Sunday, March 31, 2019

Pioneering Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman has had to deal with sexism and abuse throughout her career

Pioneering Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman has had to deal with sexism and abuse throughout her career

For years she battled death threats, harassment and being ostracized and even now she still is 'not accepted.'

WFAN radio personality Suzyn Waldman in the radio booth prior to the game against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, March 30, 2019. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan/Joseph D. Sullivan

Suzyn Waldman first says it was OK but then immediately corrects herself — a habit potentially born from years of battling the death threats, the harassment and the ostracizing.
That iconic voice — the Boston accent that found its home in the Bronx — hardens with a twinge of defiance when she talks about the feces and bodily fluids sent to her in the mail. By her own description, she shuns mediocrity, doesn’t quit and hates to fail — that’s how she became a longtime radio voice for the Yankees — so when abuse rained down on her, Waldman braced herself and kept marching.
There were those angry, vile letters, the envelopes stuffed with used toilet paper and contraceptives. There were nights she feared for her life. And then there was the icy exclusion from her peers in sports media.
“It wasn’t OK, and I don’t know why I’m saying that [it was],” she said from her hotel in Tampa, another spring training done. “I had a freaking security detail for a solid year because people were trying to kill me . . . It was horrible. To this day, I’m nervous about everything.”
The front line can be a gruesome, suffocating place, but that’s where Waldman has lived for her entire media career.
Hers was the first voice ever heard on WFAN. She is the first woman to serve as a full-time, season-long color commentator for a major-league baseball team. In 2009, Waldman became the first woman to call a World Series game on the radio. Her microphone is enshrined in Cooperstown, and a generation of Yankees fans is growing up with her voice — heard alongside John Sterling since 2005 — on WFAN. For many, Waldman is the matriarch of Yankees baseball.
But still, even now, at 72 years old, “I’m tolerated,” she said, “not accepted.”
It was an immense undertaking to even be tolerated, and Waldman did not so much blaze a trail as hack away at one with a well-worn machete.
The former musical theater actress and lifelong baseball fan made a career change as she approached her 40s. After going back to school for broadcast journalism, she was hired to do updates by upstart WFAN in 1987. Immediately, she said, some higher-ups criticized her gender and her accent.
“It’s amazing to be middle-aged and realize that because you’re a female, they think you’re stupid,” she said. “I’d never seen it. [In theater], you’re either right or you’re wrong [for the part] . . . And I’d never seen hatred just because I was a female. I didn’t know what that was.”
Waldman said she was shipped to overnights in an attempt to get her to quit, but instead, overnight host Steve Somers taught her everything she needed to know about the medium. While the bigwigs at the station thought of ways to dissuade her, Waldman sought to make herself indispensable, she said. It was then that she offered to drive to the various arenas and stadiums —Yankees, Knicks, even Devils — to get sound bites.
Back then, Waldman explained, WFAN was beholden to reporters on the scene for their news updates, and those reporters generally would save the best stuff for the next day’s newspaper. Waldman decided to cut out the middle man and, along the way, she said, eventually became the first electronic beat reporter in the country. Necessity bred career survival, though just barely.
Soon she was covering the Yankees full-time and bearing the brunt of an environment hostile to both women and radio. Blue Jays outfielder George Bell infamously started screaming at her when he saw her in the clubhouse. Writers at the time hated that she could beat them to stories simply because her show aired overnight and newspapers didn’t come out until the next morning.
And then there were the letters.
“I used to get things in the mail at the FAN,” she said. “I would get used condoms in the mail. I got toilet paper with feces on it . . . They were really ugly and disgusting letters, the most vile stuff. You know, it’s not in cyberspace. It’s sitting in your hand. In 1989, it started really early. We got a lot of letters to the station, got letters to the stadium.”
George Steinbrenner, who had grown to respect Waldman, wouldn’t hear of it. She was getting death threats, and there were concerns that she would be stalked and hurt. He charged Yankees security with keeping her safe.
Bill Squires, then director of operations at Yankee Stadium and now operations consultant for the New York Giants, was in charge of security then and remembers the time well.
“I could see from the look in her eye that she was scared,” said Squires, who previously was a lieutenant commander for the Navy. “She was a strong woman, and there was no way she would come to me unless she was really, really scared . . . The big thing was making sure she got home safely. On occasion, we would have someone follow her to make sure she got home, because we were worried a stalker would follow her.”
