Today in baseball history: Babe Ruth’s called shot

82 years ago today, the New York Yankees traveled to Wrigley Field in Chicago to face the Cubs in game three of the 1932 World Series. The Yankees came into the game up 2-0 in the series, with both wins coming at Yankee Stadium.

In the fifth inning, Babe Ruth stepped up to the plate with one out. After taking strike one, Ruth stepped out of the box, before taking two balls and a strike to make the count 2-2. Ruth then stepped out of the box, with insults being hurled at him from fans and players, and appears to make a gesture. He then steps into the box and hits a home run to center field.

The reason this incident is a big deal is because there is some doubt as to what gesture Ruth made before the home run. Some people say that he “called his shot” and pointed to center field. Others say that he was pointing at Charlie Root, the pitcher, or even the Cubs bench.

After the incident, teammate Lou Gehrig said “What do you think of the nerve of that big monkey, calling his shot and getting away with it?”  When asked about it, Charlie Root, the pitcher, said “If he had made that gesture, I would have knocked him down with the next pitch.”

Ruth himself never confirmed or denied it, as he always danced around the question, presumably to keep the legend alive. Betty Hoyt, who was the wife of Ruth’s former teammate, said “You know, so many people said that he did it (pointed) and others said that he didn’t, but Waite never doubted that it was true. Waite wasn’t there in 1932 when Babe called that shot, but he said that he did see Babe call a shot several years before in a game where he pointed to a place where he was going to hit a homerun and he did. But Waite said ‘I always believed that he did do it.’”

What do you think, did Ruth call his shot, or is it all folk legend?

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