The ’32 Yankees were one of the greatest teams of all time, winning 107 games against only 47 losses and finishing 13 games ahead of the Philadelphia Athletics in the American League pennant race. Their National League rivals were no slouches themselves, having won 90 games during the regular season, but the Yankee juggernaut swept all four games of the Series by a combined score of 37 to 19. For the third game in Wrigley Field, with the Cubs down two games to none, an overflow crowd of almost 50,000, mostly partisan fans, jammed into every part of the field, yelling epithets at the pin?striped invaders from the east and especially at their great, but now fat and aging, left?fielder.
After blasting a three?run homer into the right?field bleachers in the first inning and later sending a long fly ball to the right center-field fence in the third, Ruth approached the batter’s box in the fifth inning to a chorus of boos and catcalls. Taking two pitches across the plate, he raised first one, then two, fingers to acknowledge the number of strikes against him. Ruth told the Cubs catcher that it only took one pitch to hit it, then yelled out to Root on the mound something like, “I’m going to knock the next pitch down your blankety?blank throat.” He also, according to many in attendance at the game, made a grand gesture before stepping back in to face the next pitch. They swore that he pointed to the center-field bleachers, suggesting that he would park the next pitch there, and then he proceeded to do exactly that. Other observers believed he simply was signaling that he knew there were two strikes against him (the count was two balls and two strikes). In baseball lore the moment goes down as the time that Babe Ruth “called his shot” against the hapless Charlie Root (who, by the way, went on to compile an excellent career record of 201 victories against 160 losses, although he stood 0?3 in World Series play). 25
There is no evidence to indicate that Babe Ruth ever played an inning of baseball in Mansfield, Missouri, although he frequently went on barn?storming tours around the country after the regular season ended. Along with Babe Ruth and several other hurlers on the Boston Red Sox during the late teens, he was part of one of the best mound staffs of the era. Then, just one year before Ruth was traded over to New York, Mays was sent there himself, and from 1920 through 1923 they helped convert the hapless Yankees into one of the best teams in baseball.
In August 1920, with twilight descending, an in the left temple with one of his deceptive underhanded curveballs, which were difficult enough for batters to pick up in broad daylight. Mays, a tough, hard?nosed competitor who intimidated batters by brushing them back with pitches on their chin, was not well?liked around the league either by the players or the fans. Although he was teammates with Mays for the better part of a decade, the Babe had a very different personality and never much cared for him. 26