Waldman said at times she would go to her car after a game and see that someone with the Yankees already had started it, “which meant to me they had gotten a letter,” she said. She got to know the cops from precincts near Shea and Yankee Stadium, and the stadiums were littered with undercover police officers. Squires said security sometimes would follow her in a car all the way upstate, though Waldman didn’t know it at the time.
She still grapples to understand it.
“Why would somebody want to kill me because I have a Boston accent and I’m a girl? Are you kidding me? I was terrified. It’s terrifying.”
While she dealt with that, WFAN still was trying to get rid of her, she said. In 1988, she said, the station began firing women and she was told she’d lose her job after the World Series. New York, however, was the first state to ban discrimination based on gender — back in 1945 — and Waldman took it to her union. The women who were fired got payouts, she said. Waldman just asked for her job back.
At the ballpark, newspaper reporters stopped speaking to her, she said, and Steinbrenner — despite their relationship — still excluded her from things, including the Christmas luncheon with all the beat writers. More than a party, it was a prime opportunity to get information from the don of Yankees baseball.
In an effort to get invited to future male-only dinners, an annoyed Waldman sent Steinbrenner a letter showing that more people listened to her spot than read all of the local tabloid sports sections. She demanded an interview as recompense and got one during spring training. Steinbrenner’s secretary said she had Xeroxed Waldman’s letter and given one to every woman in the building.
“I walked in and [Steinbrenner] said, ‘Now what do you want?’ ” Waldman said.
“’Well, let me tell you something, woman,” Waldman recalled him saying. “’I don’t like women cops. I don’t like women firefighters. I don’t like women in the military. And I don’t like women in sports. I like women to look pretty and spend my money.’ And I said, ‘OK, I can do that.’ And then I took out my tape recorder and I said, ‘I want to talk about the roster.’ ”
“He started laughing and we sat down, and we talked about everything. He was just awesome. He was testing me . . . George liked people to spar with him, I think.”
The shadow slowly started to lift. Waldman was covering the 1989 World Series between the Athletics and Giants in San Francisco during the earthquake. Phone lines went down everywhere, but Waldman’s didn’t, and she did what she did best: She talked on the radio, all while Candlestick Park shook around her. While most reporters left, she remained in San Francisco for days, reporting and helping people reach loved ones. She won an International Radio Award and the respect of some of her peers.
Then and now, in the booth with Sterling, she chooses to focus on the story over the stats. Some fans love it, others don’t; she stands by it.
“It’s the humanity, that’s what I wanted to bring,” Waldman said. “Why do people take their little children to games? They want them to feel what they felt when they were sitting there [watching] with their mother or their grandfather or their father.”
In 1994, she became the play-by-play person for WPIX’s Yankees telecasts — again, more uproar. In 1996, she battled breast cancer, and along with it, a legion of well-meaning men who suggested that maybe she should just stop for a while.
“If you have breast cancer, men want you to go away,” she said wryly. “I remember thinking at the time, Marv Levy had prostate cancer and nobody told him to stop coaching the Bills ever. But when people found out I was sick, it was like, ‘All right, sweetheart, come back when you feel better.’ ”    
She worked through the cancer and the chemo and now she’s here — a world in which she’s no longer the only one but will always be one of the first. There are more women in locker rooms everywhere, but not everything has changed. “The problems are different,” Waldman said, “but they’re still there.”
Jessica Mendoza is blazing her own trail on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, and the online detractors are many. Sarah Kustok, with the Nets, is the first solo female basketball analyst. They all fight different battles for legitimacy.
“The fact that [Waldman] went through all that . . . it’s mind-blowing,” said Mendoza, who remembers marveling at the female voice the first time she heard Waldman. “Who do you even tell when [that abuse] happens? Who can do anything? I deal with a lot, but nothing comparatively. I have allies now, but in that day and age, they’d say, you’re a woman, now get out.
“I bow to her, because thank God. Thank God she stayed. Thank God she fought. It’s not for the weak-willed or weak-minded, and thank you for doing it.”
Waldman doesn’t want anyone to follow in her footsteps, she said. She wants women to reach their own summits.
When she hears girls and women say they want to be her, “I [say], no, because if you’re me, that means I’m not here and there’s only one of us. If you’d be you, then there’s two of us,” she said. “I don’t want anybody to be shaped by me. I want someone to know that they can do whatever they want because I did it, or Claire Smith did it or Lesley Visser did it or Christine Brennan did it.”
“Follow your own path.”
By Laura


