Pivotal World Series Moments
Babe Calls His Shot — Or Did He?
1932 World Series Game 3: New York Yankees @ Chicago Cubs
The Yankees won the first two games on their home field, 12-6 and 5-2. If the Cubs were to have a chance, they had to win the third game on their home field.
Bad Blood between Teams
Infielder Mark Koenig played for the Yankees from 1925 into the 1930 season before being traded to the Detroit Tigers. He played most of the 1932 season with the Mission Reds of the Pacific Coast League before being purchased by the Cubs August 5. His .385 batting average contributed to the strong September finish that kept them in first place. Manager Charlie Grimm said, "We wouldn't be in first place if it wasn't for Mark."
When the Cubs clinched the pennant, they met to divvy up their bonus money. They awarded 22 full shares and five partials, including a half-share to Koenig, which turned out to be $2,122.30. That was generous considering that Mark had played in only 33 games.
But the Yankees didn't see it that way. In their minds, the Cubs couldn't have won the pennant without Koenig's contribution. So he deserved a full share. Led by Babe Ruth, they lambasted the Cubs for the injustice done to their former teammate.
During pregame batting practice, fans in the left field bleachers threw a couple of lemons at Babe as he ran under a high fly. He threw them back. When it was his turn to get some swings, he uncorked a series of tremendous drives into the temporary bleachers that awed the early arrivals.

Babe Ruth comes to the plate after hitting three-run homer in first inning.
Three Batters, Three Runs
Wizened veteran Charlie Root, 15-10 during the season, started Game 3 for the home team before 51,000 at Wrigley Field on a beautiful, warm Saturday afternoon with a sharp wind blowing toward right field. His outing started disastrously.
CF Earle Combs hit a grounder to shortstop Billy Jurges, who threw wildly to first base into the Yankee dugout to put Combs on second. 3B Joe Sewell walked. That brought up 37-year-old LF Babe Ruth, who smacked 41 home runs and drove in 137 during the sea­son.
Ignoring the razzing from the fans, the Cubs' dugout, and Root, Ruth clouted a 2-0 pitch into the temporary stands in right center field to put the Yanks up 3-0.
Cubs PA announcer Pat Pieper said, "I heard things you can't print in a family newspa­per. They sure were giving it to the Babe."
Cubs Get One in Bottom of First
The home team got a run off 32-year-old righthander George Pipgrass. 2B Billy Her­man walked. After 3B Woody English flied to left, RF Kiki Cuyler smashed a double off the right field fence, scoring Herman.
Gehrig Gets Run Back
Yankee 1B Lou Gehrig hit the first ball pitched in the third inning into the right-field bleachers to make it 4-1.
Cubs Pull Within One
With one out in the bottom of the third, Cuyler clouted a home run into the right-field bleachers. LF Riggs Stephenson singled to center, then was forced at second by CF Johnny Moore. 1B Charlie Grimm, the Cubs' player-manager, doubled to right to drive home Moore. Yankees 4 Cubs 3
Cubs Tie Score in Fourth
Jurges was credited with a double when his low liner to left field got away from Ruth as he tried to make a shoe-string catch. Good naturedly, Babe doffed his cap in acknowledge­ment of the gleeful cheers of the fans. With two outs and Jurges still on second, 3B Woody English grounded to 2B Tony Lazzeri who fumbled the ball to allow English to reach first. Running on the crack of the bat with two outs, Jurges scored from second. Yankees 4 Cubs 4
Ruth Strikes Again
The Yankees' fifth started with Jurges making a spectacular stop and throw to nip Sewell at first. That brought up Ruth for what would turn into one of the most famous and certainly the most controversial at-bat in World Series history.
Ruth recalled the at-bat in an interview with journalist John Carmichael in 1945.
I didn't know whether they were gonna get on me any more or not when I got to the box, but I saw a lemon rolling out to the plate and I looked over and there was (P Pat) Malone and (P Burleigh) Grimes with their thumbs in their ears wiggling their fingers at me.
