Baseball, and particularly the long-ball itself, evolved via accident, necessity, and occasional subterfuge. During the dead-ball era, pitching ruled the game, and home run totals hovered in the single digits. Then, a ban on the spitball and the compression of stadium dimensions set the stage for new sluggers to emerge, culminating in Ruth's historic sixty-homer season in 1927. The players, owners, and fans became hooked on the homer, but our addiction took us to excess. As the home run became the ultimate goal for hitters, players went to new lengths to increase their power and ability to swing for the fences. By the time Barry Bonds set a new single-season record in 2001, Americans had to face the fact that their national pastime had become tainted from within.
All the Babe's Men features the game's special long ball seasons from Ruth to Bonds and divulges how baseball became king, America evolved into a home run society, and the contemporary game found itself trapped in a legal nightmare.