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Old Posted Dec 4, 2020, 7:28 AM
CaliNative CaliNative is offline
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Originally Posted by CaliNative View Post
Dang. I thought that was Ms. Rand in the film. Sally Rand was there in 1962 or 63 when they welcomed the astronauts to Houston and she did her fan dance in the Houston Coliseum arena downtown. Tom Wolfe wrote about it. Having a fan dancer welcome the astronauts sounds bizarre, but it all worked out and everybody ate massive piles of BBQ beef on paper plates and drank tons of bourbon and had a Texas good time. Did Sally Rand have any success as an actress in Hollywood? I guess not, since she moved on to fan dancing.

I wonder if Sally had a fling with Babe Ruth? That pic above looks like she might have. Maybe some of the others too. Babe loved food, drink and the ladies. He loved life and never pretended to be a saint. His candle burned brightly but went out early. When the Babe was in L.A.he often golfed at the Griffith Park courses. Ruth was a very good golfer. Like his home runs, his drives off the tee went farther than others could hit them, and we're usually accurate. He also loved bowling, hunting and fishing. Babe couldn't remember the names of everyone he knew, so he called many people "kid" (pronounced "keed"), even some of his teammates. A fun loving human dynamo. Most everybody liked the Babe, except opposing pitchers. Babe was also kind to children, since he was basically a big "keed" himself. And probably the greatest all around baseball player ever. Started as a good pitcher who might have had a hall of fame pitching career, but he hit so we'll they put him in the outfield so he could hit every day and he broke all the slugging records. When he hit an amazing 29 home runs with the Red Sox in 1919, nobody could believe it (previous record was half that). The next year with the Yankees he hit 54, more than the rest of the team combined. Amazing.
Originally Posted by Bristolian View Post
I'm intrigued by the belief some hold that Babe Ruth had some African American ancestry and had to keep it secret because of the strict segregation in Major League Baseball.
The era when Ruth played was still very racist. Odious Klan marches were held in Washington in 1925 and 1926, and lynchings were a common event in the south. Players with black ancestry couldn't play in the major leagues until Jackie Robinson broke the barrier in 1947. So when opposing players (apparently including Georgian Ty Cobb) suggested that Ruth might have some black ancestry, that at the time was considered a big insult. The opposing players based their insults on Ruth's slightly dark complexion (he tanned deeply in summer) and some of his facial features. But most authorities I'm aware of say that Ruth was entirely or primarily of German ancestry (although Ruth himself also thought he might have partial Irish ancestry as well). One good source is the fairly recent biography "The Big Bam", which I highly recommend. The book has a very good source index.

In later years, Cobb and Ruth were somewhat friendly to each other, and a couple of times golfed. Cobb, who was very good with money and investments, and became very wealthy, sometimes suggested investments to Ruth, including buying Coca Cola stock (a very good suggestion). Both Cobb and Ruth were in the first Hall of Fame induction class in the late 1930s, and were very friendly and courteous to each other at the induction ceremony. Interestingly, Cobb was #1 in votes to induct, getting slightly more than Ruth. Honus Wagner, Grover Cleveland Alexander, and Walter Johnson were some of the other inductees in the first class.

Ruth was a Democrat, and a big backer of Al Smith in the 1928 presidential election. It didn't hurt that both men were "wets", against prohibition and frequent imbibers. When someone asked why he made more money than President Hoover early in the depression, Ruth joked that he had a better year than Hoover. Ruth was a good Catholic, and a member of the Knights of Columbus. His second wife apparently tamed him somewhat, and his womanizing apparently was reduced, or at least became more discrete.

The later feud between Ruth and Gehrig apparently might have started when Gehrig suspected that his wife Eleanor might have had an affair with Ruth. On the way by ocean liner to Japan in 1934 for a series of baseball exhibition games, Gehrig came across a tipsy Eleanor in Ruth's berth having a drink. Ruth and Gehrig reconciled at Lou's farewell in Yankee Stadium after Gehrig got the fatal disease that still carries his name.

Ruth never got a chance to manage a team, even in the minor leagues, since most owners thought he didn't have the character or perhaps intelligence to do so. In actuality, Ruth was an intelligent and charismatic man (although his memory for names wasn't great), and probably would have been a good manager. It is unfortunate he never got the chance. Traded by the Yankees, Ruth briefly was a player and Vice President for the Boston Braves. He hit his last 3 home runs with the Braves in 1935 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, the last one traveling well over 500 feet. The Big Bam went out with a Big Bang. Later, Ruth briefly served as a first base coach for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Babe died in 1948 from throat cancer. He was only 53. Huge crowds paid their respects at his funeral.

The best film to see Ruth in action is the Gehrig biopic "Pride of the Yankees". Who else could have played Ruth except Ruth? The "Babe Ruth Story" with William "Life of Riley" Bendix as the Big Bam is quite horrid--don't waste your time watching it in its rare appearances on TV. The 1990s TV biopic with John Goodman as Ruth isn't quite as terrible, but is hard to find, and Goodman looks and behaves nothing like Ruth.

Last edited by CaliNative; Dec 4, 2020 at 12:14 PM.
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