Babe Ruth had believed the hype. He was convinced that his visit to Japan had sealed the friendship between the two countries and forestalled any possible war. After all, the Sporting News, New York Times, Washington Post, and even Connie Mack had said so. On top of that, Ruth had seen the hundreds of thousands waving American flags, chanting his name, clamoring for an autograph or handshake. He could not believe that such a friendly people, who also shared a passion for the game of baseball, would ever attack the United States.
He learned of the attack in his luxurious fifteenth-floor, elevenroom apartment at 173 Riverside Drive. Unlike Horio and Berg, who were overwhelmed by sadness, Ruth was absolutely furious. For him, Pearl Harbor was a personal betrayal. Cursing the double-crossing SOBS, he heaved open the living room window that looked out over Riverside Drive to the Hudson River. Claire had decorated the room with souvenirs from the Asian tour—porcelain vases and plates, exquisite dolls, the bronze vases the Babe won as the tour’s top batter, and various sundries. The Babe stormed to the mantle, grabbed a vase, and tossed it out the window. It crashed on the street below. Other souvenirs followed as Ruth kept up a tirade about the Japanese. Claire rushed around the room, gathering up the most valuable items before they joined the pile on Riverside Drive. She managed to save the dolls and the bronze vases.1
The Sultan of Swat knew how to take revenge. Using the same charisma that made him an idol in Japan, he threw himself into the war effort, raising money to defeat the Japanese and their allies. Ruth worked closely with the Red Cross, making celebrity appearances, playing in old-timer games, visiting hospitals, and even going door-