Forgive me if I can’t cite a specific source, but I ‘m guessing more books have been written about Babe Ruth than any other athlete. Stand to reason; Ruth made his major league debut 100 years ago as a phenom for the Boston Red Sox, so there’s been a lot of time to digest what he’s meant to the national pastime, especially in the aftermath of the Black Sox scandal when he was given almost total credit for “saving the game.”
Remember, Ruth played at a time when there was no television, and even radio was in its early years of sports coverage. So the responsibility fell to the writers, hence so many articles and books, even now.
In Babe Ruth’s Called Shot: The Myth and Mystery of Baseball’s Greatest Home Run, Ed Sherman, a longtime sportswriter for the Chicago Tribune and the host of ShermanReport.com, a national website on sports media, focuses on perhaps the one “defining moment” in a superlative career.
Through interviews with people who were actually at the event (including former Supreme Court Justice John Stevens and Lincoln Landis, nephew of then-Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain), newspaper reports of the day and afterwards quoting Ruth, his Yankee teammates and Chicago Cubs opponents), family members (Ruth’s daughter and granddaughter), and even the current owner of the film which purports to be the final answer, Sherman attempts to determine once and for all about Ruth’s signature moment — did he or didn’t he?
Sherman, who will discuss his work at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse on Thursday, May, 7 talked with me recently about the frustration in trying to find the answers. (Full disclosure: Sherman did this Q&A with me last July based on 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die.)