I told (C Gabby) Hartnett: "If that bum (Root) throws me in here, I'll hit it over the fence again," and I'll say for Gabby, he didn't answer, but those other guys were standing up in the dugout, cocky because they'd got four runs back and everybody hollerin'. So I just changed my mind. I took two strikes and after each one I held up my finger and said: "That's one" and "that's two." Ask Gabby...he could hear me. Then's when I waved to the fence!
Let John Drebinger of the New York Times describe what happened.
A single lemon rolled out to the plate as Ruth came up in the fifth and in no mista­ken motions the Babe notified the crowd that the nature of his retaliation would be a wallop right out the confines of the park. Root pitched two balls and two strikes, while Ruth signaled with his fingers each pitch to let the spectators know exactly how the situation stood. Then the mightiest blow of all fell. It was a tremendous smash that bore straight down the center of the field in an enormous arc, came down alongside the flagpole and disappeared behind the corner formed by the scoreboard and the end of the right-field bleachers.
It was Ruth's fifteenth home run in world's series competition and easily one of his most gorgeous. The crowd, suddenly unmindful of everything save that it had just witnessed an epic feat, hailed the Babe with a salvo of applause.
The Babe had a good laugh at the expense of the Cubs on the bench who directed some uncomplimentary remarks at him just before he walloped his second homer. The drive effectually silenced the bench-warmers.

Lou Gehrig congratulates Babe Ruth after his "called shot."
Gehrig followed Ruth's clout with his second of the game, again to deep right field. Yankees 6 Cubs 4
Each team scored a run in the 9th. The Yanks' tally was unearned thanks to two errors and a double by RF Ben Chapman. The Cubs scored on C Gabby Hartnett's home run.
The Yanks romped the next day, 13-6, to finish the sweep.
The controversy produced by Ruth's wallop centered around whether he "called his shot" by pointing to the exact area where his homer would land. Ruth settled the matter in his conversation with Carmichael.
Nobody but a blankety-blank fool woulda done what I did that day. When I think of what-a idiot I'd a been if I'd struck out and I could-a, too, just as well as not because I was made and I'd made up my mind to swing at the next pitch if I could reach it with a bat. Boy, when I think of the good breaks in my life...that was one of 'em! ...
But right now I want to settle all arguments: I didn't exactly point to any spot, like the flagpole. Anyway, I didn't mean to. I just sorta waved at the whole fence, but that was foolish enough. All I wanted to do was give that thing a ride...outta the park...anywhere.
No, I didn't point to any spot, but as long as I'd called the first two strikes on myself, I hadda go through with it. It was damned foolishness, sure, but I just felt like doing it and I felt pretty sure Root would put one close enough for me to cut at, because I was showin' him up. What the hell, he hadda take a chance as well as I did or walk me?
Gosh, that was a great feelin' ... gettin' a hold of that ball and I knew it was going someplace ... yes sir, you can feel it in your hands when you've laid wood on one. How that mob howled. Me? I just laughed ... laughed to myself around the bases and thinking: "You lucky bum ... lucky, lucky" and I looked at poor Charlie (Root) watch­in' me and then I saw Art Fletcher (Yankee coach) at third wavin' his cap and be­hind him I could see the Cubs and I just stopped on third and laughed out loud and slapped my knees and yelled: "Squeeze-the-Eagle-Club" so they'd know I was refer­rin' to Koenig and for special to Malone. I called him "meat-head" and asked when he was gonna pitch.
Yeah, it was silly. I was a blankety-blank fool. But I got away with it and after Gehrig homered, behind me, their backs were broken. That was a day to talk about.
My Greatest Day in Baseball as told to John P. Carmichael and other noted sportswriters (1945)
Babe Ruth's Called Shot: The Myth and Mystery of Baseball's Greatest Home Run, Ed Sherman (2014)