There is a book on my shelf about Babe Ruth. It is a biography written for children, and, indeed, I read it when I was a child. Beginning with the Babe’s unhappy boyhood in an orphanage, it tells how the first hopeful thing that happened in his life was when he picked up a baseball bat for the first time. He is a child phenom with a bat in his hands, gruff and tough even that young, tumbling through life trying to stay off the streets of Baltimore. Onward, it takes the reader through his baseball career, home run records, and (maybe fittingly for the age group it is written for) glosses over some of the relational messes that were left in his wake.
Truthfully, I have not picked up this book in at least 15 years. I’m trying to comb through my memories to see if I can remember when, and I don’t. I remember when I got the book, in fourth grade. I remember that moment vividly. And I remember reading it again. And again. And again. And again. I remember the images of him as a boy picking up a bat; I remember the images of him as a man preparing for a pitch on the mound. I remember so much of that book, somehow. I loved that book. Not least because Babe Ruth played for the Red Sox (and I loved the Red Sox), and it also connected me to the past. Read the rest of this entry »