These youngsters ganged Babe Ruth in Newark and held him up for autographs during one of his games before he retired from baseball.
(Originally published by the Daily News on June 3, 1935. This story was written by George Dixon.)
BOSTON, June 2. – Calling Judge Emil Fuchs a “double-crosser” and a “liar,” Babe Ruth today severed his connection with the Boston Braves, and, at the same time, announced his voluntary retirement from baseball. The Ruth announcement, delivered in the clubhouse after a game in which the Braves beat the Giants, 2 to 0, produced consternation. The Bam, cursing and swearing in rage, declared that if he had to work “for a man like Fuchs” he would never lift another bat to his shoulders.
Judge Fuchs made sure of that later on in the evening when he gave the Great Man his unconditional release. Hence, for the first time since he signed a pro contract, Ruth was a free man. Before he received this release, however, Ruth announced that he had sent his resignation by messenger, giving up the $ 35,000 job as assistant manager and vice president.
“Vice President? Ha, Ha,” he laughed mirthlessly. “Fuchs can take that vice presidency and – well, he knows what he can do with it. What the hell did it ever mean anyway? It was a joke, a gag.”
Ruth said he would not hold Fuchs to the civil contract which he obtained from the Braves’ boss in addition to his regular player’s contract.
“He can tear that contract up,” snarled Babe. “I don’t want another damn thing from him – the dirty double-crosser. I don’t want to have anything more to do with a man like that. He says he loves baseball. Yes, he does – like Hell he does.”
Reports that the outstanding player of all time was on his way out seeped through the crowd while the ball game was in progress. The report at the time, however, was that Fuchs was about to demand his resignation, branding Babe a trouble-maker and a malingerer who feigned illness to get out of playing. In the midst of the whispering and rumors Fuchs sent a statement to the press box that was a classic in innuendo but which left the whole business up in the air.
Ruth, in a spotless white uniform that showed he hadn’t so much as engaged in batting practice since it was laundered, met the press in the trainer’s room of the clubhouse. Closing the door he began:
“Fellows, you all know me and we’re pals. It hurts like hell to say what I’m going to tell you. I’m through with this club. I am going to ask to be put on the voluntary retired list tomorrow night.”
Still Loves Baseball.
“Understand me, I am not through with baseball if I can get anything through worthwhile to do. I love the game. I still want to be a manager. But I positively won’t be associated any longer with this man Fuchs.
“I thought in Pittsburgh, when I hit those three home runs, every thing would be nice, but I was hurt in Cincinnati and couldn’t get going again. Fuchs was nasty about it but I was hurt and that’s all there was to it.
“Tomorrow I’ve got to go to Bridgeport, Conn., with the club to play an exhibition game. Here’s what happened: I got an invitation to go to New York to attend a celebration on the arrival of that French boat, the Normandie. I thought it would be a great thing for baseball, the publicity and all.
“I called up Fuchs and told him I thought it would be a great thing. He snarled at me and said: ‘Nothing doing. You get out in uniform with the club for the exhibition game.’ What do you think of that? I can’t work with that kind of a guy.
“Then you’ve had words with Judge Fuchs?” the writer suggested.
“Word, Ha! Ha! words, you’re damn right I’ve had words. He thinks he’s smart but he isn’t, not really.”
“What did you call him?”
“I’ll tell you but you can’t put it in the papers,” he said.
“If Fuchs was out, would you come back to the club? There is a report that Fuchs will be out in a couple of weeks; that the club will be reorganized,” it was suggested.
“You bet I’ll come back. Just watch me,” the Babe replied vehemently.
Still Answering Questions.
Babe Ruth phone the missus of the deal which sends him to Boston Braves. Judge Emil Fuchs with hand on Babe’s shoulder. Ruth called Fuchs a “double-crosser” before retiring.
Boston Braves Babe Ruth appears in this March 10, 1935 photo.
Babe Ruth in Braves uniform 3/10/35
Posed batting shot of Babe Ruth in a Boston Braves uniform 3/20/35
“What is your real grievance against Fuchs?” the inquisitors continued.
“He’s been double crossing me so much.”
“How do you mean double-crossing you?”
“He keeps telling me he’s been losing $ 2,000,000 on the club. If he had any $ 2,000,000 I’d like to have seen it.”
“Plenty, but I won’t discuss it now. But he’s a double-crosser and I’m through with him.”
Babe said reports that his real trouble was with Bill McKechnie, Braves’ manager, were untrue.
“I’ve been getting along fine with Bill,” he said. “He knows me now and he knows I’m a gentleman. I wasn’t trying to steal his job like a lot of people said. Bill is my pal.”
“What about jealousy among the other players?”
“That’s baloney, too. When I told them I was quitting today they gave me a ball with all their names autographed on it.”
Babe Ruth with Dizzy Dean.
Boston Braves Babe Ruth batting against the Yankees in spring training in 1935
The interview was ending when McKechnie and Rabbit Maranville, Babe’s old sidekick, came into the dressing room.
“Sorry to see you go, Babe,” said Bill, thrusting out his hand.
“Me, too,” said Maranville. “You know it wasn’t anything I had against you, Babe.”
McKechnie denied reports that Babe had caused dissension on the team because of special privileges accorded him – namely, the right to drink highballs on the train and skip the stricter features of the training rules.
No Game Today.
The writers, who had hurried from the ball game to catch a train were waiting in Back Bay station when a messenger boy came through calling, “Any gentlemen of the press here?” It was a phone call and Ruth was on the other end.
“I just had a message from Fuchs,” he said, “and I thought you’d want to know. I don’t have to play that exhibition game in Bridgeport tomorrow, so I am driving to New York in the morning. And I’m going to stay here, too. You’ll find me home for good tomorrow night.”
Ruth’s blast at Fuchs recalled, by its contrast, the touching scene enacted in Jake Ruppert’s brewery last February when the Yanks owner announced he was making the Braves a gift of his major gate attraction: The Bam posed with his arm around the Judge’s shoulder and announced to all and sundry, including the sound boxes, that he was very happy to be going back to Boston after all those years and that he thought of Fuchs as a father.
Fuchs, in his best facing-the-camera manner, replied that he knew “George” was going to be happy and have a great future with the Braves.
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