CONTACTTim Reid: Member of Babe Ruth’s Historic Home Runs Research Team (754-368-1295)
Hit on April 4, 1919, at Plant Field in Tampa, Florida
True Landing Spot Revealed for First Time
(Tampa, Florida – March 27, 2019)  On April 4, 1919, Babe Ruth hit a home run of such incredible distance that it stunned the baseball world. Hit during a spring exhibition game at the Florida State Fair between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Giants, this home run is widely believed to have been Babe Ruth’s longest home run ever. One of the many national sports writers who witnessed it called it “A Wonder of Wonders,” a description which now serves as the title of a new website dedicated to accurately documenting the history of epic event.  The link to this new website is:
“A Wonder of Wonders”
With new and never-before-published evidence, analyses, and diagramming, this new website reveals the true distance, direction, and landing spot of Babe Ruth’s Home Run in Tampa, which has been inaccurately reported for many years, due primarily to a significant (45-degree counter-clockwise) reorientation of the Plant Field baseball field subsequent to when Babe hit his home run in 1919.  The true landing location of Babe’s home run was more than 600-feet from the plaque currently commemorating it at the University of Tampa, and the distance was 552’8” (not the 587’ stated on the plaque.)
The findings in this new website are based on decades of detailed historical research, map analyses, photographic analyses, and on-site surveys, by Bill Jenkinson, “the Babe Ruth of Babe Ruth Home Run Historians.”
Quoting Arthur Daley of the New York Times:
“Four extremely curious baseball writers ... borrowed a steel tape ... and measured [the home run to be] the incredible distance of 552 feet and eight inches.”
[Daley’s full quote, along with others, is included in Bill Jenkinson’s definitive history of the home run’s measurement, at Page 2 of the new website, titled “Centennial”.]

Interviews and quotes available to media upon request. Please contact Tim Reid of the Babe Ruth's Historic Home Runs Research Team at: and (754) 368-1295

