Babe Ruth: The Called Shot ?

Sean NeilonContributor IIJanuary 27, 2010

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 11: A general view of the Babe Ruth plaque at Yankee Stadium on September 11, 2008 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The 85 year old ball park will be closed after the 2008 season as the New York Yankees move to the new Yankee Stadium to begin the 2009 season. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

It was October 1st 1932 game 3 of the World Series. The New York Yankees were the visiting team at, the always hostile Wrigley Field, taking on the Chicago Cubs. As Babe Ruth stepped to the plate to face Chicago Cubs pitcher Charlie Root the crowd began to throw various food products in the direction of Ruth. Roots first pitch to Ruth was a called strike; in turn Ruth turned to the Cubs dugout and gave them the finger. The Cubs bench had been heckling Ruth the whole game and was getting particularly nasty this time around as he was at the plate. The next three pitches were two balls and a strike, putting the count on Ruth at 2-2. Then something happened. Ruth made a pointing gesture as Charlie Root was winding up to throw a pitch. The pitch, which was a curve ball, missed Charlie Roots intended spot on the plate. The Babe hit a towering 440 ft homerun close to the flag pole in Wrigley Fields center field.  This would become known as “The Called Shot” and would go down as one of baseball’s greatest moments.  But did it really happen?

There is no dispute over whether Ruth did make a pointing gesture. It has been proven by film and most eye witnesses.  The dispute is over were The Babe was pointing. There are three popular theories of where he was pointing which are: Center field, towards the pitcher (Charlie Root), or the Cubs bench. The grainy video shows Ruth pointing but makes it inconclusive as to where he is actually pointing. Many of opinions of players, fans and writers are given. "Ruth pointed with his bat in his right hand to right field, not to center field. But he definitely called his shot”, said Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez. Cub’s catcher Gabby Hartnett however said, “If he'd pointed to the bleachers, I'd be the first to say so”. Of course, the flamboyant Ruth later said of the famous moment "Well, I looked out at center field and I pointed. I said, 'I'm gonna hit the next pitched ball right past the flagpole!' Well, the good Lord must have been with me." Ruth later told a story, in his 1947 autobiography, of how a fan spit on his wife early in the series and that made him want to get back at the Cubs and their fans. Whatever the reasons were that Ruth used to motivate him in game 3 of the World Series; he had a great game with 2 homeruns and helped push the Yankees to a 7-5 victory. The Yankees would later win game 4 of the World Series and complete a sweep of the Cubs.

No matter what you may believe, the original story that many baseball fans grew up with hearing about seems to fit the best. Whether it is myth or real makes the story of The Babes “Called Shot” more legendary with each passing generation.


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