For Babe Ruth, Sale Was a Matter of CourseEighty-five years ago Wednesday, the Boston Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. Ruth was playing golf at Griffith Park when he heard the news. Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge, who represents the district that includes Griffith Park, sent along an item from Mike Eberts’ “Griffith Park: A Centennial History.” According to Eberts, Ruth was in Los Angeles, threatening to become a movie star or a boxer if the Red Sox didn’t double his salary to $20,000. Yankee Manager Miller Huggins found Ruth on the course and they went into the clubhouse to talk. “Huggins asked the Babe if he’d like to play for the Yankees,” Eberts wrote. “The Babe said sure – if the Yankees would double his salary to $20,000.” They did. Trivia timeQ: Ruth, in his first season with the Yankees, hit 54 home runs and batted .376. Did he ever finish another season with a better batting average? A: Yes. Ruth batted .378 in 1921, when he hit 59 home runs; .393 in 1923, when he hit 41 homers, and .378 again in 1924, when he hit 46 home runs. Bar examThe question is often asked whether the Baby Ruth candy bar was named after Babe Ruth? That’s the assumption, but the Curtiss Candy Co., which began making the bar in 1921, claimed it was named after Ruth Cleveland, the daughter of President Grover Cleveland. However, that claim has been disputed, because Ruth Cleveland died of diphtheria at the age of 12 in 1904. Maybe it’s a question that will never be answered conclusively. High-priced itemsThe bat that Ruth used to hit his first home run at Yankee Stadium went for $1.25 million at a sports memorabilia auction in New York last month. And a letter Ruth wrote to his mistress in 1922 went for $86,250. No place to jumpOpening day of a horse racing meet at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla., on Monday got off to a rocky start, to say the least. Because of delays in a renovation project, there were no stands and few bathrooms. In place of stands were temporary tents. Making matters worse, the first race had to be called off in mid-race because the tractor used to tow the starting gate got stuck between gears and couldn’t get the gate off the track. A 40-1 shot was leading when the race was called. Track President Scott Savin told the Miami Herald he found himself searching for a place from which to jump. “I was thinking, if I jumped off one of those tents, I would get injured but not killed,” he said. “I looked for something higher.” Makes senseOf the Minnesota Vikings, who backed into the NFL playoffs by losing seven of their final 10 games, Jim Rome said, “They ought to do like Notre Dame and refuse the bid.” Looking backOn Jan. 5, 1988, Pete Maravich died after collapsing during a pickup basketball game at Nazarene church in Pasadena, Calif. He was 40. And finallyRuth once said, “If I’d just tried to hit those dinky singles, I could have batted around .600.” Ruth once said, “If I’d just tried to hit those dinky singles, I could have batted around .600.”
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