Larry Ruttman

Lawrence A. "Larry" Ruttman (born February 8, 1931) is an American attorney and author. He is best known for his two books of biographical cultural history,[1] Voices of Brookline and American Jews and America's Game, and for his memoir, My Eighty-Two Year Love Affair with Fenway Park: From Teddy Ballgame to Mookie Betts.

Larry Ruttman
Ruttman in his Brookline, Massachusetts office in 2012
Ruttman in his Brookline, Massachusetts office in 2012
BornFebruary 8, 1931 (age 88)
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Occupationattorney and author
Alma materUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst, Boston College Law School
Notable worksVoices of Brookline (2005)
American Jews and America's Game (2013)
My Eighty-Two Year Love Affair with Fenway Park (2018)


Larry Ruttman was born in Boston, Massachusetts to Doris Grandberg Ruttman and Morris "Moe" Ruttman and moved to Brookline, Massachusetts at the age of two. He graduated from Brookline High School, received a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and earned a J.D. from Boston College Law School in 1958.[2][3] From 1952 to 1954, he served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, and was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant. He married Lois Raverby on November 3, 1963.

Larry Ruttman has practiced law in Brookline since 1960.[4] He was an Assistant Attorney General in the civil rights section of the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General from 1960 to 1962. He is a fellow of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, the charitable partner of the Massachusetts Bar Association, and served on the Board of Governors of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys (MATA) in the 1980s. He was an elected Brookline Town Meeting member from 1958 to 1968, an elected Democratic Town Committee member from 1960 to 1976, and an appointed member of the Brookline Cable Trust from 1984 to 1986.

Writing career

Ruttman's career as a published writer began at age 67, when he accompanied a friend from a Plymouth, Massachusetts rowing club to the World Pilot Gig Championships on the Isles of Scilly in the United Kingdom. His article about the event, "Row Hard No Excuses," was published as the cover story of the boating magazine Messing About in Boats.[5] The next year, his article about the team's trip to the Dutch Open Gig Championships again made the magazine's cover.[6]

Oral History of American Music

In the early 2000s, Ruttman was chosen as an interviewer by founder and then-director Vivian Perlis of Yale University's Oral History of American Music, which has preserved "audio and visual memoirs in the voices of the major musical figures of our time"[7] since the 1960s. In that capacity, Ruttman interviewed the American microtonalist composer Ezra Sims as well as Guggenheim and MacArthur-winning composer and pianist Ran Blake.[8]

Voices of Brookline

Two subsequent experiences led to Ruttman's first book, Voices of Brookline. From 2000 to 2004, he hosted "From Community to Cyberspace," a local history program on Brookline Access Television, on which he interviewed Brookline residents about their memories of and perspectives on the town. Michael Dukakis, former governor of Massachusetts and 1988 presidential candidate; Mike Wallace; and Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor Harry Ellis Dickson were among Ruttman's guests. From 2001 to 2003, Ruttman also wrote a column, "Brookline Then and Now," for the Brookline Tab newspaper, based on interviews conducted for the program. "I was beginning to believe that I could fashion an interesting history of Brookline by telling stories about Brookline's plethora of fascinating people from all walks of life, whom I was now interviewing on a regular schedule," Ruttman wrote.[2] The television and print interviews became the basis for the book.[9]

Ruttman self-published Voices of Brookline through Peter E. Randall Publisher LLC in 2005; Michael Dukakis wrote the foreword. The book features Ruttman's biographies of 75 Brookline citizens. In addition to Dukakis, Wallace, and Dickson, the book's subjects include journalist Ellen Goodman; architecture critic and author Jane Holtz Kay; Nobel Prize-winning physicist Wolfgang Ketterle; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft; composer Osvaldo Golijov; pianist and composer Ran Blake; many ordinary citizens involved in town government, education, preservation, and other pursuits; and two notable sports venues, the Longwood Cricket Club (site of the first Davis Cup) and The Country Club (which hosted the 1999 Ryder Cup). Boston University professor Howard Zinn wrote of Voices of Brookline, "[This] book is a model of how an oral history of a town ought to be written."[10]

