Friday, March 30, 2012


There have been many stories surrounding George Herman "Babe Ruth's" visits to Syracuse. Some true, some false and some magnified with the passing of time. Through my thirty+ year effort to construct the baseball history of Syracuse. Here is a brief history of Babe Ruth's visits for your enjoyment..

August 9, 1922
 Babe Ruth first arrives in Syracuse by train at 7 A.M. with members of the New York Yankees who were in Syracuse for an exhibition game against the Syracuse Stars at Star Park the next afternoon.

At 9 A.M. Babe Ruth placed himself at the disposal of the Herald Newspaper for which he has been a special writer for the past two years. He spent more than an hour at the Herald visiting with employees discussing the major league pennant races and having fun with Buddy O'Hara the eight year old son of E.A. O'Hara business manager who had his son dressed in a Babe Ruth baseball uniform. Also on hand was Faddy Cady son of Alderman Cady to greet the great slugger.

At 10:30 A.M. Ruth and his party departed for Burnet Park. There they found the House of Providence playing a ball game against the Columbia Athletic Club of the Babe Ruth Juvenile League. Already under way, the game was halted for a moment when Ruth arrived. Not only the 5,000 spectators, but the youngsters in the game rushed the auto that Ruth was seated. Mounted police finally came to the Babe's rescue.

At last Ruth himself paved the way to restore order by walking to the center of the diamond declaring himself the games umpire. He ordered the players back to their positions. For four innings the Columbia A.C. ran up a 6 to 1 lead. When Columbia came to bat the "Mighty Bambino" stepped up to bat to the cheer of the crowd. He used a small players game bat that did not suit him but used it anyways. Brenan the crafty House of Providence pitcher struck out the Babe on three swings. Ruth asked for another chance and this time hit it squarely over the right fielder's head. He repeatedly hit singles and doubles in a few more swings. No sooner had he put the bat down the crowd of 5,000 surrounded him. He zigged and zagged finally arriving at his auto. But fans armed with fountain pens, bats, gloves and note books made it impossible to start the vehicle. The Babe's auto moved slowly through the crowd and finally exited the park.

To the surprise of everyone he returned moments later when he remembered he had promised Father James Magee the Paster of St. Patrick's Church a picture together. As the car arrived back in the park this caused one more demonstration. A photo was taken of Ruth with Father Magee along with Biddy O'Hara and Faddy Cady. The Babe then returned to his base of operation the Onondaga Hotel.

August 10, 1922
Ruth played in the exhibition game with the New York Yankees at Star Park (West Genesee Street). The Babe went 1-5 in the game as the Yankees defeated the Syracuse Stars 5-2

August 18, 1923
Babe Ruth and his manager Christy Walsh departed their train at 6:20 Syracuse (on there way to Rochester) arriving at the Herald Newspaper at 7 AM. They met with reporters and stopped for breakfast. Christy Walsh arranged to have 20 cases of Babe Ruth Candy Bars sent to the newspaper as samples. He did a bit of typing and helped with the daily newspaper make-up and became "Editor of the Day". Ruth writes baseball articles daily for the Herald promoting his "All-American Team" nominations, and otherwise keeping sports pages toned up. The Herald was one of the most active papers using the Babe's new stories, promoting his contests, that sent as many as eight winners to the World Series.

At 9 A.M. he stepped out on to a little balcony one story up from the ground on the Herald Building. The Babe started tossing candy bars to the crowd as they passed by. Soon all traffic was blocked in downtown Syracuse. He also makes an appearance at the Municipal Day Celebration at Clinton Square as guest of the Herald Newspaper and the Kiwanis Club.

Ruth and his syndicated manager, Christy Walsh were top in cooperation. There was no half-way about either gentleman. The total visit lasted six and a half hours...a short but great memory in Syracuse Baseball History.

