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The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth
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The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  1,502 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
He was the Sultan of Swat. The Caliph of Clout. The Wizard of Whack. The Bambino. And simply, to his teammates, the Big Bam. From the award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Ted Williams comes the thoroughly original, definitively ambitious, and exhilaratingly colorful biography of the largest legend ever to loom in baseball—and in the history of organized sp ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2006)
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Jason Koivu
May 18, 2011 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it
Good choice if you need a concise bio on the Babe.

An easy and unobtrusive read, The Big Bam is compact and streamlined, covering Babe Ruth's entire life in as much detail as the casual baseball fan needs.

Granted, I don't feel like I really know the man. Biography buffs will want something that digs deeper into his personal life. I know it's hard to come by, but detail on his childhood is scant here. And overall, this treads upon generally known Babe lore: womanizing, food and drink binges, turn
Steven Peterson
Oct 12, 2009 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it
This is a riveting biography of the life of Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, the Big Bam (one nom de guerre that I had never heard before). The author uses notes from a series of researchers, a number of whom wrote their own biographies of Babe Ruth. Hence, he appears to have a rich vein of material from which to mine nuggets on the life of Babe Ruth.

The focus of the book (page 5): "This book is an attempt to tell the story again for the Sports Center generation. . . . The approach is not so much
Jill Hutchinson
Jul 25, 2015 Jill Hutchinson rated it really liked it
I am a great baseball fan and this book beckoned me from the library shelves. I'm glad it did. It traces the life and career of probably the greatest baseball player in history, George Herman Ruth....the Babe, the Bambino, the Big Bam. Much has been written about the Babe, and there is as much mythology as fact that surrounds him.....the "called shot" and the "curse of the Bambino" come to mind. In fact he was brought up in a Catholic orphanage, taken under the wing of a baseball playing priest. ...more
Dave Gaston
A credible and focused recap of all that has been written and researched on the Babe. However, I fault Montville for not going much beyond his main character. He briefly colors his myopic biography with local events but fails to tell the social science study of why Ruth became so much more in the eyes of a troubled nation (War, Depression, etc.) I bet he described the infamous infidelity of Ruth 500 times... but alas, no details. If you are going to be preoccupied by a character flaw, dive into ...more
May 21, 2016 Sandy rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed The Big Bam. Not only because I married a girl named "Bam" but because it is really well researched and written. Some well researched biographies can be good but when you get down to it come across a little boring. Fortunately Leigh Montville is an excellent writer with a fascinating topic.

Like most people I knew the broad strokes of the story which is that The Babe was the first great home run hitter, traded early by Red Sox to Yanks, was a pitcher first and lived a hard drink
Apr 06, 2009 Irfan rated it really liked it
Shelves: advisory
The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth is a very interesting book which talks all about the beautiful life of Babe Ruth. It goes in depth about how Babe Ruth suddenly arose to fame in the 1920’s and how that era started being called The Roaring Twenties. The book follows Ruth from his younger days when he was in the orphanage and includes the first time he ever played baseball with his friends and hit a homerun. Then it goes on to his early days with the Red Sox when he was a very young bu ...more
Feb 10, 2009 Leigh-ann rated it really liked it
I never had any particular interest in Babe Ruth, and thought of him as "just a baseball player". Reading this book gave me a whole new perspective and an incredible amount of respect for Ruth's accomplishments. He led a life of excess in all departments (alcohol, women, gambling), yet still delivered on the baseball diamond, year after year. Ruth was such a great all-round athlete that in 1933 he pitched a complete game for the Yankees (and won), almost two decades after he first entered the ma ...more
Jan 11, 2011 Rick rated it really liked it
I love these kids of biographies about the old sports heroes of long ago. the Big Bam----obviously about Babe Ruth----was very well-researched and written. the author did a great job of humanizing a guy who, over the years, has taken on an almost myth-like status. Ruth was a very good ball player---pitcher as well as the hitter he was most known for. He came from humble beginnings and worked his way to the top of his profession. On one hand he was always that kid who was plucked out of that scho ...more
Apr 27, 2009 Spiros rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a servicable biography of the Babe
Bill "Spaceman" Lee has always spoken well of Leigh Montville, but not having great access to the Boston press, my exposure to him has been limited to his Ted Williams biography, which I flat out could not get into. He does a better job here, but, except for using the word "fog" over and over again, adds nothing to Creamer's definitive work. It is engaging and well written. Maybe I'll give the Williams bio another go.
Chris Popp
Jun 05, 2017 Chris Popp rated it it was amazing
This book is fantastic for any baseball history fanatic, this book goes into depth about the life and the background of one of the greatest baseball players ever to step on the plate, Babe Ruth. The depth that Leigh goes into with the background and the stuff Babe did before and outside of baseball is fantastic. Leigh opened us to how Ruth was more then just the slugger he is normally known for, showing us the impact that Babe had on lives outside of baseball. Great for people who enjoy history ...more
Doug Mitchell
Rediscovering Babe Ruth
“The Big Bam – The Life and Times of Babe Ruth”
by Leigh Montville
Doubleday, 2006

I was given “The Big Bam” as a gift last fall by a great friend who knows of my passion for baseball. I decided then that the right time to read the book would be at the start of the 2007 baseball season as Barry Bonds began his march toward becoming the all-time homerun leader.

