The LuLac Edition #253, June 29th, 2007
PHOTO INDEX: THE BABE, GEORGE HERMAN RUTH (BELOW) AND WELL, THE OTHER BABE, MARIA SHARIPOVA.
SUMMER SPORTS EDITION
One of my favorite sports times of the year is Wimbledon. It has been more appealing since the arrival of that tall girl Maria from Russia. Even though she is very young, there is a sameness to her celebrity. There are the grunts, the menacing looking dad with the Motorola hat in the stands and of course the competitive nature of this fine young athelete. Years ago, when my friend David Dellarte and I played bad tennis at Coal Street Park, we talked about the magic of Wimbledon. It's upon us, let's enjoy it.
THE BABE IN WILKES BARRE
As Barry Bonds comes within shouting distance of Henry Aaron's home run record, here's a fascinating story about Babe Ruth in Kingston's Kirby Park. WBRE TV Sports also had a feature on it Wednesday night.
BILL JENKINSON: "RECALLING BASEBALL'S GREATEST SLUGGER, THE YEAR BABE RUTH HIT 104 HOME RUNS.
And then, there is the magic moment when Jenkinson seeks and finds proofof a 600-foot homer, in Wilkes-Barre, of all places.
"I had heard of supposed 600-foot homers," Jenkinson said, "one in Detroit, one in South Bend. But this is the only one that has 600-feetcredentials after I investigated it.
"Hit it out of Kirby Park, which was part of Artillery Field. There was a running track beyond the stadium. And this homer went over to the far side of the track. When I got there, in 2003, a flood had washed out thetrack. And, from aerial photos, you could see that home plate had been moved 15 feet."And then I found Joe Gibbons, who was 10 at the time of the homer. He saw the whole thing happen. He later was a prisoner of war in World WarII. But he was still lucid when I met him, playing golf every day. "He walked me out there and said, 'Here, this is where the ball landed.'
I added it all up and it never came out less than 600 feet."
The game was played in '26. After the third inning, a pack of boys
scuttled out of the rightfield stands to swarm Ruth. The stampede
knocked him to the ground. When they sorted through the pile of
humanity, Babe popped up grinning and holding on to a 4-year-old boy.
Ruth had kept the kid from being trampled. His name was Frank Lavery,and there's a classic photo of Ruth cradling the kid in his right arm while older boys in newsboy caps cluster around him.
There are photographs of the old ballyards, and spray charts of Ruth's homers and a homer-by-homer list that includes preseason exhibitions and postseason barnstorming. Ruth's incredible career ended in 1935.
Jenkinson can't help wondering whether Ruth couldn't have played longer if the Yankees hadn't foolishly given him two ultimatums."They forbade him from running in spring training," he said bitterly."They said they were 'saving his legs.'
"Other than the year he was sick, his biggest drop-off was between '31 and '32. Overnight, he was transformed into an old man."Well, he had been playing golf every chance he got from the mid-20s. And now, early in the '32 season, the Yankees forbade him from playing golf. "Those 36 holes he used to walk, that's what was holding him together. They took that away, his leg strength vanished, his hitting suffered."
TORRE HITS 2010
Yankee manager Joe Torre finally got his 2010th win passing Leo Durocher on the all time win list. Torre is ninth. It took his team long enough to get him that win. When Torre was hired in 1996, no one ever believed he'd last a year, let alone 12.