Talk:Babe Ruth/Archive 2

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I know that Wikipedia accepts buth British and American English, but does it really make sense for an article on an American baseball star to be in British English? I don't want to start an edit war, but I think that this is one place we should stick to American spellings! -- BRG July 23

I agree with you, and by and large they're my British spellings. I'll try and do better, and correct any I see while I'm editing. If you want to correct them all now, go ahead, I'm not going to change them back. -- User:GWO
Thank you. I just had no desire to get into yet another edit war; I've been in too many recently. -- BRG

Babe Ruth

We were under the impression that Babe Ruth was born in London and emigrated with his parents to America. Also that he spent some time in a type of orphanage after being abandoned by his parents. Regards val and george

Ruth was born in Baltimore. As to his "orphanage", well St. Mary's school was sometimes called an "orphanage", especially when trying to paint Ruth as a good role model. But St Mary's wasn't an orphanage, and young George wasn't an orphan; it was a reform school, and Ruth was a boy in need of reforming. -- GWO

Finishing the article

This article goes well until about 1921 or '22, and then it degrades into a few random observations and several outline bullet points. Anyone care to fill in the blanks? Should we mark the article as a stub until that happens (notwithstanding the length of what we have so far)? Jwolfe 15:09, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I wrote up to '21 and '22, back when the *whole* article was bullet points. Yes, mark it as a stub. But I quit wikipedia half way through. Yes. Mark it stub. -- GWO

The Babe in Japan

I've heard stories of Babe Ruth's popularity in Japan, even about a statue of him there? Does anyone know more about it? Surely it should be included here, or at least some mention of his tour of Japan in 1934. --Feitclub 01:43, Nov 15, 2004 (UTC)


I used to read alot about Babe Ruth as child. I remember reading that Ruth was very successful in the tour hitting 17 home runs in 16 games. However, I cant recall where I read it. Also, I recall reading that some Japanese soldiers yelled "To Hell with Babe Ruth" to taunt American troops during WWII. Again I dont recall where I read this.

first American with a voice-box in his throat -- true or not?

Denis Leary's standup routine, he commented Babe Ruth was the first American to have a voice-box put in his throat. I checked to see if this was an urban legend or not but could find no mention. Any truth to this? --I run like a Welshman 10:59, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)

2004 World Series - Out of Place

At the end of the "Ruth in Boston" section, the article justly mentions (and links to) the Curse of the Bambino. However, it also includes some details about the Red Sox winning the World Series last year and defeating the Yankees along the way. This makes the segue to the next section very awkward. I suggest that these details are simply not needed in this article as Babe Ruth had nothing to do with the 2004 Red Sox. His "curse" might, but that can be discussed elsewhere. --Feitclub 05:02, Apr 15, 2005 (UTC)

Last years and death

I have added what should be the all the necessary biographical information from the years 1939 to his death. Book references have been cited, and all re-written in my own words. It is perhaps too long and detailed (although not for me) for a encyclopedic entry, and probably needs to be cut down to a more manageable size. Wikipedians skilled in grammar and editing may feel free to fix what I wrote. The article still needs Ruth's years 1933 to 1939 to be filled in, and I'm not sure I will have time in near future to do this. LibraryLion

I reworded the Ford Frick part near the end, even though one could maybe delete the entire part in parenthesis and put it in the Ford Frick article. I had made statement that to some maybe seemed speculative, implying Frick put the asterisk by Maris' maybe because he like Ruth better than Maris, and not because of the difference between the 154 and 162 game season. Read this article [1] and one might see how maybe Frick wasn't so unbiased after all. If you don't want to access the page, in short, Frick was a friend of Ruth for decades. They were bridge and golf partners, and Frick, then a sportwriter pretty much put Ruth on the highest pedestal, crediting him, as others have, as being the "savior" of baseball after the 1919 Black Sox Scandal. (The latter statement perhaps some truth, but to say major league baseball would have collapsed if there was never a Babe Ruth to save it is quite hyperbolic, in my opinion. Baseball had been professional for over 40 years, it wasn't going away that quickly.) In summary, I think one could make a contention Frick's asterick by Maris' home run total was done mainly out of his friendship with Ruth, but because of this uncertainty, I deleted that part. LibraryLion

Also I have written that maybe part of the article, especially the later years part needs trimming down, but now I don't think so, if fact it needs more, including the years 1923-1928 filled in. If a little comic strip like Calvin and Hobbes (a fine comic strip, not criticizing it) gets 24 Wiki pages devoted to it, I think Ruth is worth a few pages himself. LibraryLion

I gather you don't like my comment about Ruth sounding like Clark Gable. Those are not my words, but a biographer's... and if you listen to their voices, you can hear it. It's a minor detail, though.