Having read and been disappointed by a number of other sports biographies, I must admit that I didn’t hold out much pr
Joe Scott
Mar 03, 2017 Joe Scott rated it it was amazing
Excellent! A fascinating read!
Jul 03, 2008 Peter rated it really liked it
Riveting. If Ruth wasn't bigger than life, he certainly was bigger than baseball. It's strange, because he was a regular guy, loaded with vices and LOUD about them. The writer's back then didn't look to destroy him as they would today. Rather they wrote their stories with the sordid details missing, and the readers were left to fill in the blanks. The readers did so, and the Babe's life became a tapestry of myth, legend, and fact.

And by the way, for all the Tiger Woods, Micheal Jordan, and other
Jul 11, 2014 J.S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
He was a hero to millions and known by an assortment of names: The Sultan of Swat, The Colossus of Clout, The Great Bambino, and on and on and on. Fans called him The Babe, but his teammates called him The Bam. He is legendary for his ability to smash home runs, setting a record that stood until only recently (and many will argue that it still stands), and nearly every one was "the longest ball ever hit" in that park. Legend has it that near the end of his career he even had the arrogance to poi ...more
May 09, 2014 Jeff rated it really liked it
In the mid-1990’s while on an extended vacation to New York City one of the places I made the pilgrimage to was the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. The HOF is an amazing place to be sure but the stand out moment and the memory that has stuck with to this day was when I weaved my way through the museum to Babe Ruth’s display or should I say room.

I’m a confirmed Non-Yankee Fan but the instant I walked into the room with Ruth’s memorabilia my mouth fell open in awe and goose
Sep 06, 2013 Brian rated it liked it
Big Bam
366 Pages

Babe Ruth was a unknown person, with people not knowing about his life and even his existence... until he got to the high school. This was a big step in Babe "Big Bam" Ruth's life. He went from a mediocre St. Mary's baseball player to a starting Boston Red Sox Pitcher and then a Batter (Because of his talent and all-around skills).

Babe was such a great all-around baseball player that he threw a No-Hitter and hit 30 Home-runs in the same year! He was the Miguel Cabrera of his tim
carl  theaker
Apr 27, 2011 carl theaker rated it liked it
Shelves: sportz

In our elementary school classroom we had a collection of the
orange bound biographies, on presidents, inventors, explorers, patriots.
The only marking on the memorable covers was the name. Among the
several I read, one was labeled 'Babe Ruth'. The next year or so in
fourth grade, despite misgivings from the librarian, I checked out a
grownup bio on the Babe. Well, she was right it was too tough for me
to get through it.

My Mom & Dad had stories and opinions on the Babe, though they would
have onl
Andy Miller
Jun 29, 2014 Andy Miller rated it liked it
The author, Leigh Montville, starts this biography of Babe Ruth by describing at length the spate of biographies written about Babe Ruth in the mid seventies almost apologetically foreshadowing that his biography will not have anything new to add aside from at times a quirky narrative. One quirk that grew more irritating as the book went on was his repeated references to the "fog" that surrounds much of Ruth's life, anytime Montville discussed an interesting part of Ruth's life, he would end by ...more
Jul 11, 2015 Art rated it really liked it
What better way to begin a marathon July Fourth holiday read than to finish a book about the All-American slugger, Babe Ruth?

Clearly he may have been one of the best pitchers and hitters to ever play the game. He revolutionized the approach to hitting and home runs and changed the game forever.

Just as I was surprised to discover Ted Williams was Hispanic, I was surprised to find that in his time people thought Babe might be African American. Leigh Montville's fine book goes to great lengths to t
Janine Urban
Dec 08, 2014 Janine Urban rated it liked it
The Sultan of Swat, the Bambino, the Big Bam, the King of Crash, the Colossus of Clot. These names only scratch the surface of who Babe Ruth was. Most of the story of George Herman Ruth is in a fog according to the author. We will never know the full story of Babe Ruth and it will be forever lost in time. Perhaps, just the way the Babe wanted it.

