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Thursday 8 September 2011

Babe Ruth -- And You Are There


Ruth knocked out. Baseball player Babe Ruth knocked unconscious, after he ran into a concrete wall at Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C., while trying to catch a foul ball: photo by National Photo Company, 5 July 1924 (National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress)

Wearing the familiar Yankee pinstripes
With the heraldic NY emblem elegantly covering the heart
Babe Ruth sits on a stiff-backed chair in front of his locker
It is locker No. 3
The photographer has caught Babe Ruth in the act of
Reaching across his body with his large and powerful right hand
To untie his left shoe
His long slim legs in black knee socks are crossed
And his body hunches forward over them
With his left hand dangling in his lap
His head is moon-shaped and seems much too big for his body
He cocks his head up to the left as if someone there is speaking
His eyes are intelligent and wary
His nose is broad
His ears are enormous
They are pinned back flat against the side of his head
In its cowish amplitude his face
Slightly resembles Severn Darden's
Three doors down the row of lockers
On a Persian strip rug
Which partially covers the bare board floor of the clubhouse
As if for temporary royal visitation
There rests a pair
Of two-tone Oxfords -- brown and white? --
The kind golfers used to wear|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=229514078

Babe Ruth at bat, Garret catching: photo by National Photo Company, 1922 (National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=266353740

Babe Ruth: photo by National Photo Company, 1922 (National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=229146590

Babe Ruth in reflective mood in New York Yankees dugout at Yankee Stadium, smoking a cigar before the game as American League President Ban Johnson looks on
: photo by National Photo Company, 12 April 1922 (National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=200112364

Babe Ruth, Ernie Shore, Rube Foster and Del Gainer of the Boston Red Sox:
photo by Bain News Service, between 1915 and 1917 (George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=27163647

Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox
: photo by National Photo Company, 1919 (National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=28668158

Babe Ruth
: photo by National Photo Company, 1919 (National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=36584546

Babe Ruth carrying a 300 pound log for the stove, in snow: photo by National Photo Company, [192-]
(National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=238378818

Babe Ruth rolls 'em down a new groove
: photo by Underwood & Underwood, 30 October 1919 (National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=208557904

Babe Ruth in the field
: photo by Bain News Service, 1921 (George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=40844512

Babe Ruth, New York Yankees, with children on field at Yankee Stadium before a game: photo by Bain News Service, 1921 (George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=233199580

Babe Ruth at bat
: photo by National Photo Company, 1921 (National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=266670156

George Herman "Babe" Ruth at the White House
: photo by National Photo Company, 7 December 1921 (National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=236852163

Babe Ruth warming up in the field during spring training, New Orleans: photo by Bain News Service, 23 March 1922 (George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=32324604

Babe Ruth and mascot
: photo by Bain News Service, 1922 (George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=203969362

Babe Ruth, left, leads the New York Yankees onto the field at the ceremonial opening of Yankee Stadium
: photo by Bain News Service, 18 April 1923 (George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=233779420

Babe Ruth Shaking Hands With U.S. President Warren Harding at Yankee Stadium
: photo by Bain News Service, 24 April 1923 (George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=32866300

Babe Ruth, John McGraw, Nick Altrock and Al Schacht
: photo by Bain News Service, 10 October 1923 (George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=262567886

Babe Ruth with John McGraw, manager of the New York
Giants: photo by Bain News Service, 23 October 1923 (George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=2978034

Babe Ruth with U.S. General of the Armies John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing
: photo by National Photo Company, 28 May 1924 (National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=195042414

Babe Ruth crossing the plate after hitting his first home run of the season:
photo by National Photo Company, 21 April 1924 (National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=194860015

Three baseball stars here for the World Series, Washington, D.C. Left to right: George Sisler, Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb: photo by National Photo Company, 4 October 1924 (National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=267794764

Yankees' Babe Ruth safe at third on Bob Meusel's fly out as Washington Senators' third baseman Ossie Bluege waits to apply the tag, Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C.
: photo by National Photo Company, 1925 (National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress)

Babe Ruth and former New York Governor Al Smith at the Biltmore Hotel and Country Club, Coral Gables, Florida
: photo by G. W. Romer, 1930; image by J. G. Howes (Florida Memory Project/State Archive of Florida)|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=2464626

The Bam still a favorite. Although out of baseball for the last few years, "Babe" Ruth still retains his popularity with the millions of baseball fans the country over. With Mrs. Ruth the "Babe" is shown autographing a ball for an admirer at the All-Star game today at Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C.: photo by Harris & Ewing, 7 July 1937 (Harris & Ewing Collection, Library of Congress)

George H.W. Bush, captain of the Yale baseball team, receives George Herman "Babe" Ruth's manuscript of his autobiography, which Ruth is donating to Yale: photographer unknown, 1948 (National Archives and Records Administration)


Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Wonderful post, Tom. Very enjoyable poem, the particularities of the description of the Babe are fine, indeed.

