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Babe Ruth

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Ilmago, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. Ilmago

    Ilmago Guest

    I'm a Babe Ruth nerd, he's one my favorite subjects to study. I know tons about the man and I'd like to start a thread devoted to Babe. I'll use this thread to post different things about Babe Ruth. You guys can add to the discuss as well. But please respect this thread, we all know he was a drunk, and a womanizer. I just want to use this thread to talk about his career. Hopefully you guys will enjoy this new thread.


    A little bit about Ruth's bats.

    Length and Weight:

    Throughout Ruth's career he used bats that ranged in length from 34.5 inches to 36 inches, typically getting shorter as his career progressed. In the earlier parts of his career he used bats ranging from 48 to 54 ounces. In 1920 he placed one order for 56 ouncers but never used them again. These were more than likely just too heavy for everyday use. As he career progressed his bats got lighter and by 1923 he was using bats in the mid forties. It is perhaps the most noted that he used the 54 ounce club in his first couple years with the Yankees and he used a 42 ouncer that he named Beautiful Bella in 1927 when he hit his 60th homer of the season. He continued the lighter trend untill finally reaching 38 ounces for the last bit of his career.


    Ruth used many different models and styles throughout his career but typically stuck between three different styles. His earlier bats had a slightly wider flare out to the knob than later on and they had very long barrels. This bat had no particular model number as it pre-dates Hillerich & Bradsby's (Louisville Slugger) model database. If Ruth found a bat he liked he would mail it back to the factory so that more cold be produced like it, these are known as side written bats. The one pictured below is one such example and Ruth would have simply wrote the address on the barrel, placed a stamp on it and mailed it as is.

    Later on Ruth would begin using something more like the bat you can buy from the Louisville Slugger museum as a replica of his 1935 bat. In May of 1927 (according to LS records) he began to narrow the flare to the knob some and used a more rounded knob. This became the R34 model which he used to break his single season home run mark from 1921. By August of 1933 he had further evolved his prefered bat to the R43 model, he would use this for the rest of his career.

    Swing speed:

    In 1921 tests were performed on Ruth at Columbia University. During these tests they concluded that Ruth could swing his 54 ounce bat 75mph. For comparison of today's standards Albert Pujols had similar tests performed on him and he swings a 31.5 ounce bat 86.99mph. As for if Ruth had used a smaller club he did once in 1921 the following is from Bill Jenkinson's The Year Babe Ruth Hit 104 Home Runs;

    "I once saw Jose Canseco take a few swings in batting practice with an old bat that someone handed him. He disgustedly threw it down, and said: "I don't know how those old guys hit with those things!" Ruth played in a time when it was considered proper, even manly, to use a heavy bat. He, too, intuitively understood that he could do better by progressively dropping down in weight. But he started at such an extreme that he never really adjusted enough to maximize his ability. Putting it simply, Babe never used the right tools. What he might have done with more efficient equipment, we can only guess.

    However, we do know about one specific event that is very revealing. Entering the game in St. Louis on May 25, 1921, Ruth was unhappy about his recent 2 for 22 slump. He impulsively grabbed teammate Aaron Ward's 32-ounce bat, while discarding his regular 54-ounce war club. So, what happened? Babe lined a double to right center, launched a 460-foot fly out to the center field fence and then blasted an epic 535-foot home run into the center field bleachers. Those results pleased Ruth, but they also confused him. Afterward, he mockingly referred to Ward's bat as a "toothpick" and wondered how far his homer would have flown if he had used his normal tree trunk. My belief is that the ball would not have traveled as far. Babe was so saddled with the contemporary bias about sluggers using heavy bats that he had a hard time getting past it. He went right back to his 54-ouncer."


    Ruth was also just as superstitious about his bats as many other players. He once had one stolen and offered a 25 dollar reward for its return. In 1919 he cracked the handle on his favorite bat and tried to fix it with small nails and tape. He continued to use it in games but after being called strike three in an at bat he slammed it on the ground and broke it for good. Before a game in 1920 he gave Joe Jackson one his newest bats, a truly great gesture. Jackson vowed not to use it against the Yanks and when he pulled it out in Boston a few days later the end result was a 450 foot blast into the right field seats at Fenway. In 1927 to keep from having his bat stolen he also carried it around the bases with him after hitting his 56th homer of the year.
  2. Ilmago

    Ilmago Guest

    The called shot:

    No one will ever know if Ruth did point. I have seen the video of that at bat.
    This much is true can be seen on that video.

    Ruth takes a called strike, the Cub bench is all over him. He raises one finger acknowledging that strike. Calling him fat, washed up. You can then see Ruth pointing at the Cub bench. He makes dagger like thrusts at the Cub bench, yells at them.

    Next pitch a ball.
    Next pitch a ball. The count is now two balls one strike.
    Next pitch a called strike, strike two, count two strikes and two balls. The Cub bench is all over Ruth, yelling at him. He now raises two fingers to acknowledge that strike two. Again he is clearly angry makes dramatic gestures in the direction of the Cub bench.

    From the camera angle at this point difficult to see if he pointed or not, we will never know. This much we do know. After the second strike Ruth now looks at the Cub bench and holds up one finger and yells to the Cub bench, " It only takes one" meaning he still has one strike left, he is down but not out. Gabby Hartnett himself backs up Ruth's words says he heard Ruth yell to the bench," it only takes one".

