The Bambino in Rutland

To the Editor:

An important Vermont sports history milestone will occur on Sat. Oct. 5, 2019 – the centennial of Boston Red Sox slugger George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr.’s and his BoSox teammates’ Sun. Oct. 5, 1919 exhibition baseball game played at the Rutland fairgrounds on a post-season New England goodwill tour (“Fans See Ruth Hit Mighty Home Run; ‘Babe’ Strikes Out Once, But in 8th Inning Fulfilled Expectations. Rutland Loses 6 to 2,” The Rutland Daily Herald, Mon. Oct. 6, 1919, at p. 10).

The build-up to the event was immense, not surprisingly. The Herald reported that 3,500 fans “came from all parts of Vermont and New York state, and they came principally to see ‘Babe’ Ruth, and they were well rewarded for their journey as the home run king, who is a big fellow over 6 feet tall and who weighs over 225 pounds, connected with the ball for a smashing double and a home run. The latter was one of the highest hit balls ever made in the city and the Rutland outfielder lost sight of it. The ball landed about two feet [beyond] the right field fence.” (Ibid.)

The Rutland Town Team was not without its own firepower as National League player and Boston Braves pitcher Dick Rudolph took the mound for Rutland and struck out Red Sox left fielder, “The Bambino,” on Ruth’s first trip to the plate. Among other of The Babe’s 1919 Red Sox teammates that day on the victorious Boston team were catcher Norm McNeil; first baseman Stuffy McInnis; and Ruth’s outfield mates Braggo Roth and Frank Gilhooley.

Ruth’s appearance as a Red Sox player that day in Rutland was one of the final times that Babe Ruth donned the BoSox uniform. New England sports fan will recall that then Red Sox owner Harry Frazee soon after sold Ruth’s contract to the New York Death Stars/Darth Vaders/Bronx Bombers/Yankees on Fri. Dec. 26, 1919 – a Boxing Day of infamy in Boston/New England sports history.

Christopher E. Ryan

Los Angeles, California

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