The pictures are grand. The one of the baseball clowns is a hoot, and there bending under the typewriter (beat writers, if there are any left, take note!) is Al Schacht - he must have lived forever, I remember him when I was a youngster in the 50s and the baseball clown was still a revered part of the sport.

As I'm sure you are aware, the Babe hit his last 3 homers in Pittsburgh, one in the lower deck, one in the upper, and a monster shot that cleared the roof, the 1st ever at Forbes Field. I think you will get a kick out of the this Post-Gazette article, with Ruth's connection to Andy Warhol revealed.


Ed Baker said...

OH MY ..

THAT Ruth sliding into Bleuge's tag ! WOWOW!
notice the stands in the outfield (left field bleachers

me and Bobbie MacDonald used to get on the 8 th street trolley and go up to the Florida Ave Market (get some 'munchies' from my cousin ( Stafford Appel) who worked at the AGW warehouse .. pick up a cpl free passers to the game then get over to Griffith Stadioum say 3 hours before game-time... so

those outfield bleacher? we had bleacher passes and sat way over on the left above the visiting teams' bull pen...

being their early we could go anywhere in the park... usually sat over behind third base.. watch the players warm up
SO (back to Bleuge):

Eddie Yost at the time played third base for the Senators..

so he is fielding ground balls while this "old guy" is there I guess coaching him so
a ball comes over near where Bobbie & I are (I'm about 11-12 years old)

and Yost come over and Bobbie asks "who's the old guy

"that's the GREAT third baseman, Ossie Bleuge ! Taught me everything I know."

so, next thing we know Ossie Bleuge brings another third basement to D.C. and Yost is gone ! replaced by this "piss ant" .. Harman Killebrew !

that ain't no 300 pound log Ruth is carrying ! jeesh.
The tall tales these legends told and became

Ruth made two feature-length films... and was in one where he goes to see a kid in the hospital and promises him he'd hit him an home run.. then the kid watches the game on the radio. ruth hits the HR the kid dies happy.

and there's Pershing ! etc thanks !' rally' Good Stuff....

et ceteras galore in this old mind trying to image-up.

I wonder what ever became of my grandmother's old photo albums ? maybe some cousin or other in Baltimore has them? One of these days Ill go over to St. Mary's see what they might have. and maybe over to the Baltimore Newspaper's archives and look see?

kent said...


And wait, to TC regular EB, did that Boston uniform on Babe really read "ED SOX"?

Ed Baker said...

now that I am thinking

the original Baltimore baseball team BECAME the NY Yankees !

and, as we ALL know The Babe went to New York and
then The House that Ruth Built.

speaking of (Red) Sox

there was, also in Baltimore, another Sox team the Baltimore Black Sox...

probably the Greatest ball team (club) of all time



Beautiful to see these heading into September -- what a guy, that Babe, they don't make them like that these days . . . .


light coming into fog against invisible
ridge, shadowed towhee landing on fence
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

given field of matter, this
presence of form that

also is given, present here
can be, to be so that

grey white fog against invisible ridge,
cormorant flapping across toward point

Ed Baker said...

another WOWOW!

found this photo of the 1912 St. Mary's BB team
bottom row second player :

that's my grandfather, Harry Baker !!!!!

not sure why the sign hanging is Red Sox seems like a league of some sort where the Red Sox sponsored the St. Maty's team..

that years 1912 My grandfather and George Ruth were signed up by the Baltimore Minor League team

my Grandfather broke his foot and that was that..
Ruth was sold to the Boston team...


back in Baltimore Ruth's dad owned a saloon I think it was on Eustis Street or East Baltimore Street..


as the family story goes Ruth's dad set my Grandfather up in a saloon a cpl blocks away

gonna dig out some old photos of my Grandpa and look more closely but, I am pretty sure that that is him..