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

You Could Look It Up: Amazing Old Yankee Stadium Facts

You Could Look It Up: Amazing Old Yankee Stadium Facts

This time of year baseball fans get especially restless for the season to be in full swing. Not a substitute but at least a quick reading fix for your reading pleasure some strange, odd,interesting and amazing Yankee Stadium Facts. 
1.   Some wanted the brand new Yankee Stadium in 1923 to be called "Ruth Stadium." Owner Jake Ruppert wanted Ruppert Stadium. They settled for the nickname "the House That Ruth Built."
 2.  It took 500 workers 185 days to build the original Yankee Stadium. 
 3.  At the start, names of Yankee players were imprinted in white chalk near the top of their lockers.
 4.  The practice of selling more tickets than existing seats lasted until a 1929 stampede in the right field bleachers left two dead and 62 injured.
 5.  Negro League teams who played at the Stadium when the Yanks were on the road were barred from using the Yankee dressing rooms. Instead, they were obliged to use the visitors’ dressing room.
 6.  "Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day" was staged before 61,808 on July 4, 1939. His uniform number four was the first in baseball history to be retired.
 7.  In 1941, Yankee president Ed Barrow offered Civil Defense the use of Yankee Stadium as a bomb shelter in case of attack. He thought the area under the stands could provide a safe haven.
 8.  On August 16, 1948, Babe Ruth died of throat cancer at age 53. His body lay in state at Yankee Stadium and was viewed by more than 100,000 fans.
 9.  The last home run at the original Yankee Stadium on September 30, 1973 was hit by Duke Sims in his seventh day as a Yankee. A coin toss that day tabbed him to play. It was not until much later that Sims realized the significance of his home-run shot.
 10.  The film "61" was filmed in Detroit, not at Yankee Stadium. Billy Crystal explained the Motor City ballpark architecture was better able to be made to resemble that of the Yankee Stadium of 1961.
 11.  Sal Durante, the guy who caught the ball Roger Maris hit for his 61st homer, snagged tickets the day of the game at a less-than-sold- out Yankee Stadium.
 12.  Mickey Mantle originally wore number six, but equipment manager Pete Sheehy switched him to seven after Mantle was recalled from Kansas City.
 13.  20,000 letters that Mickey Mantle never answered were not bid on in the old Yankee Stadium fire sale in 1974.
 14.  There was widespread and indiscriminate disposal of valuable items during demolition of much of the Stadium in the mid-1970s.
 15.  Among the items sold in the refurbishment "fire sale" at Yankee Stadium were player jockstraps, which had names on them for identification when they came back from the laundry. The selling of these jockstraps was stopped because of sanitary reasons.
 16.  In 1976, a homer by Chris Chambliss gave the Yankees the American League pennant. Such a mob crowded the plate that Chambliss was taken back a few minutes after hitting the homer, and he finally touched home plate.
 17.  All kinds of crazy things went on in the bullpens—some of them outlandish and some of them sexy—lots having to do with food. 
 18.   In 1988, behind a wall that was closed off for decades, a scorecard, a program and what was supposedly the bases for the 1936 team were unearthed.
 19.  The less-than-capable 1990 Yankees had but one starting pitcher who won more than seven games, nine-game winner Tim Leary—but he also lost 19.
 20.  On September 11, 2001, within 90 minutes of the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center, Yankee Stadium was evacuated.
 21.  Ron Guidry, a good drummer, once kept a trap set at Yankee Stadium and also played in a post-game concert with the Beach Boys.
 22.  Joe Torre was witness to all three perfect games in Yankee Stadium history: He saw Don Larsen's beauty as a 16-year-old fan, and the gems of David Wells and David Cone from the dugout as Yankee manager.
23.  Bob Sheppard still holds the record for seeing the most games at Yankee Stadium.
One of the most prolific and respected sports journalists and oral historians in the United States, author of the autobiographies of legends Nolan Ryan,Tony Dorsett, and Red Holzman, Dr. 
Harvey Frommer is an expert on all things baseball.  A professor for more than two decades in the MALS program at Dartmouth College, Frommer was dubbed “Dartmouth’s Mr. Baseball” by their alumni magazine. He’s also the founder of   Mint, signed, discounted Frommer books are available from his site.

Sunday, March 17, 2019



"He'd give you the shirt off his back. Of course, he'd call a press conference to announce it." - Catfish Hunter 

          "Off the record, he's a piece of shit." –Billy Martin

Out of the blue the man who once seemingly made headlines all the time came out of the shadows recently to dominate baseball pages again. The Yankees were matched up against the Cardinals and the former straw that stirred the drink proclaimed that the trade the Redbirds executed for Paul Goldschmidt was “the best deal of the winter, by far.  Steal of the century".

          It is well worth remembering what Reginald Martinez Jackson was in his time. He spent only five years as a Yankee in a 21- year Major League career. But what those five years were like . . .      
           Reggie Jackson in pinstripes seemed an appropriate match. In November 1976 he announced that he came to the Yankees because “George Steinbrenner outhustled everybody else. Certain things have a lot more meaning than money. It was easy to see I could become a rich man. Some clubs offered several thousand more; there was even the possibility of seven figures more.”
        The Yankees won the 1976 AL East pennant in a romp, squeezed through to win the American League title and were swept by Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine” in the World Series.
          A ticked-off George Steinbrenner first signed free agent Don Gullet of Cincinnati for $2.09 million. Then he signed Reggie Jackson, the most prized free agent of all, to the highest salary contract in baseball then.
Steinbrenner’s first offer was $2 million, then raised to $2.9 million with an extra sweetener of $60,000 for Jackson to purchase a Rolls-Royce. Waiting for several hours in the Hyatt at O'Hare Airport, “the Boss” was determined. He got his man. Details of the contract were scribbled on the back of a cocktail napkin as was the signature of Reggie Jackson who wrote on the napkin: "I will not let you down. –Reginald M. Jackson."
Born on May 18, 1946 in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, Jackson was one of six children, He showed off his athletic talents from the start. In high school, he was   a four-sport varsity athlete. He starred in football and baseball at Arizona State. After his sophomore season, he was scooped up by the Kansas City Athletics with the No. 2 pick of the 1966 draft. Incredibly, the New York Mets had the Number One pick and passed on Reggie Jackson.

