Middle Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1900-1948

By Dean A. Sullivan | Go to book overview

4
The Age of Ruth

One of the reasons for the enduring popularity of Babe Ruth is that he arrived just when baseball fans needed a reason to smile. Still, fans had to endure the trial of the Black Sox players, plus the tragic death of Ray Chapman, before daring to believe in their game again. The hiring of Kenesaw Mountain Landis as the first baseball commissioner created an impact on all levels of baseball, as he sought to stamp out all traces of gambling in the sport. In the meantime the Negro Leagues—sponsored in large part by African American gamblers—became the most successful black sports enterprise in American history. Baseball took advantage of the baptism of radio to broadcast the World Series to thousands of new fans, the youngest of whom were playing their own versions of baseball on local playgrounds and in schoolyards.


44 Yankees Sign Babe Ruth (1920)

SOURCE: New York Herald, January 6, 1920

The most celebrated—and despised—player transaction in American sports history oc-
curred when Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yan-
kees on December 26. The deal was struck in Los Angeles, where, according to the
Los
Angeles Times, Ruth and Yankee manager Miller Huggins met on a golf course to sign
the necessary paperwork. The article below, the first public acknowledgment of the deal,
offers proof that New Yorkers knew that the deal would immediately transform the Yan-
kees into a contender for years to come, and that Boston fans would never forgive Frazee
.

-91-

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Middle Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1900-1948
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • 1 - A New Century Dawns 1
  • 2 - Baseball and Early-Twentieth-Century Popular Culture 35
  • 3 - Rumblings of Unrest 63
  • 4 - The Age of Ruth 91
  • 5 - Lights, Action, History 139
  • 6 - Baseball in Wartime and Peacetime 181
  • Bibliography 221
  • Acknowledgments 225
  • Index 227
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