August 19, 1924
Ruth plays in an exhibition game as the Yankees met the Syracuse Stars at Archbold Stadium. The benefit for the Police & Firemen Pension Fund delighted the crowd of 10,000 baseball fans. The Stars defeated the NY Yankees 12-8 with Ruth going 2-4. During batting practice "The Babe" hit the longest ball ever out of the stadium. It went totally over the press box in right field.

October 4, 1927
Babe Ruth appears at the Temple Theater promoting his new film "Babe Come Home". Note- The films opening night was October 2.

October 14, 1928
Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig arrive in Syracuse for an exhibition game at Star Park- West Genesee Street. But the game was canceled by rain so they attended the Syracuse- Colgate football game played at Archbold Stadium.

October 21, 1928
A week later, Ruth & Gehrig returned for the rescheduled exhibition contest at Star Park. Ruth's Bustin Babes" team comprised of players from the Post Standard League Champion Scared Hearts team that included Al & Reggie Grabowski. Gehrig teamed up with some of Central NewYork's finest player's such as Bill Kelly, Jimmy Walsh and Henry "Dutch" Dotterer. Prior to the start of the contest "The Babe" downed eighteen hot dogs before taking the field at Star Park that afternoon.

The finals score- Gehrig's-9, Ruth's-2, the Bambino went 1-4. Ruth played first base and pitched. Bill Kelly was the star as he hit a tremendous home run off Ruth. Ruth was quoted as saying " Bill hit it so far it may never land". After the game Ruth, Gehrig and the players partied into the night at the Haberle Brewery on Butternut Street.

June 4, 1938
Ruth appears in an exhibition game as his Brooklyn Dodgers played the Syracuse Chiefs at what was then called Municpal Stadium (renamed MacArthur in 1942). Although a Dodger coach, Ruth played first base getting a single in three trips to the plate. The final  score- Dodgers 9, Chiefs 0, before 11,600 fans.

June 4, 1947
The Babe's last visit to Syracuse. Ruth arrives by plane from New York City. He establishes his headquarters at the Onondaga Hotel as a guest of the American Legion.

Babe Ruth's's visit is in connection with his promotion of Juvenile Baseball for the Ford Motor Company. Ford Dealers of America were loaning his services to American Legion Baseball Leagues. The Babe will attend Legion Night at MacArthur Stadium in July 5, Central New York Post #41's team will play against Cooper Marina Post of Rochester in the first half of a Syracuse Chiefs doubleheader.

June 5, 1947
Ruth attends the game with his nurse Muriel Holland and was seated along side of friends Jimmy Walsh (ex-teammate), George "Hooks" Wiltse, Bill Dinneen and Ben Egan, 9,000 fans were on hand as "The Babe" wore a dark brown suit and a tan hit. His speech read "I played in Syracuse many times, and I'm sure glad to be back". Ruth's gravel voice was a result of a serious neck operation. His few remarks climaxed the American Legion festivities.

Ben Egan presented "The Babe" was a silver pitcher from the Oneida Community. Ruth the recalled Ben Egan then as a Yankee rookie catcher. Ben called for a waste pitch, Ruth threw one waste high. "That was the last time we ever saw that ball, said the Babe.

With Ben Egan as catcher, Jimmy Walsh on the mound, "Hooks" Wiltse on first base and Bill Dinneen as umpire. "The Babe" stepped up to the plate for a swing, Walsh's pitch was wide and Ruth gave it up. H was driven out of the stadium after making his speech. The last sight Syracusan's ever had of the mighty Babe as he died a year later.

Other Visits
Babe Ruth made other visits to Syracuse, some to purchase autos from the Franklin Auto Company on Geddes Street. He also purchased many of his bats from the Joseph G. Kren Bat Company on the city's northside.

The Babe Ruth sage continued into the 1980's, as his daughter Dorthy (Ruth) Perone and her husband Dominick were very special guest of the Syracuse Chiefs at "Hot Stove Night". Their grandson was attending Syracuse University at the time. We are sorry to say that they both died a short time after. Syracuse baseball lost two very special fans.

No comments:

Post a Comment