In time for his centennial, a book on the Babe


Babe Ruth will be front and center on the weekend after next at the Emory Street museum that bears his name -- where he was born, 100 baseball seasons ago. And live celebrities will rally 'round. But a prime quarry for young autograph-seekers is going to be a non-player, non-manager, non-male. The author of the one Babe Ruth book being published that centennial weekend is Lois Nicholson.

The author of "Babe Ruth, Sultan of Swat" (Goodwood Press, $17.95) is planning to attend the events Saturday and Sunday, but if she is to attend the noon champagne toast Feb. 6, a Monday, it will mean an absence from Cape St. Claire Elementary, where she is librarian -- and where a steady reader favorite is the 1993 book "Cal Ripken," also by Lois Nicholson.

The long commute from Roland Park to an Annapolis suburb provides planning time for this author of younger-reader sports books. An Oriole Park field and clubhouse pass has helped, too. In the past two years, Ms. Nicholson has written 10 books; "Casey Stengel" and "Nolan Ryan" are due out later this year.

It helped that, as a girl in Sudlersville on the Shore, she listened to her father recall the exploits of Jimmie Foxx.

Today, Ms. Nicholson testifies, her library patrons still go most for Babe Ruth. They revere him as mythical hero, not as daily-life role model; as a man of other times whose example says, "Be happy in what you do."

Addenda to 1994's Maryland publishing list: "Asylum of Cradles," Marla Spevak-Hess's third book of poems; "Armored Cav," Tom Clancy's nonfiction book on a key component of modern warfare; Sylvan M. Shane's memoir, "Landmarks: Islands in Time."

Half a dozen books of local interest (the most in years) highlight the spring list of Johns Hopkins University Press. One could be a capstone for the poetry career of Josephine Jacobsen: "In the Crevice of Time: New and Collected Poems," 176 altogether. Due out in May.

A March entry on medical matters is "The Prostate: A Guide for Men and the Women Who Love Them," by Patrick C. Walsh, M.D., of Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Janet Farrar Worthington.

Also for March: "Hiking, Cycling and Canoeing in Maryland, A Family Guide," by Bryan MacKay of the University of Maryland Baltimore County; for April, "Finding Wildflowers in the Washington-Baltimore Area," by Cristol Fleming, Marion Blois Lobstein and Barbara Tufty. In May, look for "Walking in Baltimore: An Intimate Guide to the Old City," by Frank Shivers, who wrote earlier about Maryland authors and Bolton Hill.

"Walter Carpenter at DuPont and General Motors" is a biography by Charles W. Cheape of Loyola College, due in March.

But the biggest noise could come from March's "Baltimore Unbound: A Strategy for Regional Renewal," by David Rusk, former mayor of Albuquerque, N.M. He would end the city-county division.

Tidewater Press, in Centreville, will be bringing out "Tidewater Time Capsule: History Beneath the Patuxent," by Donald G. Shomette of Dunkirk. Mr. Shomette's underwater archaeology is followed nationally; here he goes after Joshua Barney's fleet, scuttled in 1814.

And on land? A city biography: "Jericho: Dreams, Ruins, Phantoms," by Robert Ruby, who for five years was this newspaper's Jerusalem bureau chief. The publisher is Henry Holt and Co.

Wait'll you see the book-section changes, starting next Sunday.

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