American Jews and America's Game

Ruttman drew on his lifelong love of baseball for his next book, American Jews and America's Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball, published in 2013 by the University of Nebraska Press.[11] "Growing up in Brookline in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Larry Ruttman used to play stickball behind the Devotion School. Now, at 82 years old, Ruttman is making the jump to the major leagues," wrote The Boston Globe.[12] American Jews and America's Game includes short biographies of more than 40 Jewish men and women in baseball, including players (from Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax, and Thelma 'Tiby' Eisen of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League to Kevin Youkilis and Ian Kinsler), league officials and team owners (Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, who also wrote the book's foreword; Theo Epstein, the youngest general manager in baseball history), to journalists and fans (Pulitzer-prize nominated reporter Alan Schwarz, Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, former U.S. representative Barney Frank). Ruttman began the book in Israel in 2007 while interviewing managers of the new Israel Baseball League, including former Major League players Ken Holtzman, Ron Blomberg, Art Shamsky, and Steve Hertz, as well as former Yankees public relations director and author Marty Appel.[13] He traveled across the U.S. to interview subjects for the book over the next four years.[14] The book's subjects share their stories of growing up Jewish and succeeding in America; discuss hot-button issues such as intermarriage, assimilation, future viability, Jewish identity, religious observance, anti-Semitism, and Israel; and bring to life the role of Jewish men and women in America's pastime and America.

Daniel Kurtzer, former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and Israel and the first Commissioner of the Israel Baseball League, wrote that "American Jews and America's Game is a highly accessible book about the game America's Jews love to love. The author allows his subjects great latitude to comment on their Jewishness and their association with the game. The interviewees range from baseball's best to ordinary fans, united around their faith and favorite sport. This is an enjoyable read."[15] American Jews and America's Game has been reviewed by Bloomberg Business Week,[16] Kirkus Reviews,[17] and many other baseball, Jewish, and general interest publications, and Ruttman has spoken about the book at venues ranging from the 92nd Street Y with Harvard Law School professor and book subject Alan Dershowitz and film critic Jeffrey Lyons,[18] to the Great Fenway Park Writers' Series with Dr. Charles Steinberg, Executive Vice President & Senior Advisor to the President / CEO of the Boston Red Sox,[19] to Temple Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue in New York City, where Ruttman moderated a panel of Alan Dershowitz, Ira Berkow, Donald Fehr, and Art Shamsky, all biographees from the book.[20]

American Jews and America's Game was selected for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Talking Book Program.[21]

Jews on First

Playwrights Larry Jay Tish and Lee Goodwin and composer Erin Murray Quinlan wrote Jews on First, a musical adapted from American Jews and America's Game[22]. The world premiere took place at the American Jewish Historical Society in New York City on April 11, 2016.[23][24] As of March 2017, the play had also been staged at the New Surry Theatre in Blue Hill, Maine; Hebrew SeniorLife in Roslindale, Massachusetts; and NewBridge on the Charles in Dedham, Massachusetts.[25]

My Eighty-Two Year Love Affair with Fenway Park: From Teddy Ballgame to Mookie Betts

In May 2018, Ruttman published a memoir of his years as a fan of the Boston Red Sox, My Eighty-Two Year Love Affair with Fenway Park: From Teddy Ballgame to Mookie Betts.[26] Longtime sportswriter and Red Sox team historian Gordon Edes described it as "an unmatched, and highly personal, view of what it meant to have a front-row seat on Fenway Park history."[27] The Boston Globe published an excerpt from the memoir on December 24, 2018.[28]

Approach to historical writing

Although Ruttman's work is often referred to as "oral history," Ruttman uses the term "biographical cultural history." "Oral history is generally presented dryly as only the verbatim answers of the interviewee to an invisible interviewer," he wrote in a July 2015 blog post. "Or, if visible, the interviewer is represented only by his question. In my books, I seek to transform the interview into a short biography related as a lively conversation between the subject and me. Thus, I'm not only visible, but shifting here and there, as required by the arc of the short biography I am writing, to the third person to interject comments or information to fill in the gaps, and thus project the interview not only as a lively conversation, but as the story, in essence, of a person's life."[1]

Contributions to scholarly archives

In 2015, Ruttman donated interview recordings, interview transcripts, and illustrations from American Jews and America's Game to seven libraries and archives, including the Library of Congress and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.[29]

In February 2017, the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the American Jewish Historical Society, whose New England branch is now part of NEHGS, announced that they had acquired Ruttman's papers related to Voices of Brookline and American Jews and America's Game, with plans to collate, index, digitize, and archive them and publish them online.[30] A finding aid for the collection was published in 2018.[31]


Voices of Brookline was a finalist for the 2005 American Association for State and Local History Award of Merit.

On June 14, 2013, Ruttman was elected as a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society,[32] which was founded in 1791.

