One of the most prominent stories in baseball folklore is New York Yankees legend Babe Ruth calling his shot in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series against the Chicago Cubs and then executing with a home run.
Whether Ruth actually did point to where he was going to hit the ball has always been in question but newly discovered audio of Lou Gehrig rehashing the tale may confirm the myth.
“I’ve played a lot of baseball but I have never seen so much nerve on display before,” Gehrig is heard on a radio show days after the infamous home run.
Author Dan Joseph, who wrote “Last Ride of the Iron Horse: How Lou Gehrig Fought ALS to Play One Final Championship Season,” told MLB.com he first heard the audio while researching his books last year and didn’t find this particular clip until he was nearly finished with the story.
“My book was pretty much written and ready to be published by then, and [the clip] didn’t really fit the focus,” he said. “So I’ve just been hanging onto it, waiting for the right moment to put it out there.”
Gehrig was reading from a script while telling the story, which was the norm of that time.
“Everybody agreed that the high point of the whole works was Babe’s homer in the fifth inning of the third game out in Chicago,” the legendary first baseman says.
“So what does he do? He stands up there and tells the world that he’s going to sock that next one. And not only that, but he tells the world right where he’s going to sock it, into the center-field stands. A few seconds later, the ball was just where he pointed, in the center-field stands. He called his shot and then made it. I ask you: What can you do with a guy like that.”
Joseph admitted that before he heard the audio he was skeptical the “Called Shot” happened.
“I thought it was a sportswriter’s myth. After hearing Gehrig, who was the on-deck hitter, now I’m inclined to believe that he did it. Gehrig had a reputation for being a very honest, very upright type of person. I don’t think he would have said it unless it reflected what he really saw and believed. This is maybe not slam-dunk proof that Ruth called his shot, but it shifts the scale toward the ‘yes he did’ side,’” he said.
Thursday was the 88th anniversary of the home run.