Neil Scherer is a baseball historian and art/vintage sports art dealer, whose collection has been featured in the Mattatuck (Conn.) Museum and beyond. In the first of our new series, Neil takes us back to the 1926 World Series and the prowess of the all-mighty Babe Ruth and does so with memorabilia and relics from the era of the Bambino. Read more of his posts here!
On Oct 6, 1926, Babe Ruth, “The Bambino,” would put on one of the greatest exhibitions of batting, hitting a trio of home runs agains the St. Louis Cardinals at Sportsman Park in Game 4 of the World Series.
The New York Yankees trailed 2 games to 1 and finally broke out of their scoring slump thumping the Cardinal 10-5 and squaring the series. Game 4 Cardinal starter Flint Rhem, who had a career year with 20 wins, struck out Earl Combs and Mark Koenig to start the game before Ruth hit his first of the day landing on Grand Avenue across the Park.
Again in the third inning, Rhem faced Ruth with two outs and threw the Babe a slow ball. Initially the Babe seemed fooled by the deceptive motion but reloaded taking a long slow swipe and banged the ball over the right field pavilion making the score 2-1 Yanks. Herman Bell would face Ruth in the top of the sixth where he connected for his unheard of third Home Run of the game in deep center field.
Grover Cleveland Alexander, who would fall victim to Ruth in the 28 World Series, commented “It was the the longest drive I have seen since I was in baseball.” Ruth admired his prodigious feat thought to travel nearly 600 ft by exclaiming “BOY that was a darling.” Adding to the historic moment was the connection Babe had with sick child named Johnny Sylvester, whom he promised he would hit a home Run for Sylvester in Game 4 and delivered!!
In a twist of fate in Game 7 Ruth would be caught stealing to end the game and giving the Cardinals the 1926 World Series.
Just two years later these same two teams would again play in the Fall Classic. Although, Lou Gehrig had arguably the better Series with .545 batting average & 4 home runs, Ruth would outshine the Iron Horse with his three round trippers on Oct.9, 1928 at Sportsman Park helping the Yankees sweep the Series.
In the 4th inning Ruth hit his first home run off of lefty Bill ‘Wee Willie” Sherdel. The 7th inning turned out to be where the fireworks and controversy occurred. Seemingly Ruth struck out on pitch while arguing with umpire Cy Pfirman after a called second strike. However, Pfirman after lengthy argument declared ‘No Pitch.” Granted a reprieve, Ruth belted his second home run tying the game at 2. One batter later, Gehrig hit the go ahead home run. With the Yanks comfortably ahead Ruth hit his third home run in the 8th off of Grover Alexander which put the icing on the cake for the Yankee victory.
Once again Ruth would end a Series but unlike 1926 he would make a dramatic catch charging in foul territory to snare ball hit by Frankie Frish for the final out.
To celebrate these historic achievements our monumental display includes hard to find tickets from Game 4 of both 1926 and 1928 World Series Game where Ruth’s three home runs took place as well as scored programs from each game. Furthermore, we include the pitchers autographs who fell victim of Ruth’s power Flint Rhem, Herman Bell from 1926 and “Wee Willie” Sherdel and the great Grover Cleveland Alexander in 1928.
Perhaps most interesting items included are the autographs of two umpires, Bill Klem(HOF) from 1926 and Cy Pfirman whose controversial call gave Ruth an opportunity for his heroics in 1928.
Moreover, we include vintage newspaper articles reporting the two World Series games and an image of Ruth, which to the surprise of most visitors is not a photograph, but a painting by noted artist Adam Port. This one of a kind display measuring 63 x 44 inches not only relieves a baseball hero’s achievement but an American icon.
No one has hit three home runs in two World Series games since the Babe to this day!!
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Nice work, Neil!
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