American Jews and America's Game was named the #1 Baseball Book of 2013 by Sports Collectors Digest.[33] It was also a finalist in the Sports category for the 2013 Foreword Reviews INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award.[34]


  1. ^ a b Ruttman, Larry (July 28, 2015). "The Genre of Biographical Cultural History". Larry Ruttman: Author/Attorney. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b Ruttman, Larry (2005). Voices of Brookline, page v. (Peter E. Randall Publisher LLC, 2005). ISBN 1-931807-39-6
  3. ^ "Boston College Law Alumni Bookshelf". Spring 2006. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Brookline's history, one conversation at a time". Brookline Tab. 30 November 2005.
  5. ^ Ruttman, Larry (1999) "Row Hard No Excuses." Messing About in Boats, volume 16, issue 19, page 8.
  6. ^ Ruttman, Larry (2000). "Row Hard, No Excuses II." Messing About in Boats, volume 17, issue 20, page 8.
  7. ^ "OHAM: About Us". Yale University Library Oral History of American Music. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  8. ^ "OHAM: Ran Blake Table of Contents". Yale University Library Oral History of American Music. October 10, 2011. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  9. ^ Silvio, Ann (2005). Local TV host prints chats for posterity, The Boston Globe
  10. ^ Voices of Brookline website, retrieved September 7, 2013
  11. ^ American Jews and America's Game, University of Nebraska Press website
  12. ^ Parker, Brock (2013). Brookline lawyer writes book about Jews and baseball The Boston Globe
  13. ^ Ruttman, Larry (2013). American Jews and America's Game. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press. p. xxii. ISBN 978-0-8032-6475-5.
  14. ^ Parker, Brock (2010). Baseball’s Jewish voices, The Boston Globe
  15. ^ Kurtzer, Daniel (2013). Praise for American Jews and America's Game
  16. ^ Shribman, David (2013). Jews Take the Field; Baseball Stumpers Test Fans: Sports Books, Bloomberg Business Week
  17. ^ Kirkus Reviews (2013), American Jews and America's Game
  18. ^ Shanahan, Mark, and Meredith Goldstein (2013), Dershowitz and Friends Talk Sox in New York, The Names Blog, Boston Globe
  19. ^ The Great Fenway Park Writers Series event page, September 18, 2013.
  20. ^ Baseball Fans Hit It Out Of The Shul, the Temple Emanu-El Skirball Center, October 27, 2014
  21. ^ National Library Service catalog
  22. ^ "Book on Jews and baseball #1, being adapted into a play". Brookline TAB. Brookline, Massachusetts. September 3, 2015. pp. A6. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  23. ^ "Jews on First (aka The Right Pitch)". American Jewish Historical Society. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  24. ^ "Unlikely teammates in a musical about Jewish ballplayers". Boston Globe. Boston, Massachusetts. April 11, 2016. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  25. ^ "News". American Jews and America's Game official website. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  26. ^ "My Eighty-Two Year Love Affair with Fenway Park: From Teddy Ballgame to Mookie Betts". American Jews and America's Game official website. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  27. ^ "A front-row seat on Sox history, from Ted to Mookie and everyone in between". Medium. June 7, 2018. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  28. ^ Ruttman, Larry (24 December 2018). "It's no surprise here to see the rise of Mookie Betts". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  29. ^ ABNER Library Catalog
  30. ^ "NEHGS collects Brookline resident's papers". Wicked Local Newton. Newton, Massachusetts. February 28, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  31. ^ "Guide to the Larry Ruttman Papers, undated, 1997-2015". Center for Jewish History. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  32. ^ "This Month at the MHS". Massachusetts Historical Society website. Retrieved 4 January 2014. Larry Ruttman, Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society
  33. ^ Schlossberg, Dan (31 December 2013). "Save Some Shelf Space: Best Baseball Books of 2013". Sports Collectors Digest. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  34. ^ "Foreword Reviews' 2013 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award Finalists: Sports (Adult Nonfiction)". Foreword Reviews. Retrieved 18 July 2015.

External links

Boston College Law School

Boston College Law School (BC Law) is one of the six professional graduate schools at Boston College. Located approximately 1.5 miles from the main Boston College campus in Chestnut Hill, Boston College Law School is situated on a 40-acre (160,000 m2) wooded campus in Newton, Massachusetts.

With approximately 800 students and 125 faculty members, the Law School is one of the largest of BC's seven graduate and professional schools. Admission to BC Law is highly selective. In 2015, Above the Law ranked BC Law as the #16 law school in the country based on a ranking that focuses on job placement at top firms and costs of attendance. Reflecting its Jesuit heritage, BC Law has established programs in human rights, social justice and public interest law. Its faculty played a part in arguing for the repeal of the Solomon Amendment, presenting oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court in Rumsfeld v. FAIR.

