Only Once: The Babe and the “Hebrew Hammer.”
October 7, 2016
Only Once… can it be 84 years since Babe Ruth ‘Called His Shot”: with two strikes on him, the Bambino gestured toward the center field fence at Wrigley Field on October 1, 1932 – the first of Tishrei that year on the Hebrew calendar, Rosh Hashanah, a day to celebrate. The Sultan of Swat celebrated, all right – he hit the next pitch from Cubs’ pitcher Charlie Root to the exact spot he had just pointed to. A whole standing-room-only crowd at Wrigley that day know what they saw… the Babe knew what he just did (he practically danced around the bases, gesturing to the Cubs’ dugout all the way) … the radio announcer knew what he just did (and laughed with delight) as the Babe touched ‘em all. But it happened Only Once… just about 84 years ago today.
Only Once… can it be exactly 70 seasons since the Cubs were last in a World Series. They have been serving their “Seventy Years in Babylonian Exile” Curse for 70 seasons. They were in the 1945 World Series; the seasons started with the following year, 1946. The Cubs and their fans were cursed because THEY cursed someone the Lord blessed: Hank Greenberg. There was also an incident in Game Three of the 1935 Series, with the same two teams, when the Cubs’ bench jockeys got so nasty to Greenberg (even sitting on the bench with a broken wrist) that George Moriarty, the home plate umpire, did something he was specifically forbidden to do by Judge Landis, the Baseball Commissioner himself. He was supposed to get the Commissioner’s permission to eject anybody, but he was so appalled at what the Cubs were saying to Greenberg, he ejected three of them (including the manager). He was fined $200 for doing it (a large sum at the time, especially during the Great Depression) but he didn’t regret doing it. I’m sure similar things were said in 1945 when war-hero Greenberg played in the final four games at Wrigley – the last World Series games EVER played at Wrigley. It can only be 70 seasons Only Once.
Only Once a century … can the Cubs win their first World Series in 108 years… Only Once!