The New York Yankees won the first two games of the 1932 World Series at Yankee Stadium and were at Wrigley Field for Game 3. A war of words had developed between Babe Ruth and the Chicago Cubs. One of the key players in the Chicago Cubs’ 1932 pennant drive was Babe Ruth’s friend and former teammate, Mark Koenig. Acquired late in the season when Chicago’s starting shortstop was injured, Koenig batted. 353 in 33 crucial games. However the Chicago Cubs voted to give Koenig just a half share of their World Series money. When Babe Ruth found out he was outraged.
He called the Cubs cheapskates. They called him “beer belly” and said he was washed up. Chicago Cub Babe168 fans got into the act, verbally attacking Babe Ruth and his wife when they arrived at the Chicago train station. He needed a police escort to get to his hotel. Once game 3 started, the 37 year old slugger was jeered relentlessly. He was booed when he homered in the first inning and laughed when he made an error in the fourth. As he stepped to the plate in the fifth with the score tied 4-4, insults were flying everywhere.
As the Babe prepared to face cub hurler Charlie Root, Chicago fans howled their displeasure. Someone even tossed a lemon onto the field. Over in the Chicago Cubs dugout the players were hooting at him and clutching their throats, as if to say he choked on the fly ball that he missed in the fourth.
The Babe was fed up. He turned to Chicago catcher Gabby Hartnett and told him that if Root threw a pitch over the plate, he would hit the ball out. Sure enough, Root zipped one in, but Ruth just looked at it. Strike one. The fans roared, but the Babe Babe168 RTP calmly raised one finger as if to say, “It only takes one.” After two balls followed, Babe Ruth watched the fourth pitch go by, and when the umpire called strike two, the fans’ screams were deafening. The Babe lifted a couple of fingers to indicate there were only two strikes. With the Chicago Cubs’ insults growing ruder and more cruel, Babe Ruth turned to the pitcher and said, “I’m going to knock the next pitch right down your….throat,” and with that, Ruth raised his hand and pointed toward the outfield.
Charlie Root fired again, and Ruth swung savagely, sending the ball high over the center field wall. As Ruth trotted around the bases, he laughed and said to himself, “You lucky bum.” As he passed first basemen Charlie Grimm, Ruth quipped, “Go get the ball and I’ll autograph it for you.” By the time he reached home plate, even Cub fans were cheering for him.
To this day, Ruth’s blast is the most controversial hit in baseball history. Years later, when the Babe was asked if he really pointed to a spot in center field before hitting his home run, Babe Ruth said, “I didn’t exactly point to one spot. All I wanted to do was to give that thing a ride out of the park, anywhere.”