By 1967, he was in the big leagues. Owner Charley Finley moved Jackson and other talented youngsters and the team to Oakland. There were five straight AL West titles 1971-1975 that Jackson was a big part of as well as three World Series and an MVP award. With free agency for Jackson on the horizon, Finley traded him to Baltimore. After one year with the Orioles, it was -- enter George Steinbrenner!
The talent was always there for Reggie Jackson, so was the big mouth. A self-promoter and a deprecator of others, he bragged: "I didn't come to New York to be a star. I brought my star with me."           
He came to the Yankees with lots of baggage, the verbal kind. Many on the Yankee roster and in the media thought he went too far with his running commentary that included lines like: 
"God do I love to hit that little round sum-bitch out of the park and make 'em say 'Wow! Hitting is better than sex."
“In the building I live in on Park Avenue there are ten people who could buy the Yankees, but none of them could hit the ball out of Yankee Stadium."
"The only difference between me and the other great Yankees is my skin color."
"You know this team . . . it all flows from me. I've got to keep it going. I'm the straw that stirs the drink. . ."
"After Jackie Robinson the most important black in baseball history is Jackson, I really mean that."
       He had the mouth. He also had the goods.
In Reggie Jackson’s first season as a Yankee, he led the team to its first world championship in 15 years.
          "The writers were never late that year," recalled Phil Rizzuto, "because something was always going on. A lot of egos were vying for the headlines."      
The headline of headlines belonged to October 18th, 1977 as Reggie Jackson became "Mr. October." The Yankees were up three games to two against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Jackson literally took over game six. He hit a home run on the first pitch in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings. 
        The controversial slugger was on fire in that World Series, batting a blazing.450 with the record five homers. Jackson also recorded the highest slugging average in a six-game Series (1.250), most total bases in a six-game Series (25), most runs (tied with 10).
          George Steinbrenner’s signing of Jackson paid off big time. There was joy in the Bronx for most.  “Mr. October” was what Reggie Jackson was called for his post-season heroics. “Mr. Obnoxious” was what he was called for his over-the-top arrogance.
          One can only wonder about the comments made by Jackson about Steinbrenner after the 1977 World Championship: “I was happy for George because George wanted it so bad. I said to myself, ‘Now he can really have fun at the 21 Club. He’ll go around and give rings to his friends and he’ll be able to talk about this one as long as he lives.”

            Reggie maintained if he played in New York, a candy bar would be named for him. He called the shot. Opening Day 1978 at the Stadium was “Reggie Bar” giveaway day. Catfish Hunter described the orange wrapped candy this way: "Open it and it tells you how good it is." The crowd received free samples. Reggie blasted a three-run homer. Thousands of the orange-wrapped candies were thrown out onto the field. It was a marketing and public relations disaster, an embarrassment. Chicago pitcher Wilbur Wood, who gave up the home run, was beside himself.  There was annoyance among the press, some outrage among players.
             “It’s not called for,” the generally calm White Sox manager Bob Lemon was agitated. “Let them throw them when he’s in right field,” Lemon said. “See how he feels. People starving all over the world and 30 billion calories are laying there.”
          It was called “the Bronx Zoo” and other earthier phrases, that general environment around the Yankees. There was always something going wrong, some annoyance magnified big time.
           A case in point took place on Saturday afternoon June 18, 1978 in a game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Reggie was the centerpiece, some would day the catalyst for what happened.