    Then it happens Ruth slams the next ball on a line to dead center field 440 feet, the longest ever at Wrigley. The Cubs who were on the steps in the dugout retreat, they sit back.

    Did he call the shot, did he point the video does not show that but I would say he did enough. It was the battle of the wills. They had the edge, they had two strikes on him. Being Babe Ruth he didn't back down, even with two strikes on him he kept right on talking to the Cub bench.

    It's not a wise thing to tease the Babe, even with two strikes on him. As usual, it's Babe Ruth and it's not just a normal home run, it's a monster shot. The Cub centerfielder took only two steps back and stopped, he knew it was gone.

    One little know fact of that game in the 1932 world series, the "called shot" game.
    In that very game in the first inning here is a account from the New York Herald tribune written by Richards Vidmer.

    I call it the "unofficial "called shot."
    From that newspaper word for word.
    " As he ( Ruth) waited to bat in the first inning he paused to jest with the raging Cubs, pointed to the right field bleachers and grinned". In that very at bat Ruth hit a 3 run homer into the right field bleachers. Again, it's not wise to tease The babe.
  3. Sounds to me like a near word-for-word description of Robert Creamer's account of Ruth's supposed called shot on Ken Burns' Baseball film, which incidentally aired last night on PBS.

    I'm not sold on Creamer's account or creditability.

    Also, this being a World Series game, the supposed shot were be much world documented in the press - esp. in NY - if Ruth had in fact called his shot.

    In newspaper accounts, Ruth was asked about the feat - he said something to the effect that it was in the paper's so it must be true. He never - initially anyway - claimed to have called it.

    My opinion anyway ...
  4. Oggiedoggie

    Oggiedoggie Well-Known Member

  5. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    I think this is a great idea for a thread. As far as called shot read an interview with John Paul Stevens who was at game and verified. Figure that is as good a verification as possible given his stature. He has a framed box score of game in his office.
  6. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    I fell asleep on it but it was a great show. Hope it comes on again.
  7. Ilmago

    Ilmago Guest

    The trade of Babe Ruth:

    Harry Frazee the man who made the dumbest deal ever in the game, he was brainless. Yes Babe was young and wild, a problem for the Bosox but with all the talent he was already displaying pitching and hitting wouldn't it make sense to give him some time.

    Harry tried to blunt the Bosox fans ire by blaming Ruth for the poor showing by the Red Fox in 1919. The team had the third lowest batting average in the AL and was only one point away from being the second lowest, the pitching also fell off.

    Blame Ruth because he was a problem child, it was the team.
    Here is where Babe Ruth ranked in ALL of baseball both leagues in 1919.
    Home runs------------1
    Reaced base---------1
    Runs created--------1
    Secondary Ave.----1
    Total bases---------1
    Total bases--------1
    Walks--------------2 Only reason he did not lead in walks, because of low plate apperances

    Add to that pitching won 9 and lost 5. Started 15 games and completed 12. Remember he did not sit the bench between starts, played the outfield

    So Harry gets rid of him. OK no way to tell what he would turn out to be but it was evident this guy had talent. Ruth hurt his knee in 1919 and Harry in the Boston Globe after the sale declared that Ruth may some day be a cripple. I checked his batting after that injury and he was hitting doubles and triples with ease, nothing wrong with that knee Harry.

    My guess he sold for the money but tried to justify the sale by making out Ruth to be the bad guy and damaged goods, that bad knee.

    This was the blunder of all blunders it changed the whole landscape of the game. The Bosox were the royalty of baseball. The Yanks the upstart, the Giants owned New York, the Yanks didn't even have their own park.

    Bad move Harry... bad move.

    Not only did Harry Frazee sell the greatest attraction in the game, the greatest slugger ever, he did the following. He also borrowed 300,000 dollars from the Yankee owners. And what does he put up as collateral, he puts up Fenway Park.

    So now the Yanks have the Babe and if Harry defaults on that loan the Yankees could wind up with Fenway Park.
  8. Rumpleforeskin

    Rumpleforeskin Active Member

    Not HOF worthy.

    Oh wait, we're not debating this here. Carry on.
  9. Blitz

    Blitz Active Member

    Paging Steak Snabler, please pick up the white courtesy phone.
  10. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    And to think what kind of numbers he might have put up if he hadn't missed a big chunk of the 1925 season after too much hot dogs and root beer coming down with syphilis.

    I'll hang up and listen ...
  11. bumpy mcgee

    bumpy mcgee Well-Known Member

    STEINBRENNER: We wanna look to the future, we gotta tear down the past. Babe Ruth was nothing more than a fat old man, with little-girl legs. And here's something I just found out recently. He wasn't really a sultan. Ah, what d'you make of that? Hey, check this out. (he stands to reveal he's wearing baseball pants) Lou Gehrig's pants. Not a bad fit. (a thought occurs) Hey, you don't think that nerve disease of his was contagious, do you? Uh, I better take 'em off. I'm too important to this team. (removes the pants to reveal his boxers) Big Stein can't be flopping and twitching.
  12. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    Creamer's account was based on interviews he conducted for the Ruth biography he wrote in the early 70s, which was 40 years after the fact and roughly 25 years after Ruth died.

    I believe Ruth called his shot. He certainly didn't stand there grandiosely and point like William Bendix and John Goodman did in the movies. But he probably told Charlie Root "I'm gonna hit a home run, you sonofabitch" and then did just that. Ruth probably did it lots of other times in his career and either did or didn't hit a home run. That one just happened to be in the World Series.
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