Where Were You in 1932?

“Hey Lou! ~ I know it’s only the 5th inning, but I’m hungry as hell!. ~ Stop that hot dog guy while he’s near the field and get me 2 dogs all the way! ~ I’ll settle up with you after we get this time at bat done.”
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Babe Ruth, 10/01/1932.

 

While making one of my fairly regular sweeps yesterday through the pages of anciently published baseball history, I was reminded of something a friend said to me about another baseball matter that was at the foundation of my reasons for even stopping into the news of October 2, 1932. ~ Does that date recall for you the time a so-called sultan of swat lifted a finger to point out in real-time that he was going to hit a home run to center field during his time at bat in the top of the fifth inning of a World Series game at Wrigley Field in Chicago? ~ And then he did! ~ He hit a center field stadium-exit ball that travelled an estimated 500 feet easy from where Babe Ruth of the New York Yankees launched it off pitcher Charlie Root of the Chicago Cubs as the AL champions went on to a 7-5 win in Game 3 on Saturday, October 1, 1932 and then finished a four-game Series sweep with a 13-6 bone-crusher victory the next day at Wrigley in Game 4.

There wasn’t a single mention of Babe Ruth “calling his shot” on that fifth inning homer in the national article I found yesterday that had been printed in the Charleston (WV) Gazette on October 2, 1932, but that wasn’t surprising. Most are blank on that point, but they all are clear on one point. ~ After Ruth homered in the 5th for the 2nd time in the game ~ he had homered earlier ~ Gehrig homered to right field. These back-to-backs by Ruth and Gehrig in the 5th came on the heels of the fact that each had homered earlier in separate innings. ~ Ruth had smacked a 3-run homer to right center that gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead in the first before even a single out had been posted. ~ Gehrig had led off the third inning with a home run into the right field bleachers to expand the Yankees lead to 4-0.

None of these sometimes record-breaking achievements ~ or the fact the Yankees won the game ~ and the next day, the Series ~ would soon matter. Once the word got around that Ruth had “called his shot” to center off Charlie Root, that’s all that counted with people. The most legendary example of hutzpah-delivering was more important to most than even the man who actually was getting the credit for it.

According to writer Larry Getlin, the magic “called shot” phrase was supposedly invented by New York World-Telegram reporter Joe Williams in that day’s coverage story and then amplified to the nines by an editor who then headlined the phenomenon in these bold words: “Ruth Calls Shot As He Puts Homer No. 2 In Side Pocket.” 

Check out Getlin’s 2014 article. It’s the best short piece I’ve ever found on this event’s flutter of fiction over fact in what apparently hides in the same neighborhood as the truth about the second shooter at the top of the grassy knoll outside the Texas Schoolbook Depository on November 22, 1963. It also does a great job of showcasing the problems that will invariably arise with eyewitness testimony to events that happened long ago.

https://nypost.com/2014/02/01/chicago-journalist-debunks-babe-ruths-called-shot/

People generally prefer fiction to fact ~ allowing the legend to become the event’s legacy ~ and for the same reason that they prefer movies or following the long season fates of their favorite MLB club. ~ They like happy endings that others write for them that they can then take home as their own.

Once these things are embraced by writers fighting for readership, mundane historical facts get pushed aside in favor of unabashed melodrama. For example, when some researchers suggested in the “called shot” that Babe Ruth simply may have been pointing at pitcher Root ~ or the Cubs bench ~ or even picking his nose ~ these possibilities were easy to bury in the shadow of the man in the batter’s box ~ pointing clearly and defiantly ~ at the far distant center field fence. ~ And that’s exactly as Ruth-actor William Bendix played it in the 1948 movie version of “The Babe Ruth Story” ~ right before he cracked that ball from the north side ~ over the center field wall ~ and on its way to the crack of doom.

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Inamorata, 1932 West Virginia Style. ~ I could have stayed lost in that 1932 Sunday edition of the Charleston (WV) Gazette. So much good stuff ~ including an ad for a 75 cent tab on a delicious sounding meal at the Venice Italian Restaurant on 711 Fife Street. For that kind of money, you just bought yourself an entree that includes salad, dessert, and drink ~ and it is prepared especially for you by their very own Chef Alfred!

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1932 College Football News. ~ Ohio State played their first college football game of the season in Columbus “before an opening day crowd of 17, 113” on that same Saturday of October 1, 1932, and they defeated Ohio Wesleyan, 34-7, in an offensive performance that was described as smooth at times, but one that bogged downed miserably at others. The report makes no further reference to the attendance on that particular Saturday, but the Buckeyes obviously needed no horseshoe-shaped stadium thoughts to wrap around their immediate fan ticket needs. …. Here are a few other college scores from October 1, 1932:

Duke 44 – VMI 0. (Lexington, VA)

Virginia 7 – Maryland 6. (University, VA)

Alabama 53 – Mississippi State 0. (What’s new?)

William & Mary 6 – Navy 0. (Annapolis, MD)

Southwest Conference Football Scores from October 1, 1932:

Tulane 26 – Texas A&M 14. (New Orleans, LA)

Baylor 32 – St. Edwards 0. (Austin, TX)

Texas Tech 6 – SMU 0. (Lubbock, TX) *

Centenary 13 – Texas 6. (Austin, TX)

TCU 55 – Daniel Baker 0. (Fort Worth, TX)

Missouri School of Mines 20 – Arkansas 19. (Fayetteville AR)

Rice 10 – LSU 8. (Houston, TX)

* Texas Tech was not an SWC member in 1932.

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

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One Response to “Where Were You in 1932?”

  1. Larry Dierker Says:

    His last two were paybacks to Guy Bush who hit him with a pitch in the 1932 World Series.

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