"Who is this Baby Ruth, and what does she do?" With this simple question, George Bernard Shaw drew the ire of Americans everywhere in the 1920s. A baseball legend and an American icon, Babe Ruth single-handedly changed the way baseball was played and rescued the game from the dark days that followed the Black Sox Scandal of 1919.
This American Studies project studies how and why Babe Ruth became a hero. Though Ruth's deeds on the field were great, he needed the help of sportswriters and advertisers to spread his legend across the land. Baseball needed a hero following the 1919 season, and Ruth delivered. In turn, the Americans in the 1920s were more than happy to welcome an uncompromising, showboating hero like Ruth. He was a reflection of the affluence and overconsumption of that decadent decade. Ruth became an American legend because he was doing the right things at the right time.
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