“Gehrig and the Babe” by Tony Castro

The author take us on a wild ride through the baseball seasons that saw Babe Ruth, the most sought after baseball player possibly that ever played and Lou Gehrig the shy, unassuming and totally opposite personality that Ruth.

We get a clear understanding of how Babe Ruth grew up without a mother for most of his life and his placement in a Prep School. This, in turn, caused him to go to the streets to live and learn. From stealing fruit from the vendors, to cleaning the bottom of whiskey glasses at his dads tavern and his persistence in avoiding school, we get the goods on how it shaped his life decisions.

Then as Gehrig move through life and attends Columbia university with loving parents and a secure knowledge, we get a sense of how different his life experiences were before he gets to become a major league player.

Because of the difference in their situations it drives a wedge between the two players. They are friends on the baseball field but there are issues off the field. Lou Gehrig can’t stand the things that Ruth does at night like binge drinking, partying and have sex with as many girls he can in one night.

Much of the problems Gehrig has can be traced to his mother. She follows him to Spring Training and games.She cooks for him and makes decisions for him. In fact, he lives at her home until he is 32 years old. There are times they show some friendship as Ruth likes Lou’s mom because he never had one to spend time getting to know.

The fragile friendship goes sour after Lou’s mom makes some disparaging remarks about how Babe’s wife is treating one of the daughters. Things get ugly as words fly and teammates separated them in the clubhouse.

Years go by as Lou and Babe don’t speak to each other until ALS strikes Lou Gehrig. The Yankees set a night to honor Lou during his fight to live and Ruth attends the affair against the advice of his wife. Babe cries and begins to attempt to open up a dialogue with Lou.

This book is published by Triumph Books (the leader in sports publishing) and is a good read about the inner workings of the relationship between Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. The one issue with the book is the author has the tendency to tell you some of the same stories two or three times within the book.

Baseball fans need to read this book!