The game was on national TV. The Yankees were being blown out by the Red Sox. In the sixth inning, Boston’s Jim Rice lifted a ball into short right field. Playing deep for the slugger, who had power to all fields, Jackson got to the ball after it landed. Poor judgment on his part, he later claimed.
An annoyed, an always annoyed Billy Martin, it seemed with Jackson, sent reserve outfielder Paul Blair running out to right field. Jackson went berserk – never had he been taken out of a game in his long career. Later he would tell writers that Martin’s negative handling of him had racial overtones.

              A furious Jackson jogged in towards the dugout heading straight for his manager who was in the right corner. Two Yankee immortals, strong men, former catchers Yogi Berra and Elston Howard had taken up positions ready for Jackson
 “You never wanted me on this team in the first place,” Jackson yelled.
“I ought to kick your ass,” Martin shot back.
        The strong man Howard contained Jackson. Berra got into it, too. “Once that little guy gets his monkey claws on you, you ain’t goin’ nowhere,” Ron Guidry said.
All the histrionics ultimately ended. The Red Sox and their fans left Fenway happy. The home team won, 10-4, smashing five home runs.
Afterwards Billy Martin said: "When they don't hustle, I don't accept that. When a player shows the club up, I show the player up."
        For the Yankees and Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson, it was just another wacky day at the ballpark.
              Later that 1978 season a slumping Jackson was used as a designated hitter by Billy Martin. Reggie was not pleased. He shared his displeasure with anyone who would listen including owner George Steinbrenner. In one game, Martin gave Jackson the sign to swing away. He bunted. Martin suspended him for five games.
The hot-tempered trio of Steinbrenner-Jackson-Martin was big news in all the New York media. Especially publicized was Martin’s rant: "One's a born liar [Jackson]; the other's convicted,” a reference to the Boss’s conviction for illegal campaign contributions.  That comment got Martin fired and it seemed Reggie was back in vogue.
 Jackson belted 41 homers to tie for the league lead and hit .300 in 1980. But in the strike-shortened 1981 season, Jackson batted just .237 with 15 homers in 94 games.
On January 22, 1982, irritated and fed up with Steinbrenner putdowns, Reggie Jackson severed his ties with the Yankees and signed as a free agent with the California Angels. After five years of tumult in the Big Apple, the controversial and cocky outfielder was back out west.  Steinbrenner later said that letting Jackson go was "the worst decision of my career."

When Reggie Jackson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1993, he went in as a Yankee even though lots of bad blood passed between him and management and ownership and teammates.
The Yankees retired his uniform number 44 on August 14, 1993. Reggie Jackson is currently a member of the Yankees' special advisory group.

One of the most prolific and respected sports journalists and oral historians in the United States, author of the autobiographies of legends Nolan Ryan, Tony Dorsett, and Red Holzman, Dr. Harvey Frommer is an expert on the New York Yankees and has arguably written more books, articles and reviews on the New York Yankees than anyone. He was honored by the City of New York to serve as historical consultant for the re-imagined old Yankee Stadium site, Heritage Field.  A professor for more than two decades in the MALS program at Dartmouth College where he is known as “Dr. Baseball,” Frommer is the founder of
Some of the material in this article is excerpted from his The Ultimate Yankee Book, available direct from the author or Amazon.  

1927: New York Yankees, Spring Training Flashback

        1927: New York Yankees, Spring Training Flashback      

Another spring, another spring training for the Yankees of New York. All of them have had special meaning for baseball’s greatest franchise. Perhaps none was more special than for the ’27 team, best in baseball history.

Comfortable among the high and mighty or the ordinary, friendly with the press, moving around all over without body guards, Babe Ruth basked in his superstar status in spring training. Getting a close shave in the downtown barber shop, telling a few jokes each morning, visiting hospitals and cheering up the sick especially children, patiently signing autographs at the dog track, posing for photos, followed by fans on the St. Petersburg streets, wending his way from bar to bar, boating and fishing for migrating king mackerel or chasing grouper in the Gulf of Mexico, prevailing upon a hotel cook to prepare the fish for supper, the Babe was having the time of his life.

