Category Archives: sports

Babe Ruth

Two years before he left Boston to play for the Yankees, Babe Ruth thought about signing with the Chester Shipyard League

With his win over Philadelphia on the last day of August, Babe Ruth helped the 1918 Red Sox clinch the AL pennant. (Boston will not win another pennant until 1946).  That year as a pitcher, he went 13-7; his ERA was 2.22 & he pitched one shutout. He also started 59 games in left & 13 at first. As a batter that season, Ruth compiled 317 at-bats (his previous high was 136); hit 11 home runs in a year when home runs in the American League had totaled 98, & drove in 66 runs & hit for a .300 average.

In the World Series against the Chicago Cubs, Ruth was used as a pitcher (he had only 5 at-bats). He won the first game 1-0, pitching a complete game.  During the 7th inning stretch of  that game, which was played at Comiskey Park, a military band played “The Star Spangled Banner” although it had not yet been adopted as the national anthem. The custom of playing it before every game won’t begin until WW II. Ruth then pitched in the fourth game (the Red Sox held a 2-1 Series lead) & shutout the Cubs for 7 innings before being relieved in the 9th. The Red Sox won the game 3-2. The seven shutout innings, combined with the 9 he had pitched in the Series opener & the 13 he had pitched in the 1916 Series, gave him 29 consecutive scoreless World Series innings, which broke Christy Mathewson’s previous record of 28 in 1905. It was a record that would stand for 42 years. The Red Sox won the World Series in game six at Fenway Park.  It would be the team’s third title in 4 years & fifth overall (five of the first 15 World Series).

Ruth, who never really got along with manager Ed Barrow, even threatened to leave the Red Sox to play for the Chester Shipyard League, a semiprofessional team in Chester, Pennsylvania.  But Harry Frazee, the Red Sox owner, threatened a lawsuit & put an end to Ruth’s proposed mutiny. (photos credits: AP/Library of Congress; inset – Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum)


Maravich, Peter Press

“Pistol Pete,” born: June 22, 1947 in Aliquippa, Pa. died: January 5, 1988 (40 years old). Elected to NBA Hall of Fame in 1987 – until he hit the court, few had played the game with such flare, quickness of a pull-up jumper & ball-handling ability.
Maravich, the 6-5 guard, scored more points in college than any other player in history. In only three years playing (freshman could not play varsity) for his father Press at LSU, Maravich scored 3,667 points – 1,138 points in 1968, 1,148 points in 1969 & 1,381 points in 1970 while averaging 43.8, 44.2 & 44.5 ppg (without the benefit of a three-point line). Named a 3-time All-American, led the NCAA in scoring three times. He also set an NCAA record by scoring more than 50 points 28 times. The 1970 College Player of the Year was selected third overall in the NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks, [in 1970 Bob Lanier, a 6-11 former All-American from St. Bonaventure, was chosen with Detroit’s No. 1 pick, San Diego Rockets drafted Rudy Tomjanovich out of Michigan]. He averaged 23.2 ppg his rookie season. After spending four seasons in Atlanta, Maravich was traded to the New Orleans Jazz. He made the All-NBA First Team in 1976 & ’77 & the All-NBA Second Team in 1973 & ’78. He led the NBA in scoring in 1977 with a personal high 31.1 ppg. Maravich finished his career with the Utah Jazz & the Boston Celtics in 1980. In ten NBA seasons, Maravich scored 15,948 points in 658 games for a 24.2 ppg average. His NBA single game high, 68-points, came against the New York Knicks on February 25, 1977.
[from Wikipedia] A leg injury during the 1977-78 NBA season started the downward spiral into alcoholism, & signaled the decline of his career. After the injury forced him to leave basketball in the fall of 1980, Maravich became a recluse for two years. Through it all, Maravich said he was searching “for life.”…In 1982, he became a Christian & began traveling the country sharing his new found faith.
On January 5, 1988, Maravich collapsed & died, at age 40, of a heart attack just after playing in a pickup basketball game in the gym at the First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena with a group that included Focus on the Family head James Dobson. (Maravich had flown out from his home in Louisiana to tape a segment for Dobson’s radio show later that day.) An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be a rare congenital defect; he had been born with a missing left coronary artery, a vessel which supplies blood to the muscle fibers of the heart. His right coronary artery was grossly enlarged and had been compensating for the defect.

Berwanger, Jay

(1914-2002) first winner of the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy in 1935 (later renamed the Heisman Trophy). Halfback for the Univ. of Chicago Maroons, then a member of the Big Ten. In a 1934 game against Michigan, he played against future President Gerald Ford. In 1936, he was the first player to be selected by the NFL’s initial college draft by the Phila. Eagles who traded his rights to the Chicago Bears. However, he chose not to turn professional & never played in the NFL.