"Some believe that the ghost of Babe Ruth -- the most famous baseball player who ever lived -- is still watching over the game today. What would you say?"
It all started on January 5, 1920, a fateful day in baseball history, when the Boston Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for a mere pile of cash. That's when, some say, the Red Sox's reversal of fortune began. Before Ruth was traded, the Red Sox had been the best team in baseball, winning five of fifteen World Series. Since then, the Yankees have had twenty-six World Series to their credit. The Red Sox have come painstakingly close over those decades, but not close enough. Could it be that Babe Ruth took revenge on the team that traded him so long ago -- making the Red Sox wait a torturous eighty-six years before they would win another World Series?
Baseball legend? Fate? Coincidence? Here's the story of the Curse of the Bambino -- the greatest baseball legend ever told.
Framing his plaint as a Dad answering his daughter's question one opening day at Fenway Park, a sportswriter for the Boston Globe recaps Babe Ruth's early career as a Red Sox star and his infamous sale to the Yankees. Then he goes on to tally the succession of heartbreaking, last-minute bobbles and defeats that denied the Sox a World Series win for the next eight and a half decades. Recalling the art for his edition of Ernest L. Thayer's Casey at the Bat (2003), Payne presents a series of on-field scenes featuring many recognizable players in old-style uniforms. Over them looms The Babe, sometimes taller than Fenway's Green Monster, invisibly holding Johnny Pesky back from throwing home in the '46 Series, blowing Bucky Dent's homer over the wall in that '78 playoff game, and giving Mookie Wilson's grounder a nudge to send it trickling between Bill Buckner's legs. Curse or just coincidence? Shaughnessy declines to come down on one side or the other, and the Red Sox's win in 2004, commemorated by a spread that drops the perfunctory plotline and bears other signs of hasty construction, makes it all moot anyway. Or so Sox fans would like to think. (afterword, brief bibliography) (Picture book. 7-9) (Kirkus Reviews)
Audience: Primary / High School
For Ages: 5 - 8 years old
For Grades: 4 - 6
Number Of Pages: 32
Published: 1st February 2005
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 27.9 x 21.6 x 1.0
Weight (kg): 0.4
Edition Number: 1