        A Yankee bridge game began in spring training. And the Babe plunged himself into that, too. The extroverted Ruth and the shy Gehrig were pitted against Mike Gazella and Don Miller, a young hurler from the University of Michigan.
      The Yankees were quartered at the Beaux Arts style Princess Martha Hotel, built in 1923. Babe Ruth was supposed to be registered there, too. But no one really saw much of him. The word was that he had meals in his rooms, leaving when he wanted to from a side door in the hotel.
        Rising early before baseball practice, he would play golf at the two-year-old Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club in downtown St. Petersburg.  Catcher Benny Bengough, pitchers Waite Hoyt and Bob Shawkey were also good golfers  and would play there, too. Ruth could drive the ball further than many pros and had scores in the mid-70s. However, the short game was not his forte. A lousy putter, the Babe would disgustedly toss his club when he hit the ball too hard causing it to roll past the cup.
     Much was made of the time a man came around that spring of 1927 and said he was the uncle of Johnny Sylvester. He made a big deal about telling all about how well Johnny Sylvester was doing.  The Bam graciously made a big deal out of sending regards.
        But moments after the uncle departed, Ruth bellowed: "Who the hell is Johnny Sylvester?" 
        Johnny Sylvester had been the subject of much newspaper attention. He was a sick kid who the Yankee slugger had promised to hit a home run for during the 1926 World Series.
       Babe Ruth just could not remember names, not even the names of teammates. Most people were called "kid," by the Babe. Others had variations like "sister" for young women and "mom" and "pop" for those with seniority. Others got nick-names, some logical, others totally illogical. The Babe called Waite Hoyt "Walter" and no one could explain why.  Pitcher Urban Shocker was dubbed "Rubber Belly" and no one not even the Babe could explain why.       
        Those who did claimed it had something to do with the flabbiness of Shocker's mid section, but they wouldn't swear to it.   Catcher Benny Bengough, who coined the name  "Jidge" (German for "George" ) for Ruth, was called "Googles," a kind of affectionate corruption of part of his surname. Catcher Pat Collins was "Horse Nose," a derogatory reference to his most prominent facial feature.  Railroad station redcaps were "Stinkweed." 

Beer baron Jake Ruppert could remember names but never addressed anyone by a first name. The Yankee owner was characterized in Ed Barrow's memoirs as an "imperious" man, one who "in all the years I knew him, always calling me 'Barrows,' adding an 's' where none belonged.

        Ruppert "was a fastidious dresser," Barrow remembered, "who had his shoes made to order, changed his clothes several times a day, and had a valet." Arriving in style with his secretary Al Brennan for spring training in St. Petersburg in his own private railroad car, it was said that the honorary Colonel savored the comforts of his own drawing room and sleeping in a silk brocade nightshirt.  Ruppert was particularly interested in and impressed with the man he had sunk all that money into.
        "Ruth looks great," he announced. "Watch that boy. In fact, he may set another home run record. The team as a whole is in fine shape, shows real fighting spirit and looks like a winner, although I admit I'm not much of a prophet." 

         The Sis Football Rookie Handbook 2019 Acta Sports, 599 pages) fuses scouting, observation and analytics to provide a mother lode of  insights and data on 250 players, many of whom will have a major impact in the  NFL. Stats, tables, concise writing, prodigious research makes the book a winner. Special praise goes for the top shelf work by Matt .Manocherian.

     Character Carved in Stone by Pat Williams (Revell Publishers) is a first rate, five star piece of work. Slight in size, but 214 pages, it is big in message, a special treat to read in this day and age especially. Williams, vice president of the Orlando Magic basketball team, author of more than 50 books, carefully crafts a narrative of the dozen core virtues of West Point “that build leaders and produce success.”  Character Carved in Stone is a one of a kind tome, a page turner, one that belongs on your next “must read” list.




One of the most prolific and respected sports journalists and oral historians in the United States, author of the autobiographies of legends Nolan Ryan,  , Tony Dorsett, and Red Holzman, Dr. Harvey  Frommer is an expert on all things baseball. 

A professor for more than two decades in the MALS program at Dartmouth College, Frommer was dubbed “Dartmouth’s Mr. Baseball” by their alumni magazine. He’s also the founder of  

Mint, signed, discounted Frommer books are available from his site.