Babe Ruth of the Boston Braves announced his retirement from baseball on this date in 1935.
By the end of the 1934 season everyone, Ruth included, knew that he was just about finished as a ballplayer, but he had ambitions to be a manager. Teams regularly mentioned him as a possible future coaching or managerial candidate, but they seemed to do so more to make their future prospects sound interesting rather than spend what it might take to hire him or the time to educate him about team operations.
Heading into 1935, the Boston Braves promised the New York Yankees star a co-ownership deal, the title of vice-president, and the manager’s job at some point in an unspecified future. But the team had no interest in even entertaining the idea of hiring Ruth as manager. A month into the 1935 season, Ruth figured out for himself that the Braves owner had lied to him about ever being a co-owner or a manager, and, perhaps worse, that his body could no longer play baseball at the professional level. He said the team owner had “double-crossed” him, and the owner called the slugger an “imbecile.”
He begged to be allowed to retire, but the team asked him to stay on through Memorial Day, probably for ticket sales (he was still an attraction for the fans if only to watch him swing and miss). On May 25, however, he gave the fans at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field one last glimpse of old Babe Ruth instead of 40-year-old Babe Ruth: he hit three home runs in one game and with one of them he did something no one had yet done: he hit a ball clear out of that cavernous old ballpark. A week later, and a few more games in which he swung at and missed everything, Babe Ruth was gone like that baseball.
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Lou Gehrig died 75 years ago today. Imogene Coca died 15 years ago today.
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Thomas Hardy was born on this date in 1840. Barbara Pym was born on this date in 1913. Milo O’Shea was born 90 years ago today. Marvin Hamlisch would be 72.
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Norton Juster is 87 today. Sally Kellerman is 79. Charlie Watts is 75. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” with the camera on Watts:
Stacy Keach is 75. Jerry Mathers is 68. Dennis Haysbert is 62. Dana Carvey is 61. Wayne Brady is 44. Nikki Cox is 38. Freddy Adu is 27.
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