According to BC Law's 2015 ABA-required disclosures, 85.4% of the Class of 2015 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.

Brookline, Massachusetts

Brookline is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, in the United States, and is a part of Greater Boston. Brookline borders six of Boston's neighborhoods: Brighton, Allston, Fenway–Kenmore, Mission Hill, Jamaica Plain, and West Roxbury. The city of Newton lies to the west of Brookline.

At the 2010 census, the population of the town was 58,732. It is the most populous municipality in Massachusetts to have a town (rather than city) form of government.

Brookline was first settled in 1638 as a hamlet in Boston, but was incorporated as a separate town in 1705.

Brookline was the birthplace and hometown of John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States.

Brookline High School

Brookline High School is a four-year public high school in the town of Brookline, Massachusetts.

Brookline High School has received the Gold Medal for Best High Schools from U.S. News & World Report. In addition, Boston Magazine has frequently ranked BHS as one of the best high schools in Massachusetts for academic performance; in 2008, it was ranked top in the state.As of the 2011–12 school year, 1,804 students were enrolled in the high school, served by 150 teachers (on an FTE basis), the student to teacher ratio was approximately 11.6 to 1, and students represented 76 nations and spoke 31 different languages.

All students at Brookline High School must complete three credits' worth of electives, with the intent of fostering student creativity. A newly opened film program, facilitated through Brookline Access Television (BATV), enables students to produce their own films with state-of-the-art technology.

Bud Selig

Allan Huber "Bud" Selig (; born July 30, 1934) is an American baseball executive who currently serves as the Commissioner Emeritus of Baseball. Previously, he served as the ninth Commissioner of Baseball. He initially served as the acting commissioner beginning in 1992 before being named the official commissioner in 1998. Selig oversaw baseball through the 1994 strike, the introduction of the wild card, interleague play, and the merging of the National and American Leagues under the Office of the Commissioner. He was instrumental in organizing the World Baseball Classic in 2006. Selig also introduced revenue sharing. He is credited for the financial turnaround of baseball during his tenure with a 400 percent increase in the revenue of MLB and annual record breaking attendance.During Selig's term of service, the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs became a public issue. The Mitchell Report, commissioned by Selig, concluded that the MLB commissioners, club officials, the Players Association, and the players all share "to some extent in the responsibility for the steroid era." Following the release of the Mitchell Report, Congressman Cliff Stearns called publicly for Selig to step down as commissioner, citing his "glacial response" to the "growing stain on baseball." Selig has pledged on numerous occasions to rid baseball of performance-enhancing drugs, and has overseen and instituted many rule changes and penalties to that end.A Milwaukee native, Selig was previously the owner and team president of the Milwaukee Brewers. The franchise, originally known as the Seattle Pilots, was acquired by Selig in bankruptcy court in 1970, and renamed after the minor league team of the same name that he had watched in his youth and had existed until the arrival of the Braves in Milwaukee in 1953. Selig was credited with keeping baseball in Milwaukee. The Brewers went to the 1982 World Series (but were defeated in seven games by the St. Louis Cardinals, an event that Selig laments to this very day), and won seven Organization of the Year awards during his tenure. Selig remains a resident of Milwaukee.

On January 17, 2008, Selig's contract was extended through 2012, after which he planned to retire, but he then decided to stay as commissioner until the end of the 2014 season, a move approved by the owners on January 12, 2012, which would take his leadership past his 80th birthday. Selig made $14.5 million in the 12-month period ending October 31, 2005. Selig announced on September 26, 2013, that he would retire in January 2015. On January 22, 2015, MLB announced that Selig would formally step down from the office when his current term expired on January 24, 2015. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017.

Erin Murray Quinlan

Erin Murray Quinlan is an American writer and composer for theatre, most notably God Save Queen Pam which debutedOff-Broadway at the Players Theatre in 2018 and was published by Roger Bean and Steele Spring Stage Rights in 2019.

