Ruth’s Yankee Stadium Goodbye: April 27, 1947

Ruth's Yankee Stadium Goodbye April 27, 1947

Ruth’s Yankee Stadium Goodbye
April 27, 1947

 

Ruth Urges Ball Players To Start Game While Young

By Milton Richman, United Press (UP)

(Milton Richman was the 1980 winner of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s J.G. Taylor Spink Award for outstanding achievement by writers.)

Milton Richman

Milton Richman

  New York, (UP) – Cheers for the Babe echoed from New York to Tokyo Sunday. But the millions of fans who listened to the broadcast of “The Babe Ruth Day” ceremonies at Yankee Stadium remembered sadly Monday how weak the voice was that addressed them.

Only the 58,339 fans who gathered in “the house that Ruth built” could see the gaunt figure, dressed in a familiar camel’s hair overcoat, as he stopped before a battery of microphones at home plate.

Only they could see that the Babe, who once strode defiantly to the plate, now welcomed a helping hand as he walked.

The crowd rose with a mighty roar as Ruth walked slowly from the dugout. A big grin lighted his face. Then the stands became silent as he began to speak.

“You know how bad my voice sounds,” he whispered. “Well, it feels just as bad.”

Ruth’s voice gained a little strength as he went to the heart of his extemporaneous speech, extolling baseball as “the only real game in the world” and telling youngsters to start playing it at 6 or 7 years of age.

“You gotta let it grow up with you,” he said, “and if you’re successful and you try hard enough, you’re bound to come out on top, just like these boys have come to the top now.” He gestured toward the New York Yankees and Washington Senators grouped around him.

“There’s been so many lovely things said about me. I’m glad I had the opportunity to thank everybody,” he concluded with a huge grin that made him look for a moment like the Babe of old.

“Thank you.”

His words were piped into every other major league park and many minor league parks, for it was “Babe Ruth Day” everywhere. Even in Japan, where programs were held in Tokyo and Osaka.

Francis Cardinal Spellman opened the Yankee Stadium program with an invocation which described Ruth as a “champion of fair play and a manly leader of youth.” Later Spellman told the Babe that he had been a great inspiration to the boys and “to me.” Ruth was raised in a Catholic orphanage at Baltimore, and had asked that Spellman be present in person at the stadium. Then Commissioner A.B. (Happy) Chandler, whose idea the day had been, outrode a chorus of boos and lauded Ruth.

Will Harridge, American league president, was next. He presented the Babe with a gold and bronze plaque inscribed, “In honor and sincere appreciation to Babe Ruth, whose contribution to baseball will live forever.” He said that Ruth’s name shone brighter than any other on the list of baseball’s greats.

Ford Frick, National League president, gave the Babe a book signed by every player in the National league and dedicated to “Babe Ruth,” whose batting average through the years is exceeded only by the size of his heart and whose capacity to hit homers is surpassed only by his ability to make and hold friends.

Thirteen-year-old Larry Cutler, an American Legion junior baseball player, welcomed Ruth as a consultant in that program.

Then Ruth spoke. Later, President Larry McPhail of the Yankees and an American league official gave Ruth envelopes. Contents were not disclosed, but they were believed to contain checks which will help the home run king – his records still stand – defray expenses of his long illness and his serious operation Jan. 3rd, from which he is recovering slowly.

There were rumors that organized baseball would start a “Babe Ruth Foundation” which the big fellow would administer to foster baseball among young boys.

Many other gifts flooded the Babe. He received a $5,000 Lincoln car from his new employers, the Ford Motor Co., and smaller gifts arrived at his apartment.

Babe said he hadn’t opened or looked at a single gift, except the car, in which he rode to the stadium.

He stayed for 7 innings of the game, then left a few minutes before Washington scored the winning run in a 1-0 victory.

Ruth, who began his major league career in 1915 as a lefthanded pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and was sold to the Yankees in 1920, retired as an active player in 1935. He has not been connected with organized baseball since 1938, when he served briefly as a Brooklyn Dodger coach.

~ Milton Richman, United Press, Mason City (IA) Globe Gazette, April 28, 1947, Page 17.

____________________

Eagle Parting Note: Babe Ruth died of cancer the following year, August 16, 1948, at the age of 53.

____________________

eagle-0rangeBill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

https://bill37mccurdy.com/

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