The Frick connection to the so-called "asterisk" in 1961 was one of various stories circulating at the time. One of Bill Veeck's books talks about this at some length and with no little amount of cynicism. It was partly Frick and partly just the old guard in general protecting Ruth's legacy (remember, he had only been dead for 13 years at that point). Over time, the Frick connection has come to be the "conventional wisdom", but it could use some more study. Maybe you could say that "some people say..." or something equally vague. However, the 8-game schedule difference was the "official" reason at the time, just as it became an issue in 1962 when Maury Wills challenged Ty Cobb's season stolen base record. Wills broke Cobb's 96 mark in 154 games, as I recall, so it became a non-issue and nobody much remembers that parallel story.

As to Ruth "saving baseball", that is also conventional wisdom, and has a significant kernel of truth to it. Baseball was looked upon with suspicion due to various gambling scandals, of which the 1919 Black Sox were just the "worst case". Not just Ruth himself, but the Roaring Twenties, the lively ball, the offensive explosion in general, and broadening public interest and expenditure on spectator sports all combined to "save" baseball. Even though the major leagues were mature by then, there was nowhere near the obsessive interest in sports then that there is now. That obsession really started in the 1920s, evidenced by the mid-20s building-and-attendance boom that occurred at most all the major league parks. Sound familiar? You can make a parallel with the late 1990s and early 2000s building-and-attendance boom following the 1994 strike that threatened to destroy the game. Whether the steroids issue will prove to be sufficient to negate all that happened in the last 10 years remains to be seen.

I am not a wikipedia "insider", but I don't see any problem with extensive information about Ruth. As I indicated in the first paragraph, as one author has said, Ruth was the greatest ballplayer ever, no contest. And by the way, I don't like the Yankees one iota. I'm just reporting it as I see it.

Wahkeenah 00:12, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Yes I not saying Ruth didn't have an incredible impact on the game, especially in the light of the 1919 scandal, ie boosting fan interest, hence revenue, hence salaries, etc. Perhaps it's different perceptions of the word "save", which I interpreted from reading baseball historical books, from some authors, who said that Ruth literally saved Major League Baseball from going out of existence. This is the specfic point I would contest, although I admit it's my own opinion, based on my own readings and observations from following sports closely for over 30 years, so I will claim not to done detailed research on this subject per se. I'm not aware though of any sports league that went out of existence to due solely to scandals, which hence declined attendence, then revenue etc. If there have been, maybe someone can inform us. No doubt without Ruth's contributions, it would have taken baseball a good deal longer to develop a national pastime status, but I still believe it would have taken much more than one scandal, even as bad as it was, to end professional baseball. I don't object to the Gable statement, I had never heard it, but not disputing it. I think you inserted it at the same time I was putting in my information, and I wasn't sure if it was someone vandalizing, or playing around while I was typing, so I deleted it for that reason only. So it's fine with me, the more information the better. LibraryLion

I'm on a road trip. When I get back home, I will look into this a little further. I think it's fair to assert that "conventional wisdom" holds that Ruth "saved" the game following the scandal. The question seems to be, what if there was no Ruth? Your argument that the game would have gone on its merry way has merit. A stronger case could be made that Judge Landis was the real savior of baseball, by his merciless enforcement of the rules against betting on baseball, and *that* is what restored faith in the game. Unfortunately, Landis was also the reason the color line stayed in place, so he is both devil and angel where the game is concerned.

FYI, baseball was being called "The National Game" clear back in the 1860s and 1870s. But the success of professional baseball was mixed for decades until the 1920s pretty much ensured it.

Wahkeenah 01:38, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

1927 Yankees

Much of the information in this section does not always deal with Ruth directly, but since this a famous historical team, I believe this merits it for more detailed information. The 1927 season should probably be the only one written as such. --LibraryLion 23:14, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)


I added some detail to the death of Helen and his marriage to Claire. These topics were mentioned briefly in one paragraph, so I deleted that paragraph, but kept some of the original wording of previous contributers. I am an inclusionist for the most part, and almost never delete any information from an article unless I know it's unfactual. In this case, since I actually expanded the information, it became necessary to rewrite portions, although the essential information others had contributed was not deleted.

Some other changes:

1. Someone wrote Claire was related to Johnny Mize. Since Mize's baseball career came after Ruth had retired, this information didn't seem to fit well in the paragraph about her, so I moved it to the Notes and Trivia.

2. I deleted the isolated sentence "1920-1923 Amazing years" since much detailed information has been added to this time period.

3. I deleted the isolated sentence "1925 Bellyache Heard Around the World". In the near future, I will write in detail on this topic and insert in the article.

4. I deleted the isolated sentence "1926 Return to Peak". I have written a synopsis of the 1926 season, but have not included as of yet in the article.

