The Man Who Made Babe Ruth

Brother Matthias of St. Mary’s School


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About the Book

At six-feet-six, the hulking Martin Leo Boutilier (1872–1944) was hard to miss. Yet the many books written about Babe Ruth relegate the soft-spoken teacher and coach to the shadows. Ruth credited Boutilier—known as Brother Matthias in the Congregation of St. Francis Xavier—with making him the man and the baseball player he became. Matthias saw something in the troubled seven-year old and nurtured his athletic ability. Spending many extra hours on the ballfield with him over a dozen years, he taught Ruth how to hit and converted the young left-handed catcher into a formidable pitcher. Overshadowed by a fellow Xavierian brother who was given the credit for discovering the baseball prodigy, Matthias never received his due from the public but didn’t complain. Ruth never forgot the father figure who continued to provide valuable counsel in later life. This is the first telling of the full story of the man who gave the world its most famous baseball star.

About the Author(s)

Award-winning journalist Brian Martin lives in London, Ontario. He is a member of the selection committee of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and the Society for American Baseball Research.

Bibliographic Details

Brian Martin

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 226
Bibliographic Info: 22 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7336-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3951-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
1. Time for Reflection 7
2. A Farewell to Nova Scotia 16
3. St. Mary’s 29
4. Birth and Rebirth 43
5. “He always built me” 58
6. A Star Begins to Twinkle 69
7. A Big Deal 82
8. A Homer for a Babe 95
9. Playing to Empty Seats 108
10. First Steps on the Big Stage 121
11. A Real Major Leaguer 133
12. Making History 148
13. The Peak and Past It 164
Epilogue 176
Appendix I: Brother Matthias Speaks 185
Appendix II: Statistics—Batting 188
Appendix III: Statistics—Pitching 189
Chapter Notes 191
Bibliography 205
Index 209

Book Reviews & Awards

• “An enjoyable and easily read book which adds surprising new detail to a story we thought we already knew well.”—SABR Deadball Era Committee Newsletter

• “Martin’s wonderful book has brought an important story to the surface. We may not know where Babe Ruth’s baseballs are in Lake Ontario, but we know a great deal more about the unlikely Canadian hero who helped him become one of the greatest players the game has ever seen.”—Literary Review of Canada

• “In Martin’s page-turner, we learn that not only did the hulking 6-foot-6 prefect of discipline and director of all physical activity at St. Mary’s Industrial Training School in Baltimore help shape Ruth mentally–instilling in him much-needed values and beliefs–but he was also responsible for introducing The Babe to baseball and for influencing Ruth’s home run swing…. This is another outstanding effort by Martin, who’s already one of Canada’s top baseball writers and historians.”—Kevin Glew, Coopertowners in Canada blog

• “While the rags-to-riches story of Babe Ruth has been told in scores of books, this is the first to uncover the compelling story of the father figure in his life–Brother Matthias, C.F.X. The author’s meticulous and thorough research of the Xaverian Brothers, St. Mary’s Industrial School and Brother Matthias is apparent on every page.”—Harry Rothgerber, editor, Young Babe Ruth: His Early Life and Baseball Career, from the Memoirs of a Xaverian Brother