BABE RUTH’S CALLED SHOT
In 1932, Babe Ruth was facing the end of his career. He wasn’t as fast or light as he had been in his prime but he still had enough stamina in him to help the New York Yankees win the World Series against the Chicago Cubs. There was bad blood between the two teams already as Mark Koenig, Babe’s friend, had gone over to the Cubs and had helped them win a previous World Series. In exchange for Koenig’s effort, the rest of the team voted that he only get half of his money, which angered Babe greatly. Joe McCarthy had also recently been fired as the Cub’s manager and he was seeking revenge.
It was October 1, 1932, when the Yankees met the Cubs at Wrigley Field for Game 3 of the World Series. The Yankees had won the first two games and had withstood having lemons and curse words thrown at them from the stands, both by members of the Cubs and their fans. Fans of the Cubs also targeted Babe specifically when he was on the outfield and threw fruit and other garbage at him. Babe smiled through it all and took the abuse like a gentleman. But he wasn’t such a gentleman on this particular day in October at Yankee Stadium. During batting practice, he yelled out to the Cubs, “Hey, you damn bum Cubs, you won’t be seeing Yankee Stadium again. This is going to be all over Sunday.”
Babe Ruth had a great game that day. Already before the fifth inning, he could already boast a three-run home run that went straight through right field into the bleachers. When he went up to bat during that inning, Charlie Root was pitching. Throwing the first ball, he held one finger up and yelled, “Strike One!” After pitching another fastball, Babe held up two fingers and yelled, “Strike Two!” He then stepped out of the batter’s box and pointed. Where exactly he was pointing to is not known. Some say he was pointing at the pitcher, some think it was actually the bench of the Cubs, while still others say that he was simply pointing to the bleachers behind centre field. He was pointing to where he was planning to hit the ball, and that’s exactly where he did hit it.
When Babe hit the shot that he had called, the count had been 2-2. Johnny Moore had been standing in center field, and he had begun to move farther back to stop the ball when Ruth hit it. He stopped however as he watched the ball disappear into right field. The ball was hit 436 feet away from home plate where Babe was standing and it was the 15th homerun that had been hit during that World Series. It was also the longest ball that had been hit in Wrigley Field until that time.
Babe Ruth certainly had gotten the vengeance that he had been seeking on the Cub’s club. As he rounded the bases, he had a different swear word for every member of the team. After getting onto third, he stopped during his victory run and made a slight bow towards the Cub’s bench before running to home base.
The debate still continues as to whether or not he called the home run but it’s a fairly common belief that he in fact, did call it. Babe Ruth doesn’t even know himself as he explained later, “I didn’t exactly point to any spot like the flagpole. I just sorta waved at the whole fence, but that was foolish enough. All I wanted to do was give the thing a ride…outta the park…anywhere. Every time I went to the bat the Cubs on the bench would yell ‘ Oogly googly.’ It’s all part of the game, but this particular inning when I went to bat there was a whole chorus of ‘oogly googlies’. The first pitch was a pretty good strike, and I didn’t kick. But the second was outside and turned around to beef about it. As I said, Gabby Hartnett said ‘Oogly googly.’That kinda burned me and I said ‘All right, you bums, I’m gonna knock this one a mile.’ I guess I pointed, too.”
The Called Shot