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(Washington, D.C., Feb. 27, 2019)—Sports writer and award-winning New York Times bestselling author Jane Leavy talks about the subjects of her three biographies, baseball legends Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Sandy Koufax on the latest B’nai B’rith International podcast.
Her new book, “The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created,” explores, among other topics, the early years of the baseball legend’s life, uncovering never-revealed aspects of his childhood. The book also provides fresh information on Ruth’s relationship with his agent Christy Walsh, who in many ways defined and created the modern publicity and marketing machine. Leavy also chronicles one of Ruth’s last public appearances, at a B’nai B’rith/Knights of Columbus event just weeks before he died.
Podcast host and B’nai B’rith CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin asked Leavy about her two earlier works: “The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood” and “Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy.” Leavy described these three books as “an inadvertent trilogy,” in the sense that Koufax “eschewed fame,” Mantle was destroyed by fame and Babe Ruth “invented fame.”
In discussing Koufax and his decision to sit out pitching a World Series game because it was Yom Kippur, Leavy noted that he knew there would be much attention paid to his choices regarding Judaism, and he let his actions speak for him. She said it took Koufax time to come to grips with how much it meant to other people that he did not play on Yom Kippur.
“The Big Fella” has been awarded the Seymour Medal, presented annually by the Society for American Baseball Research for the best baseball book of the year. The book has also been nominated for the National Book Critics Award in biography as well as the Pen-Faulkner award for literary sports writing.
To listen to the full podcast, click here.