One of my all- time favorite candy bars is none other than Baby Ruth, and it's been around for a very long time! In fact, this candy bar has garnered so much notoriety over the decades that it was even featured in the 1985 movie "Goonies", as well as the infamous pool scene in the 1980 classic "Caddyshack"! (Kind of hard to forget the scene where Bill Murray actually eats the candy bar after the pool was drained and cleaned!! Love that movie!)
All this time I thought it was named after MLB's Hall of famer- George Herman "Babe" Ruth, Jr. Come to find out, there's quite a story behind the name of this particular candy bar!!
It all began in Chicago in 1916, when a business man by the name of Otto Schnering started a small candy company called "Curtiss Candy", in the back of a hardware store. His first real product was his own recipe- a candy bar called "Kandy Kake", which was his most successful product the first few years of his business. In 1920, Kandy Kake sales were generating the most business, but Otto needed to take his company to the next level. So, he decided to make some changes to his "Kandy Kake" bars by changing the recipe, re-marketing, and re-naming them to become one of the most well-known candy bars ever produced in U.S. history- "Baby Ruth"! Baby Ruth candy bars were officially launched by the Curtiss Candy Company in 1921. Otto Schnering did his homework on his rivals, and began selling his new candy bars at the very competitive price of only 5cents a bar!! By the end of 1921, Curtiss Candy was making over 1 million dollars in sales between "Baby Ruth", and the "Polar Bar". Due to his genius business skills, he expanded to 3 companies, and was producing 1 billion candy bars per year by 1928!!!
Now, let's back up the truck, and get to the "nitty gritty"!! The name: "Baby Ruth"?
Ok, to this very day even Nestle, (the current owners and producers of Baby Ruth candy bars), are sticking to the story that Otto Schnering named his famous candy bar after our 22nd U.S. President Grover Cleveland's infamous daughter- "Baby" Ruth Cleveland, NOT the famous baseball player Babe Ruth!!
Now, the question is why? Let's just say that there has always been a great mystery and controversy surrounding this very subject! Ruth Cleveland was the first born child to President Cleveland and his wife, and very much adored by the American public. Today, it would be equivalent to the fascination with the children of British Royals, (such as Prince William and Harry). However, Ruth Cleveland died at the young age of 12 in 1904, so Otto claims that he named his candy bar after her as a tribute to her memory. Many believe that it was indeed named after baseball legend Babe Ruth, (who was already gaining stardom in the world of baseball at the same time the candy bar was released, and clearly this makes the most sense!) It is believed that Otto, (when the candy bar was first re-named), couldn't afford to pay the royalties to Babe Ruth, so that is the reason that he claimed to have named it after Ruth Cleveland.)
Babe Ruth sued the Curtiss Candy Company over the fact that they were using him as reference in their sales and marketing during the 1920's. Because Otto Schnering admittedly stuck to his story, Babe lost his suit, found a candy company to produce his own candy bar called "Babe's Home Run" to rival the Baby Ruth bar, and was in turn sued by Curtiss Candy- stating that he was in breach of their copyright, and Curtiss Candy won! How unbelievable is that?!!!
Although there was obviously some bad relations between the two parties for decades, Nestle has acquired the blessings of the deceased legend's family to use his image for today's marketing. In June of 2006, it was officially announced that Nestle had partnered with MLB to promote Baby Ruth the "Official Candy Bar of Major League Baseball". And now you have the story behind this infamous candy bar!
**I wish a Happy Father's Day to all of you wonderful dad's, grandpa's, uncles, and brothers!!