From his upbringing in a boys home at a young age to his rise in the major league, it seems like he was always trying to fill a void. He is a glutton.
Tyler Jones
Sep 11, 2011 Tyler Jones rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball
Like many people my age who only follow baseball casually, my knowledge of the life and times of Babe Ruth is fuzzy. I knew he was a pitcher with the Red Sox before going to the Yankees. I had heard the story of the kid in the hospital that he promised to hit a home run for, as well as the story of him pointing to the bleachers with his bat just before smashing a homerun to that spot during the World Series - but I had no idea if either story was true. Of course I knew he was the dominate player ...more
Aug 05, 2007 Emily rated it liked it
Recommends it for: baseball fans
***Finished*** The book indeed picked up around page 170 (of 400+ pages). I can't figure out why it took so long to heat up - there wasn't a lot of information about Ruth's formative years, so maybe that's it. Or, perhaps I just liked reading about the glory years of Ruth alongside Gehrig and hearing about what baseball was like in the Great Depression. The most frustrating part of this biography was the lack of, well, biographical info. Ruth rarely talked about his past, his family life, etc. R ...more
Leah (packfan20)
Though I'm a big baseball fan, I don't know too much about Babe Ruth. I had no idea he started as a pitcher! The man was quite the ball player!

That being said, he really wasn't that nice of a guy. I wonder why authors want to write books and books and books about people just because they are famous. There really wasn't much to like about Babe Ruth. I haven't read anything else about him but this book was filled with holes in his life. The author more often than not said "this area of his life is
Jan 05, 2015 Mike rated it it was ok
I did not enjoy this book at all because of the pace and the style that the author chose to write this book in. The main reason why I didn't enjoy reading this book at all is because of how the author wrote the book. At times she would state a fact or an event, but then in the next sentence she will say, "or maybe this happened. Nobody actually knows." And it would just throw everything off because I questioned if the author actually knew anything about Babe Ruth besides his baseball career. Hon ...more
Dec 02, 2008 Justin rated it really liked it
The thing I take from a book like this is while Babe Ruth may have been a little over the top during his playing days, he is a sympathetic figure in a lot of ways. He was a boy without a family, raised in a school for "wayward boys", and then thrust into the spotlight as the nation's greatest baseball player. For all the money he made as a player, the revenues he generated was much greater than that. All he wanted to do was show that he could manage in the majors, and like much of his career, he ...more
Sep 24, 2009 james rated it it was amazing
This is a superior book about one of the most famous sports figures of the last 100 years in America: Babe Ruth. The author tries to dispel the fog surrounding many details of the Babe's life, especially his early years. Also, there is a great deal about the media developing in the 1st half of the 20th Century from simple reports of each game, to the practice of reporters travelling with teams, to players submitting ghost-written articles, to the beginning of radio, and finally the televising of ...more
Mar 19, 2015 Rick rated it it was ok
Shelves: baseball, biography
Babe Ruth was renowned for his home run blasts, sadly this bio only rates as a weak single at best. Montville follows the same formula here that he did for his biography of Ted Williams. Where as Wiliams was a great ballplayer with no real success off the field, Ruth set the tone for the roaring 20's. While many of the Ruth stories are myth, Montville spends very little time telling us what was real and what wasn't. His fameous feuds are hardly mentioned, saved for the one with Lou Gerhig and th ...more
Bruce Thomas
Nov 12, 2016 Bruce Thomas rated it really liked it
Great biography of The Babe. Montville makes it clear what is fact and what is embellishment and still paints solid picture of this oversized character. Learned of his trip to Japan and Europe where he hated France and loved Great Britain. Good details on his career including how great a pitcher he was and his great fielding abilities until he aged. Didn't know that Ruth was one of the first persons to ever receive chemotherapy for cancer. Also that his number "3" was used only after several yea ...more
Sep 17, 2012 Patrick rated it really liked it
Baseball's most Legendary Athlete explodes from the pages...A Biography that captures the Complete Story...from Ruth's Hard Scrabble days as an orphan thru his meteoric rise as perhaps the most iconic Figure in the Game of Baseball....Truth eclipses Fiction as the story comes alive thru a thorough exploration of the Man, Myth, and Legend...The headlines everyone has come to be familair with...PLUS a behind the scenes exploration into his Vices; and those hidden commentaries regarding the REAL re ...more
Paul Miller
Babe Ruth represents a huge inflection point in baseball history. From the scrappy, 'small ball' / dead-ball era of Ty Cobb... to HOME RUNS and big business. I really can't think of any other sports figure SO much better than his peers - he hit more home runs most years than most of the other entire teams. A unique talent.

However, as a person, I didn't find him all that interesting.... compared to Ty Cobb! Also, the writer is simply rehashing / repackaging prior work. So certainly worth a look
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Leigh Montville is a highly respected sportswriter, columnist and author. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut.Montville is married to Diane Foster and has two children. He lives in Massachusetts and is an ardent supporter of the Boston Red Sox.
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