Ferkovich: When Babe Ruth nearly became the Detroit Tigers’ player-manager

From SABR member Scott Ferkovich at Seamheads.com on July 14, 2014:

By the end of the 1933 season, it was obvious that Babe Ruth didn’t have much left in the tank.

He was coming off a campaign in which he had hit only 34 home runs, with 103 RBIs and a .301 batting average. While very good numbers for mere mortals, this was, after all, the Sultan of Swat. His production had been on the decline for several years. The New York Yankees in ’33 had won 91 games, but finished a distant second to the Washington Senators. Ruth was soon going to be 39 years old. What did the future hold for the greatest home run hitter of all time?

Had you posed the question to Ruth himself, he would likely have expressed his desire to manage a major league baseball team. And not just any baseball team. Ruth’s dream job was to skipper the Yankees. Team owner Jacob Ruppert, however, wasn’t having any of it.

“I am thoroughly satisfied with (manager Joe) McCarthy,” Ruppert affirmed in October. “I never have considered Ruth as McCarthy’s successor. Ruth can remain with the Yankees as a player so long as he is able to walk up to the plate with that big bat on his shoulder and knock out home runs. Even as a pinch-hitter or a weekend player, so to speak, he will be of value to my club and he knows very well that there is no desire on my part to get rid of him. As a matter of fact, no other club in the American League has approached me with a proposition for Ruth as a player or manager.”

Ruppert, however, wasn’t being entirely truthful.

Read the full article here: http://seamheads.com/2014/07/14/a-look-back-at-when-babe-ruth-nearly-became-the-detroit-tigers-player-manager/

Originally published: July 15, 2014. Last Updated: July 15, 2014.