The Babe Ruth Deception

Written by David O. Stewart
Review by G. J. Berger

In 1920, young Babe Ruth is on a tear for his new team, the New York Yankees. Ruth’s private life of fast cars, heavy drinking and eating, and womanizing also seems to run at a record pace. But all is not as it seems on the surface. Crooked, even murderous, gamblers and bootleggers seek out opportunities. The 1918 World Series Black Sox scandal hangs over baseball. Rumors persist that the 1919 Series, in which Ruth was the star pitcher for Boston, was also fixed. A tough new baseball commissioner is on the hunt. Ruth is a suspect. Apart from that, Ruth has his own deeply personal problem he can’t shake but must keep hidden.

Ruth asks Speed Cook to help cleanse the stains from his past. Cook, a promoter of Negro baseball and former player drummed out of the white-only major leagues, has connections and knows his way around the underbelly of baseball. Cook in turn enlists the aid of Dr. James Fraser, whose wife co-produced a silent film starring Ruth.

Against this background the story turns to Cook’s son, Joshua, and the Frasers’ daughter, Violet. Through their growing romance, Stewart explores the harsh race relations of the time and the barriers thrown up against African Americans, even war heroes and great baseball players. Stewart deftly interweaves the Babe Ruth saga with Joshua’s and Violet’s harrowing and page-turning journey. Baseball fans as well as readers looking for a Prohibition-era adventure will enjoy The Babe Ruth Deception.