Book Review: What if the Babe had kept his Red Sox?


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Bill Gutman has penned an interesting and thought provoking series of “What if?” questions related to all of the major sports in his new book: What if the Babe had kept his Red Sox? (And other Fascinating Alternate Histories from the World of Sports)

(Skyhorse Publishing– Paperback 2008).


 Gutman includes all major sports and is sure to satisfy the Sports Historian in your family. He includes such eclectic and intriguing topics such  as “What if Sonny Liston had knocked off Muhammad Ali (not as far-fetched as you would think given Liston’s punching ability) and What if Vince Lombardi had  left Green Bay after two seasons to take the vacant New York Giants job- also  within the line of logic and reason since St. Vincent had long roots to the east coast and specifically to the Giants and their owners . Don’t worry basketball golf and even hockey fans (and you two guys know who you are.) Gutman has something for you as well!


Since the Baseball Zealot is where we’re at, I want to hone in on some of the book’s baseball questions and possibilities. Gutman has plenty of these conundrums to satisfy all baseball fans. Do baseball fans discuss their sport’s history more than fans of any other sport? I think so.


Gutman discusses what the ramifications would be for the Yankees and the Red Sox if Babe Ruth stayed with the Red Sox,.hence the title of the book. (Coming from Chicago I refrain from using just “Sox” to describe New England’s version of hose since I reserve that for Chicago’s team but I digress.)  The author thoughtfully and informatively includes nuggets like not only did Boston’s owner Frazee sell the prized “Babe” to the Yankees he also gave them such players like Herb Pennock (Hall of famer), Carl Mays and others.


Continuing on to other plausible national pastime scenarios, Gutman discusses what the potential impact would have been if the Phillies would have signed Negro league Hall of Famers Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson (The so-called Black Babe Ruth) to major league  contracts back in 1936!


I’ll let the reader discover the many other nuggets included in this book but a couple of other “What if’s” to further whet the appetite are what it would be like if Sandy Koufax and Dizzy Dean and even football great Gale Sayers did not have their careers cut short by injuries.


How about what if John Smoltz never made it to the Braves from the Tigers. (Who remembers that deal?)


All in all Gutman has put together an enjoyable read for the serious sports fan or dare I say the Sports historian. He ha buttressed his arguments with nice accompanying background information and stats and has made plausible summarie son what might have occurred and why. I was skeptical at first at the book’s premise of What If’s but was pleasantly surprised after I dug into the text. A nice nugget to put on anyone’s Christmas list. (At least those of us sports/baseball nuts who frequent the Zealot). 

You can find this book on Amazon or at Skyhorse Publishing


Three bats.


 bat    bat    bat 


One Response to “Book Review: What if the Babe had kept his Red Sox?”

  1. Great job on the book report CLuke!!! Not enough to give it away, just enough to whet the appetite.

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