Hank Greenberg

Henry Benjamin Greenberg (born Hyman Greenberg; January 1, 1911 – September 4, 1986), nicknamed "Hammerin' Hank", "Hankus Pankus", or "The Hebrew Hammer", was an American professional baseball player and team executive. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB), primarily for the Detroit Tigers as a first baseman in the 1930s and 1940s. A member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and a two-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award winner, he was one of the premier power hitters of his generation and is widely considered as one of the greatest sluggers in baseball history. He had 47 months of military service including service in World War II, all of which took place during his major league career.Greenberg played the first twelve of his thirteen major league seasons for Detroit. He was an American League (AL) All-Star for four seasons and an AL MVP in 1935 (first baseman) and 1940 (left fielder). He had a batting average over .300 in eight seasons, and won two World Series championships with the Tigers (1935 and 1945). He was the AL home run leader four times and his 58 home runs for the Tigers in 1938 equaled Jimmie Foxx's 1932 mark for the most in one season by anyone but Babe Ruth, and tied Foxx for the most home runs between Ruth's record 60 in 1927 and Roger Maris' record 61 in 1961. Greenberg was the first major league player to hit 25 or more home runs in a season in each league, and remains the AL record-holder for most runs batted in in a single season by a right-handed batter (183 in 1937, a 154-game schedule). In 1947, Greenberg signed a contract for a record $85,000 salary before being sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he played his final MLB season that year. After retiring from playing, Greenberg continued to work in baseball as a team executive for the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.

Greenberg was the first Jewish superstar in American team sports. He attracted national attention in 1934 when he refused to play on Yom Kippur, the holiest holiday in Judaism, even though he was not particularly observant religiously and the Tigers were in the middle of a pennant race. He was one of the few opposing players to publicly welcome African-American player Jackie Robinson to the major leagues in 1947.

List of Jews in sports

This list of Jewish athletes in sports contains athletes who are Jewish and have attained outstanding achievements in sports. The criteria for inclusion in this list are:

1–3 places winners at major international tournaments;

for team sports, winning in preliminary competitions of finals at major international tournaments, or playing for several seasons for clubs of major national leagues; or

holders of past and current world records.Boldface denotes a current competitor.

The topic of Jewish participation in sports is discussed extensively in academic and popular literature. Scholars believe that sports have been a historical avenue for Jewish people to overcome obstacles toward their participation in secular society (especially before the mid-20th century in Europe and the United States).

List of University of Massachusetts Amherst alumni

The University of Massachusetts Amherst alumni number is around 243,628 worldwide.

Massachusetts Historical Society

The Massachusetts Historical Society is a major historical archive specializing in early American, Massachusetts, and New England history. It is located at 1154 Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts and is the oldest historical society in the United States, having been established in 1791.

The Society's building was constructed in 1899 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. In 2016, The Boston Landmarks Commission designated it a Boston Landmark.

Matt Batts

Matthew Daniel Batts (October 16, 1921 – July 14, 2013) was an American professional backup baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a catcher from 1947 through 1956 for the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Browns, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds, with brief trades to Baltimore and Cleveland. A slap hitter, Batts played mostly backup roles over the course of his career; during parts of ten MLB seasons, he appeared in 546 games with a .269 batting average, 26 home runs, and 219 runs batted in.

Sandy Koufax

Sanford Koufax (; born Sanford Braun; December 30, 1935) is an American professional baseball left-handed pitcher. He pitched 12 seasons for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1955 to 1966. Koufax, at age 36 in 1972, became the youngest player ever elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He has been hailed as one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history.

Koufax's career peaked with a run of six outstanding years from 1961 to 1966, before arthritis in his left elbow ended his career prematurely at age 30. He was an All-Star for six seasons and was the National League's Most Valuable Player in 1963. He won three Cy Young Awards in 1963, 1965, and 1966, by unanimous votes, making him the first three-time Cy Young winner in baseball history and the only one to win three times when one overall award was given for all of major league baseball instead of one award for each league. Koufax also won the NL Triple Crown for pitchers those same three years by leading the NL in wins, strikeouts, and earned run average.Koufax was the first major league pitcher to pitch four no-hitters and the eighth pitcher to pitch a perfect game in baseball history. Despite his comparatively short career, Koufax's 2,396 career strikeouts ranked 7th in history as of his retirement, at the time trailing only Warren Spahn (2,583) among left-handers. Koufax, Trevor Hoffman, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martínez, and Nolan Ryan are the only five pitchers elected to the Hall of Fame who had more strikeouts than innings pitched.

Koufax is also remembered as one of the outstanding Jewish athletes in American sports. His decision not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur garnered national attention as an example of conflict between professional pressures and personal beliefs.

Stuart Sternberg

Stuart L. Sternberg (born 1959 in Brooklyn, New York) is a Wall Street investor. He is the principal shareholder of the ownership group that owns the Tampa Bay Rays, and has acted as the team's Managing General Partner since November 2005.

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