzai Babe Ruth - New Book

  1. #1

    Banzai Babe Ruth - New Book

    I just received this yesterday and read the whole thing already!

    Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball Espionage & Assassination During the 1934 Tour of Japan
    By Robert K. Fitts

    One of my favorite subjects is 1930's baseball and in particular barnstorming so this book on the 1934 MLB tour to Japan was right down my strike zone. I read countless numbers of baseball books doing research for my own stories and drawings and most of them seem to fall in 2 categories - either they are too pedestrian, edited down to appeal to the broadest common reader - or they are meticulously researched but dry as burnt toast.

    This book hits the sweet spot, well written, a bunch of different story lines all weaved into a thoroughly well-written book. Of course the subject matter doesn't hurt. It's 1934 and the Babe is at the end of his career but he's a God in Japan and it's his last hurrah as a player. Connie Mack, leading the expedition, secretly uses the tour as an on-the-job tryout to see if Ruth would be responsible enough to manage the Athletics the following season. The Japanese put together a national all-star team of the country's best players to meet the Americans and so as not to be embarrassed when they play each other - this team forms the nucleus of the famed Tokyo Giants. The culture clash between east and west is vividly described in the players' own recollections and the nationalistic undercurrent in 1930's Japan gives a great background to the coming war with the US and the player's ambivalence to it because of the warm reception the Japanese people gave them. There's Moe Berg, journeyman catcher and future WWII spy who films strategic locations throughout the country. With story lines like this you can't go wrong but, like I said, it isn't a dry balls and strikes sports book, it is extremely well written and the author moves the story along at a nice pace.

    If you haven't noticed, I highly recommend this book!
    See My Baseball Card Project: www.infinitecardset.blogspot.com

    See My Vintage Sports Posters: www.cieradkowskidesign.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
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    593
    Quote Originally Posted by jerseygary View Post
    I just received this yesterday and read the whole thing already!

    Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball Espionage & Assassination During the 1934 Tour of Japan
    By Robert K. Fitts

    One of my favorite subjects is 1930's baseball and in particular barnstorming so this book on the 1934 MLB tour to Japan was right down my strike zone. I read countless numbers of baseball books doing research for my own stories and drawings and most of them seem to fall in 2 categories - either they are too pedestrian, edited down to appeal to the broadest common reader - or they are meticulously researched but dry as burnt toast.

    This book hits the sweet spot, well written, a bunch of different story lines all weaved into a thoroughly well-written book. Of course the subject matter doesn't hurt. It's 1934 and the Babe is at the end of his career but he's a God in Japan and it's his last hurrah as a player. Connie Mack, leading the expedition, secretly uses the tour as an on-the-job tryout to see if Ruth would be responsible enough to manage the Athletics the following season. The Japanese put together a national all-star team of the country's best players to meet the Americans and so as not to be embarrassed when they play each other - this team forms the nucleus of the famed Tokyo Giants. The culture clash between east and west is vividly described in the players' own recollections and the nationalistic undercurrent in 1930's Japan gives a great background to the coming war with the US and the player's ambivalence to it because of the warm reception the Japanese people gave them. There's Moe Berg, journeyman catcher and future WWII spy who films strategic locations throughout the country. With story lines like this you can't go wrong but, like I said, it isn't a dry balls and strikes sports book, it is extremely well written and the author moves the story along at a nice pace.

    If you haven't noticed, I highly recommend this book!
    I am most certainly going to check that book out!I`ve read The Catcher Was A Spy and The Year Babe Ruth Hit 104 Home Runs has a whole chapter on that 1934 tour.The author considers Ruth`s exploits with his bat during that tour to be among Ruth`s greatest highlights.I commented jokingly in the excellent BBF thread on Babe Ruth photographs that Ruth was trying to act like the manager even though Mack had that job,now I know why!
    Last edited by Nimrod; 01-25-2012 at 02:23 PM.

  3. #3
    Yeah, if you liked the Berg book then you'll really like this one! It truly was Ruth's last hurrah and the way he was treated in Japan really touched him.
    See My Baseball Card Project: www.infinitecardset.blogspot.com

    See My Vintage Sports Posters: www.cieradkowskidesign.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northeast US
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    4,792
    Quote Originally Posted by jerseygary View Post
    Yeah, if you liked the Berg book then you'll really like this one! It truly was Ruth's last hurrah and the way he was treated in Japan really touched him.
    Yup. I really have to read it...sounds great.

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