On this day in 1943: In a war-benefit exhibition game at Yankee Stadium, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams meet in uniform for the second and last time during their careers.
Ruth, 48 and long retired, manages and pinch-hits for a team of New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians. Williams, 24, plays for the North Carolina Pre-Flight Cloudbusters, made up of major leaguers undergoing training at Marine pre-flight school in Chapel Hill.
On this day in 1917: Boston Red Sox pitcher Babe Ruth, not yet a famous outfielder, walks the Washington Senators’ lead-off batter and is ejected from the game for arguing with the umpire.
Ernie Shore, an East Bend native and Guilford College graduate, comes on in relief, the base runner is thrown out attempting to steal and Shore retires the next 26 batters in order. After considerable debate, baseball officials credit Shore, who later in life will become sheriff of Forsyth County, with a rare perfect game.
— “Ruth’s hit carried at least 600 feet… certainly a record that will stand for all time in Winston-Salem.”
— Amnesia? A faked death? Or what?
— “A preservationist by nature” from Durham blows his Maine chance.
— Scavenged from Monitor repair job — and turned into a doll cradle!
— So what comes after ZZZ?
On this day in 1926: Babe Ruth visits Charlotte for a spring training exhibition and sets the town on its ear.
Before the game he gives the local press a brief hotel-room interview. Reclining nude beneath a sheet and smoking a large cigar, he remarks on Southern women (“all they were cracked up to be”) and the demands of celebrity (“Not exactly annoying. One gets used to it. Doesn’t one?”).
A crowd of 4,000 jams Wearn Field to see the potent Yankees toy with the Brooklyn Robins (later Dodgers). To give Ruth’s legion of admiring kids a better look, the Yankees move him from right field to left. They swarm out of the stands and spill into the outfield.
In the seventh inning Ruth grants the crowd its wish. In the words of Observer sports columnist Jake Wade: “Ruth had previously singled, but that only whetted the appetite of the hungry mob. They had come from miles around to see Babe Ruth knock a home run. Nothing else would satisfy them.
“The Bambino took his stout stand at the plate. With the air tense with excitement, he slammed one of Williams’ fast ones out of the park, bringing home Paschal and Gehrig ahead of him. Immediately after the smash of the Bam, the crowds began to file out of the grandstand. Everybody was happy.”