Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Robert W. Creamer July 14, 1922 - July 18, 2012 Babe Ruth Biographer Had 'Confirming Intelligence'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Robert W. Creamer July 14, 1922 - July 18, 2012 Babe Ruth Biographer Had 'Confirming Intelligence'

Article excerpt

Robert W. Creamer, who as a boy saw Babe Ruth belt home runs and went on to become a self-described "troubadour" of sports, writing acclaimed biographies of Ruth and Casey Stengel and joining Sports Illustrated as one of its first writers, died July 18 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. He was 90.

The cause was prostate cancer, his son Tom said.

Mr. Creamer's book on Ruth, "Babe: The Legend Comes to Life" -- which came out in 1974, the year Hank Aaron broke Ruth's career home run record -- was infused with details, including Ruth's pre-game meal: three hot dogs. Roger Angell, writing in The New Yorker, said Ruth had "at last found the biographer he deserves in Robert Creamer," describing his writing as "swift and clear and stamped with a confirming intelligence."

In 1984, Mr. Creamer followed up with "Stengel: His Life and Times," a comprehensive look at the baseball legend who played for or managed all four major league teams from New York City. Mr. Creamer presented Stengel, who was often portrayed as an idiot savant, as a nuanced personality of wit and intelligence. But he did not neglect the "Old Perfessor's" knack for squeezing new possibilities out of the English language in a personalized dialect called Stengelese. One gem Mr. Creamer chose: "There comes a time in every man's life at least once, and I've had plenty of them."

Mr. Creamer also contributed to films and television shows about baseball, notably "Baseball," the multipart 1994 Ken Burns series, in which Mr. Creamer joined George Plimpton, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, Studs Terkel and others as an on-camera commentator.

Robert Watts Creamer was born on July 14, 1922, in Bronxville, N.Y., and raised in Tuckahoe, N.Y., where he lived until 2004.

He grew up playing with scuffed, battered baseballs in open fields and empty lots. His mother turned on the living room radio before he came home from school so he could listen to games, because it took a while for the set to warm up, he said in the Burns documentary.

He was almost 10 when he first visited Yankee Stadium, and in those days, he wrote in The New York Times, you could explore it like a cathedral when services were not being held. …

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