Golden Baseball Magazine
May 20, 2018

Ty Cobb on batting against Walter Johnson: "I do not exaggerate when I say that his fast one has been so good on a dark day that I have never seen the ball pass me and am only aware of the fact because I heard it strike the catcher's mitt."

Cardinals Clubhouse

Profile: Rogers Hornsby - V

Halfway through the 1925 season, in the first year of a $100,000 contract, Hornsby became the Cardinal manager.

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Memorable Game

Now that our Ultimate Game series is up-to-date through 2017, we have space to present other memorable games.

The 1940 American League pennant race came down to the last game between Detroit and Cleveland. With ace Bob Feller ready to go, the Indians were a shoo-in. Or were they?

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More Baseball Odd Facts

  • Six-hit games by the same batter twice in four days.
  • A player banned from the game for auto theft even though acquitted.
  • Pitchers hurling 17 innings in consecutive games.
  • Be careful when you appeal a batter hitting out of turn who made an out.
  • 26th HR on the same date two years in a row.

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From the Archives

Billy Herman, Joe Tepsic, and the '46 Dodgers

Many blamed Branch Rickey for Brooklyn losing the pennant to the Cards because of two questionable moves he made during the season.

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How Would You Rule?

Foul tip caroms off catcher's glove and is cradled against his body

Baseball Quiz

Teams that have met in the World Series twice

"What's the matter with me?"
Babe Ruth's Called Shot: The Myth and Mystery of Baseball's Greatest Home Run,
Ed Sherman (2014)
Miller Huggins
The 1929 season ended on a tragic note for the Yankees. Miller Huggins, the manager who had guided the Yankees to their three titles, was in poor shape throughout most of the season. On September 20 he was admitted to the hospital. He was diagnosed with erysipelas, a serious bacterial infection. He soon developed a high fever, and the situation deteriorated quickly. On September 25, 1929, Huggins died at the age of 50.
Huggins's death rocked baseball. The American League canceled its games the following day, and the viewing of his body drew thousands of fans. The Yankees were shocked. "I'll miss him more than anyone," Gehrig said. "Next to my father and mother, he was the best friend a boy could have. He taught me everything I know." Ruth also took Huggins's death hard. He joined the ranks of the player in the clubhouse sobbing when they learned the news. "You know what I thought of Miller Huggins, and you know what I owe to him." ...
The unexpected development left the Yankees reeling and looking for a manager for the firt time since 1918. General manager Ed Barrow wanted future Hall of Famer Eddie Collins, but Collins wasn't interested. Art Fletcher, a longtime coach for the Yankees, also declined an offer to run the team. Ruth, meanwhile, had the perfect candidate in mind: himself. Why not? After all, he had been playing in the big leagues since 1914. He knew the game as both hitter and pitcher. ...

Ed Barrow looks over Babe Ruth's shoulder as he
signs a Yankee contract next to Colonel Ruppert.
"Hey, what's the matter with me?" wrote Ruth in his autobiography. "I had been with the Yankees organization 10 years; had been in baseball for 16 years; knew baseball." Ruth also saw other big-name stars - Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Rogers Hornsby, George Sisler, Tris Speaker - taking advantage of opportunities to become player-managers. Who was the biggest star among them? It was Ruth by a mile, of course. "I felt I had a better knowledge of the game than almost all of them," Ruth wrote.
Surely Yankees owner Jacob "the Colonel" Ruppert owed him this opportunity. Managing a big-league squad was the only thing he hadn't done in baseball. Not only was he qualified, but the position would serve as a payback for all that he had done for the franchise. Ruth pleaded his case. "I told him I knew how to handle young pitchers because I had been one myself. I knew how to handle hitters because I was one myself."
Ruppert resisted the idea. All those years of flaunting the team rules when he was younger, requiring both owner and manager to discipline the slugger, were coming back to bite Ruth. Ruppert, with his German accent, always pronounced the Babe's last name "Root." In turning him down, the team owner uttered the famous line that dogged the slugger for the rest of his baseball career: "You can't manage yourself, Root. How do you expect to manage others?"
Ruth had a comeback, though. He wasn't a kid anymore. He was about to turn 35. He had a new wife and was raising two daughters. Ruth tried to convince Ruppert that he had matured. His wild days lay behind him. Besides, he reasoned, who else better to know whether one of the players was getting out of line. "I know every temptation that can come by any kid, and I know how to spot it in advance," he said. "If I didn't know how to handle myself, I wouldn't be playing today."
Ruppert said he would consider it, and Ruth walked out of the meeting thinking that he had a chance. It turns out that he had zero chance. Not only did Ruppert not select Ruth, but the owner further offended his star by not personally informing him. Ruth learned that Bob Shawkey had filled the position through the newspaper, which he promptly threw across the room. That wasn't the end of the matter, however. Ruth writes that he "exacted revenge" from Ruppert by demanding a big salary for 1930. Initially he asked for $100,000, eventually settling for a two-year deal at an unheard-of $160,000. He also informed Ruppert that he wouldn't be as available to play in exhibitions during the Yankees' off-days, another big revenue source for the team owner. ...
[The Yankees hired former P Bob Shawkey, who lasted only one year.]
Shawkey's firing also proved to be another source of frustration and embarrassment for Ruth. Again, the slugger went to Ruppert, asking to be manager. He pleaded his case for a second time. "I don't think [they] realized that I had matured, was finally a grown man with family responsibilities and not the pipe-smoking playboy [Ruppert and Barrow] had pulled the covers off in that hotel room in 1919," Ruth wrote in his autobiography. Ruppert, though, recalled those moments and used them once again to deny Ruth the job. "He recited a long list of my early mistakes - he had somebody look them up-and at the end he shrugged. 'Under those circumstances, Root, how can I turn my team over to you?'"
Ruth believed that if [Joe] McCarthy hadn't become available, he might have had a decent shot at the position. ... Even so, Ruth wrote of yet another snub: "It still hurt," and that hurt lingered for the rest of his life. He desperately wanted to be a manager. Ruth wanted the authority. He wanted to show that he could be a leader of men.
But no one had faith in him to do so. In 1933 he fumed when the Washington Senators named Joe Cronin as a player-manager. Cronin was all of 26 years old. "It made me scratch my head and wonder if I'd ever be mature enough to become a manager," Ruth snarked. He also wrote that Detroit owner Frank Navin had asked if he might be interested in managing the Tigers after the 1934 season. Ruth said yes and asked if he could talk after he returned from a barnstorming commitment in Hawaii. Navin was put off by Ruth's inclination to honor his commitments. Instead, after spending $100,000 to buy Mickey Cochrane from Philadelphia, Navin made the catcher the new manager. "In looking back, I can't help but wonder whether those pennants would have gone to me instead of Mickey if I had run out of the first part of my Hawaiian contract," Ruth wrote.
Ruth was so desperate, he even signed with the lowly Boston Braves in 1935 because of a promise that he would become manager. He soon realized though, that the Braves had no intention of letting him run their team. Jilted and with his skills totally gone, Ruth retired after player only 28 games.