Larry Ruttman

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Larry Ruttman
Larry Ruttman in his Brookline, Massachusetts office in 2012
Born (1931-02-08) February 8, 1931 (age 84)
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Occupation attorney and author
Alma mater University of Massachusetts Amherst, Boston College Law School
Notable works Voices of Brookline (2005)
American Jews and America's Game (2013)

Lawrence A. "Larry" Ruttman (February 8, 1931 –) is an American attorney and author. He is best known for his two books of oral history, Voices of Brookline and American Jews and America's Game.


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.[1][2] 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.[3] 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[edit]

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.[4] The next year, his article about the team's trip to the Dutch Open Gig Championships again made the magazine's cover.[5]

Voices of Brookline[edit]

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 (journalist); 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.[1] The television and print interviews became the basis for the book.[6]

Ruttman self-published Voices of Brookline through Peter E. Randall Publisher LLC in 2005; Michael Dukakis wrote the foreword. The book features 75 Brookline citizens telling their stories. 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.”[7]

American Jews and America's Game[edit]

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.[8] "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.[9] American Jews and America's Game includes profiles 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.[10] He traveled across the U.S. to interview subjects for the book over the next four years.[11] 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.”[12] American Jews and America's Game has been reviewed by Bloomberg Business Week,[13] Kirkus Reviews,[14] 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,[15] 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.[16]


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,[17] which was founded in 1791.

American Jews and America's Game was named the #1 Baseball Book of 2013 by Sports Collectors Digest.[18] It was also a finalist in the Sports category for the 2013 ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award.[19]


  1. ^ a b Ruttman, Larry (2005). Voices of Brookline, page v. (Peter E. Randall Publisher LLC, 2005). ISBN 1-931807-39-6
  2. ^ "Boston College Law Alumni Bookshelf". Spring 2006. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "Brookline's history, one conversation at a time". Brookline Tab. 30 November 2005. 
  4. ^ Ruttman, Larry (1999) "Row Hard No Excuses." Messing About in Boats, volume 16, issue 19, page 8.
  5. ^ Ruttman, Larry (2000). "Row Hard, No Excuses II." Messing About in Boats, volume 17, issue 20, page 8.
  6. ^ Silvio, Ann (2005). Local TV host prints chats for posterity, The Boston Globe
  7. ^ Voices of Brookline website, retrieved September 7, 2013
  8. ^ American Jews and America's Game, University of Nebraska Press website
  9. ^ Parker, Brock (2013). Brookline lawyer writes book about Jews and baseball The Boston Globe
  10. ^ Ruttman, Larry (2013). American Jews and America's Game. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press. p. xxii. ISBN 978-0-8032-6475-5. 
  11. ^ Parker, Brock (2010). Baseball’s Jewish voices, The Boston Globe
  12. ^ Kurtzer, Daniel (2013). Praise for American Jews and America's Game
  13. ^ Shribman, David (2013). Jews Take the Field; Baseball Stumpers Test Fans: Sports Books, Bloomberg Business Week
  14. ^ Kirkus Reviews (2013), American Jews and America's Game
  15. ^ Shanahan, Mark, and Meredith Goldstein (2013), Dershowitz and Friends Talk Sox in New York, The Names Blog, Boston Globe
  16. ^ The Great Fenway Park Writers Series event page, September 18, 2013.
  17. ^ "This Month at the MHS". Massachusetts Historical Society website. Retrieved 4 January 2014. Larry Ruttman, Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society 
  18. ^ Schlossberg, Dan (31 December 2013). "Save Some Shelf Space: Best Baseball Books of 2013". Sports Collectors Digest. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  19. ^ "BOTYA 2013 Finalists in Sports (Adult Nonfiction)". ForeWord Reviews. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 

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