Sherman: Why Babe Ruth’s ‘called shot’ still resonates with fans

From SABR member Ed Sherman at The PostGame on April 2, 2014:

Veteran Chicago sportswriter Ed Sherman went to great lengths to research his new book Babe Ruth’s Called Shot: The Myth and Mystery of Baseball’s Greatest Home Run. He spoke with a U.S. Supreme Court Justice who happened to have attended Game 3 of the 1932 World Series as a youngster in Chicago. The debate may continue to rage about whether Ruth actually called his shot before hitting that titanic home run at Wrigley Field, but Sherman’s book provides valuable context and nuance, and if there had been any doubt before this, it also puts the kibosh on Hollywood’s interpretation.


ThePostGame: Without ruining the ending, so to speak, what was the most surprising thing you encountered during your research?
ED SHERMAN: The most surprising element was that there wasn’t just one gesture. From watching the home video that was discovered decades later, you could see that Ruth had a series of gestures where it could be interpreted that he is “calling his shot.” After a ball to make the count 2-1, Ruth can be seen pointing with his arm straight. Is he pointing to centerfield, or is telling the Cubs players to get back into the dugout? This is the gesture we have seen in the still photos of this famous at-bat.

However, after Ruth took a strike to make the count 2-2, you can see him cocking his arm and pointing his finger. Again, what does this mean? Is he saying he has one strike left? Issuing a warning to pitcher Charlie Root? Or calling his shot here?

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Originally published: April 2, 2014. Last Updated: April 2, 2014.