TC said...

Steve, Cain of the Bible caught hell for slaying Abel but Cain of the Giants could be forgiven for slaying all eight of his brothers in the batting order (well, excepting the wonderfully named Pill).

Don, that link whiffed at this end, but the lovely story set me off in search of the source, and maybe this is it?

I believe the Post-Gazette writer has things in perfect Pittsburgh perspective. The real native-son celebrity here is Andy's big brother, Paul Warhola -- who was at Forbes Field on that historic day -- not kid brother Andy, who was probably at home drawing shoes.

Ed, that's a great Eddie Yost story.

Eddie Yost was never in a hurry; a pitcher's nightmare. The Walking Man. Ball one. Strike one. Ball two. Strike two. Ball three. Fouled off. Fouled off. Fouled off. Ball four. His guitar hero equivalent would be Robbie Krieger. No hurry.

Well, so, maybe the log only weighed 279 pounds.

By Jove, I do believe Kent is right. The Ed Sox. Who knew.

But the Babe... There is an openness and orphan-child vulnerability in Babe Ruth's face that for all his notorious "wild living" always impresses upon me the natural, perhaps anomalous yet palpably real generosity and tenderness of soul.

Perhaps the most most cherished possession of boyhood, at any rate the only one that has survived, was a Columbia 45" Extended Play compilation of The Greatest Moments in Sports, from clips of the original narrations. Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, heavyweight knockouts galore, the voice of Knute Rockne delivering a frantic half-time pep-rant to the Fighting Irish, the voice of Jesse Owens after winning four Gold Medals in Berlin, the great finishes of Whirlaway, Citation, Lavagetto's catch, Gionfriddo's catch, Bobby Thomson's home run, the entire panoply of the mythology.

But the terrible highlight/lowlight was the Babe's farewell speech.

Babe Ruth Saying Goodbye to Baseball (Yankee Stadium, 1947)

In the bottom photo on this post we see the Babe, withered and riddled and shot-through with the cancer that had been slowly and painfully killing him (he had primitive chemo, but typically did not want to know what the medication was for), ceremonially (and gamely, speaking of) delivering the ms. of his autobiography to the Elder Bush -- and smoking a cigar.

On a less melancholy note:

Babe Ruth's 60th home run, 1927

Ed Baker said...


for those still following this ... saga..
I sent link to my comment and that St. Mary's 1912
photo to my cousin, Eliot, in Florida

and he sent it to another cousin who is 2 years younger than me (Skip):

"I didn't tell Skip where in the photo or at what he was looking at and

I got a fucking chill... then tears !

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Tom, that's the article, sorry about the bad link. Yes, Rick Shrum got it right, Pittsburgh-style. Evidently big brother Paul did drag Andy along to the park on occasion, but one can't imagine it was too often.

Here's a little more detail on that day, from a 75th anniversary article in the PPG. And somebody dug up a dandy picture.

TC said...

Ed, I'm with you all the way.

Ideally every blog post would end in tears... of joy, of course.


That story adds a bit more color for sure.

But pausing upon these two collections of memoria, the one bit that really sticks with me is the reminiscence of Sam Sciullo (in the first PPG piece):

"He left the game after his home run in the seventh inning," Sciullo said. "I went to the gate after the game to get autographs, but I was sure he was gone.

"Babe comes out, which surprised me. He was wearing a light camel hair coat, with a collar around his neck and a cap. He was looking straight ahead. He was the original sad sack.

"Kids started running up. He doesn't say a word. He was not rude, he didn't push anybody. He just put his head down and walked.

"The kids didn't want to miss other players and broke away from him. But when he got 10 or 15 yards down Sennott Street, I realized he was alone and I might get a chance to talk to him.

"He was going back to the Schenley Hotel. I caught up and walked with him, begging for his autograph, but he didn't say a word. We got to the trolley tracks on Forbes, and I didn't have the guts to harass him anymore.

"He was not a well man that day. He was depressed and glad to get out of Pittsburgh."

ACravan said...

What a face....everything. So great to catch up on this one and also to see Eddie Yost remembered so accurately and in detail. Curtis

TC said...

Yes, that face, so open, vulnerable, expressive, and so very unlike the remote stony masks of the grand Celebrity Superstars of our day.