By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Frank Amoroso is a retired attorney in his 60’s and an MSBL veteran who now considers himself a full time writer and part time ball player while residing in Wilmington, North Carolina. Frank originally hails from Long Island and played in the Long Island MSBL from 1994 to 2007 for the Garden City Mets. Frank’s New York roots led him down the path of his love of one of the greatest figures in Major League Baseball history: George Herman Ruth.
Frank’s passion about the Babe culminates in a personal library full of reference books about the Babe’s life and heroics but Frank has always believed there was something missing and wanted to write a book about the missing pieces. Out of that came Frank’s most recent literary effort, “Wopper: How Babe Ruth Lost His Father and Won the 1918 World Series Against the Cubs (Volume 1: Pigtown)”
“I was originally inspired by the fact that his father died nine days before the 1918 World Series,” explained Amoroso. “Previous publications seemed to avoid addressing the emotional situation when somebody loses a father, especially when it was a tumultuous relationship. I thought it would be intriguing to expand on the relationship with his original father and then Brother Matthias, who entered his life at St. Mary’s and took over as Babe’s surrogate father. Brother Matthias was 300 pounds and a mountain of a man and someone young George looked up to.”
Babe Ruth is the most written about baseball figure in the history of baseball but the various pennings concentrate on the larger than life figure depicted in movies and accountings. But his beginnings in the world known as ‘Pigtown’ in Baltimore say much about Babe as a youth and how close he came to going the wrong direction into a much different life.
“When I started this book in 2015 I wanted to explore the relationship between his father, him and Brother Matthias. I learned that during WWI there was a very strong anti-German sentiment growing and the government interned some 20,000 German-Americans and aliens. I had to make it a part of the book. In the spring in 1918 there was a lynching of a German person in Chicago. Babe even left the team in June of 1918 and was going to play on a ship building team. Babe was pretty headstrong in the early days.”
It took Frank about a year and a half to finish the effort and the book was released on February 10th of this year. ‘Pigtown’ also includes 20 or so pictures of Babe as a young man at St. Mary’s, and some spring training shots when he was with the Red Sox. The popular image of him being a fat old man may be how most of the world remembers the Babe but for most of his career he was a 6’2” 190 pound lean man. “Babe was an exceptional athlete and played everywhere,” said Amoroso. “This was a pretty large man back then and he was a solid athlete.”
Pigtown refers to an area of Baltimore back then that was more than a little rowdy and provided plenty of distraction for Babe. In Frank’s research at the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore he found out all sorts of facts about Babe’s early life that are seldom conveyed in biographies or accountings. “I got the name of a local historian in Baltimore and called him up. He was very accommodating,” Amoroso told me. “I found out that Babe’s parents were divorced and nobody knew that. In the court papers the father explained his mother’s infidelity and went to the police and had her arrested and then filed for divorce. Babe also had a brother born in 1905 and the divorce was in 1906 and then his brother died in August of 1906. Babe was in and out of St. Mary’s at various times and wasn’t exactly a model student but Brother Matthias stayed on top of him.”
‘Pigtown’ is the first volume in a projected series of three about Babe that Frank has in store. “I plan on the second installment around Father’s Day and the third chapter near the World Series. There is so much more to tell.”
Frank has compiled his own baseball resume as a southpaw pitcher from St. John’s University and a current participant, though admittedly more limited the past couple of years, at MSBL tournaments in Vegas with the Tri-Valley Antiques and the MSBL World Series in Arizona with the NorCal Antiques.
Frank will be in Las Vegas this year at a speaking engagement promoting ‘Pigtown’ at the ‘Books or Books’ book sellers. The event will take place at 4:00 pm on Sunday, March 5th at 3460 E. Sunset Road in Las Vegas. The bookstore phone number is 702-522-7697. Those of you at week one of our MSBL Kickoff Classic might like to swing over and enjoy Frank’s anecdotes and baseball stories about the Bambino and pick up a copy.
“We have provided a link with the publisher when you purchase a book that will donate a portion of the proceeds directly to MSBL,” said Frank. “It’s our way of giving something back to my baseball roots and everyone who has helped me along the way.”
Below is the link to the publisher to order a book and donate a portion of the proceeds directly to MSBL. Please type in the code MSBL.