Babe Ruth's Called Shot: The Myth and Mystery of Baseball's Greatest Home Run

Overview

Game 3 of the 1932 World Series between the Cubs and Yankees stood locked at 4-4. Above the almost deafening noise of the 50,000-strong crowd, Babe Ruth could hear the barbs pouring at him from the Cubs’ dugout. He took the first pitch for a strike. Cubs’ pitcher Charlie Root threw two balls, and Ruth watched a fastball cut the corner to set the count at 2 and 2. On the on-deck circle, Lou Gehrig heard Ruth call out to Root: “I’m going to knock the next one down your goddamn throat.” Ruth took a deep breath, ...

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Overview

Game 3 of the 1932 World Series between the Cubs and Yankees stood locked at 4-4. Above the almost deafening noise of the 50,000-strong crowd, Babe Ruth could hear the barbs pouring at him from the Cubs’ dugout. He took the first pitch for a strike. Cubs’ pitcher Charlie Root threw two balls, and Ruth watched a fastball cut the corner to set the count at 2 and 2. On the on-deck circle, Lou Gehrig heard Ruth call out to Root: “I’m going to knock the next one down your goddamn throat.” Ruth took a deep breath, raised his arm, and held out two fingers toward centerfield. Root wound up and threw a change-up curve, low and away. The ball compressed on impact with Ruth’s bat and began its long journey into history, whizzing past the centerfield flag pole (estimates put its distance at nearly 500 feet). Ruth practically sprinted around the bases, flashing four fingers at the Cubs: The series was going to be over in four games. In that moment, the legend of the Called Shot was born, but the debate over what Ruth had actually done on October 1, 1932, had just begun.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Highly entertaining and fascinating ... If you know a baseball fan, it's a perfect gift. ... You'll have to read about it yourself."
—Chicago Tribune

"A fun and accessible history of the Called Shot story."
—Library Journal

"Nothing makes for better reading than terrific reporting, and few singular moments in sports history have been debated, discussed, and researched with the fervor of Babe Ruth's Called Shot. It took place more than 80 years ago, but it is argued about as if it happened last week. Ed Sherman brings it into sharp focus in a uniquely entertaining and greatly detailed way."
—John Feinstein, author of the bestselling A Good Walk Spoiled and Open

“Sherman cuts through the hype and hyperbole to deliver the true history of the event, revealing not just what happened but how and why a single at bat became the stuff of legend.”
—Glenn Stout, bestselling author of Yankees Century and The Cubs and series editor of Best American Sports Writing

"Babe Ruth remains the singular colossus of American sport, and his home run in the fifth inning of Game Three of the 1932 World Series remains the most indelible moment of his career. Ed Sherman takes us back to that afternoon on the North Side, which for so long has remained shrouded in mystery, with this detail-rich biography of the most mythologized at-bat in the annals of the national pastime. Finally we have the definitive account of the so-called Called Shot.
—Jeremy Schaap, six-time Emmy Award winner and author of the New York Times bestselling Cinderella Man

Library Journal
02/15/2014
Sherman (shermanreport.com) explores the facts and myths surrounding one of the oldest and most hotly debated mysteries in American sports—baseball legend Babe Ruth's arguable "called" home run during Game Five of the 1932 World Series against the Chicago Cubs. Eyewitnesses such as players, sportswriters, and game attendees, as well as current sports analysts and owners of grainy, inconclusive video footage, all chime in with varied, often contradictory accounts of what occurred that day at Wrigley Field and what the Bambino's series of hand gestures really meant. Nearly everyone agrees that the Babe, just before smacking a long homer that helped the Yankees win the game and eventually the series, raised one and then two fingers, but whether he was indicating the number of strikes in the at-bat, pointing at hecklers in the Cubs' dugout, or letting everyone know where he intended to land the next pitch, remains a mystery. VERDICT Sherman's research doesn't uncover any definitive answers, but the book succeeds as a fun and accessible history of the "called shot" story, which most Ruth and golden age Yankees fans will enjoy.—DK
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762787876
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2015
  • Pages: 272

Meet the Author

Ed Sherman is co-author of The Great Book of Chicago Sports Lists (Running Press, 2008) and for 27 years was a sports writer for the Chicago Tribune, after which he joined Crain's Chicago Business, where he now writes a daily sports business blog. He won the Excellence in Sports Journalism Award from the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, and his work has appeared in Chicago magazine, ESPN.com, and The Sporting News. He lives in Highland Park, Ill., with his wife and two sons.

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