Babe Ruth's whores, Pete Rose's pills, and other stuff you never read about your favorite players when you were…

The stadium scene.
April 5 2010 7:06 AM

Let's Read Two

Babe Ruth's whores, Pete Rose's pills, and other stuff you never read about your favorite players when you were a kid.

Click here to launch slideshow :Let's Read Two".

Beneath the Opening Day cheers can be heard the usual grumbling: The players are overpaid boors, or whoring alcoholics, or drug-enabled frauds, or simply immature Peter Pans. Cue up the obligatory Paul Simon quote: "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?" On second thought, you probably don't want to go there. (Joltin' Joe himself was so prickly that when he heard "Mrs. Robinson," he wanted to sue.) To illustrate this disconnect between the eternal yearning for pure baseball heroes and a reality in which the phrase professional athlete may be as disqualifying on a job application as felony conviction, we again headed for the local library. There we performed a side-by-side comparison between biographies written for children about the legends of baseball vs. biographies written for adults. The difference is as plain as softball and hardball.

Click here to launch a slide show featuring children's books about baseball players.

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Robert Leighton, a New Yorker cartoonist and puzzle-writer, most recently co-authoredThe New Yorker Book of Cartoon Puzzles and Games.

Cate Plys is a former columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune

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