Baby Ruth

Baby Ruth

Whether it was named after the famed slugger for the New York Yankees has long been up for debate, but the confection known as the Baby Ruth has remained one of the best loved candy bars since its introduction in 1921. Filled with peanuts, caramel and nougat, the Baby Ruth was a home run right out of the box.

The history behind the American classic is obscured at best. Many have just assumed it was named after famed American baseball player, Babe Ruth, whose star happened to be rising at the time Baby Ruth was created. Curtiss Candy Company, makers of Baby Ruth, maintains that the bar was named after the daughter of former president Grover Cleveland’s daughter; incidentally, a daughter that died at the age of 12 in 1904. Whether that story saved them from having to pay the Bambino any royalties is pure speculation.

Other explanations from outside sources have surfaced over the years as well. Was it named after the granddaughter of a candy bar collaborator-turned-rival, George Williamson (who, in a similar controversy, may or may not have created the “Oh Henry!” candy bar)? It has been difficult for spectators, courtrooms and conspiracy theorists to straighten out completely, and to this day the name of this sweet candy bar remains bitterly disputed.

One true claim to fame for the candy bar was that it was initially offered for 5-cents a bar, half the price of the competition. Sales were good, though they would skyrocket after a publicity stunt in 1923, during which Otto Schnering, the founder of Curtiss, had parachute-laden Baby Ruth bars dropped from airplanes above cities across the United States.

Kids weren’t the only ones to go nuts for the nutty bar. Hollywood had a ball with it in the 1980s. In The Goonies, for example, the deformed brother of the Fratellis, Sloth, wants nothing more than a Baby Ruth, ripping through chains and knocking people over just to get his hands on the bar. In the film, Caddyshack, a Baby Ruth is tossed into the swimming pool causing panic and uproar, only to end with the pool drained and the groundskeeper taking a bite of the bar to the shock of on-lookers.

One of the best things about Baby Ruth is that you can still find it in grocery and convenience stores to this day, unlike so many other great candies from the era that have long become extinct. We may never have definitive proof of where it got its moniker, but we can still tip our cap to its staying power.

If you count the Baby Ruth as one of your favorites from the candy aisle, we hope you’ll share any memories and thoughts you have on this classic confection in our comments section below.

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