The House That Ruth Built
A New Stadium, the First Yankees Championship, and the Redemption of 1923
By Robert Weintraub
(Little, Brown and Company, Hardcover, 9780316086073, 432pp.)
Publication Date: April 2011
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
Categories: Baseball - History
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The untold story of Babe Ruth's Yankees, John McGraw's Giants, and the extraordinary baseball season of 1923
Before the 27 World Series titles--before Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Derek Jeter-the Yankees were New York's shadow franchise. They hadn't won a championship, and they didn't even have their own field, renting the Polo Grounds from their cross-town rivals the New York Giants. In 1921 and 1922, they lost to the Giants when it mattered most: in October.
But in 1923, the Yankees played their first season on their own field, the newly-built, state of the art baseball palace in the Bronx called "the Yankee Stadium." The stadium was a gamble, erected in relative outerborough obscurity, and Babe Ruth was coming off the most disappointing season of his career, a season that saw his struggles on and off the field threaten his standing as a bona fide superstar.
It only took Ruth two at-bats to signal a new era. He stepped up to the plate in the 1923 season opener and cracked a home run to deep right field, the first homer in his park, and a sign of what lay ahead. It was the initial blow in a season that saw the new stadium christened "The House That Ruth Built," signaled the triumph of the power game, and established the Yankees as New York's-and the sport's-team to beat.
From that first home run of 1923 to the storybook World Series matchup that pitted the Yankees against their nemesis from across the Harlem River-one so acrimonious that John McGraw forced his Giants to get to the Bronx in uniform rather than suit up at the Stadium-Robert Weintraub vividly illuminates the singular year that built a classic stadium, catalyzed a franchise, cemented Ruth's legend, and forever changed the sport of baseball.
Robert Weintraub is a writer living in Decatur, Georgia. He is a sports columnist for Slate, and his writing has appeared in ESPN.com, Play, The Guardian, and many others, and aired on ESPN, Turner Broadcasting, ABC Sports, Discovery, and dozens of other outlets.
Weintraub nicely infuses modern references...into his 1920s descriptions. The book is comprehensive, and Weintraub details everything from the construction of the stadium and the careers of Ruth and McGraw to a detailed season overview and deconstruction of the 1923 World Series.
Weintraub is a very lively writer: he makes it all fresh and newly intriguing, adding in a whiff of Damon Runyon's saltiness and introducing readers to some of the idioms of the era. Bracing and fun for all baseball buffs, whether or not fans of today's Bombers.
Robert Weintraub has written a fascinating tale of one of baseball's greatest moments-the emergence in 1923 of Babe Ruth and the Yankees. The research is meticulous and the writing is delightful. Get on the train with Babe and the boys. You're in for a rollicking good ride.
Just when you thought there were no great seasons left uncovered -- or anything new left to say about Babe Ruth -- here comes The House that Ruth Built. Robert Weintraub has resurrected the 1923 season and showed us how it changed baseball that season and every season that has followed it. A perfect match of the team, the year, and the writer.
The whole baseball year of 1923 is the frame for Weintraub's elegantly constructed narrative: the year the Yankees moved into their own stadium in the Bronx and won their first World Series...There is no nickname ever used for a player that Weintraub overlooks nor any colorful phrase now common in baseball that he doesn't cite...a treasure for the fan who cannot get enough.