5. Someone contributed information about uniform numbers, this information has been moved to Notes and Triva. --LibraryLion 08:56, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The Infamous Asterisk

I rewrote the asterisk and Ford Frick section based on info that I got from baseball historian Bill Deane, a former senior research associate at the Hall of Fame and member of Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), of which I'm also a member. He is currently writing a book about baseball myths and the asterisk controversy will have a section there.... Hayford Peirce 21:37, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Ford Frick

Since the part about Frick and asterisk in the paragraph is a little long, it seemed to distract from the paragraph's main topic, which is about Ruth's death. The entire section has been moved word-for-word in the Notes and Trivia section. This part also perhaps should be additionally copied to the seperate article on Frick. --LibraryLion 22:49, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Cancer and Tobacco

Here are a just a couple of sources on the time frame for the medical links of tobacco and cancer, of course which there are many credible sites on this topic. The dozen or sites I saw seemed to show the medical evidence was quite substantial in the 1920's of the tobacco-cancer link, although some web sites showed a variety of opinion on when the evidence was clearly indisputable. From what I researched, the 1920's seemed to be about the right time period to say the link was conclusive. This information of course is a distant side note on an article about Babe Ruth, I just included it for reference purposes only. [2] [3] --LibraryLion 20:54, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Recent Changes and Corrections

Some further research showed the term "Murderer's Row" was coined in 1919, not in the 1927 season, so I made this change. Also, I had written a statement about Ruth's cancer being treated by radiation was a "relatively new" procedure, and although this could perhaps be somewhat accurate, radiation therapy for cancer goes back to the 1910's, and a few cases in the early 1900's. Given this, I deleted the "relatively new" part. I rewrote much of the 1921 season only because previous contributors missed the point on how great Ruth's season was.

As a complete sidenote, one might wonder how a scraped elbow could keep Ruth out the last 3 games of the 1921 World Series. In the present day, this type injury would almost never sideline a player. In the pre-anti-bacterial drug days however, these infections could be quite serious. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge's 16-year-old son Calvin jr. played a little tennis but he did not wear shoes. Calvin jr. developed blisters on his toes which became infected, and the infection led to septicemia which proved fatal. No doubt anti-bacterial drugs would have probably saved his life, but these drugs were not completely developed until the 1940's. Many historians say Coolidge never got over his son's death, and was the major reason he didn't run for re-election in 1928. --LibraryLion 22:34, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Ruth's 1925 medical problems

In the most recent biography of Ruth, "Babe Ruth: Launching the Legend" (2004), author Jim Reisler writes Ruth's 1925 medical problems were caused by gonorrhea only, but from what I saw in the book, scanning over it for about 15 minutes, I saw no new evidence to back up this blanket assertion. Next time I get the chance to see the book, I will make a complete check in case I missed his evidence. If I find it, I will include Reisler's information in the article. --LibraryLion 19:46, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Marshall Smelser's lengthy 1975 bio The Life That Ruth Built draws no specific conclusion. Everyone during Ruth's time was close-mouthed about it. It was definitely not from overeating, at least not an immediate cause-and-effect, although it could have stemmed from being fat and lazy and eating all winter. Although he came to spring training well overweight, in fact he had had no appetite for some time and was losing weight due to flu-like symptoms. The most succinct pronouncement came from his own physician (page 309) who said Ruth had an "intestinal abscess". The silence around it, as well as physicians' making vague comments about Ruth being "careless", could imply something sinister. Ed Barrow, Yankees G.M., apparently told a reporter at some point that he thought Ruth had had syphilis. This was apparently believed in Yankees circles. However, the author makes the point that it could have been simply something "embarrassing", such as a temporary colostomy, and that Ruth didn't want to be teased about it later, so the "overeating" cover story worked for him. Meanwhile, Robert W. Creamer's 1974 book Babe: The Legend Comes to Life says (page 289) that some teammates were convinced he had gonorrhea, syphilis, or both. It stood to reason, given his rep as a womanizer. However, Creamer reports that abdominal surgery was not standard practice for V.D. and that Ruth had "a long vivid scar on the left side of his abdomen, beginning just under his rib cage, when he returned to the team" in late spring of 1925. That would seem to argue for the other possibility, an intestinal problem. Wahkeenah 23:26, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

1923 Yankee Stadium Photo

The photo I used was not taken from the New York Times archives. I would have not blatantly used this picture in Wikipedia if I took it from the Times photo archives web-site, as they clearly state one needs permission to use any of their photos. My source was two books with this exact picture, one book published in 1979, the other in 1977, both however do not list any credit for this picture, but I know the New York Times is not listed in any of the listed picture credits in both these books.

I found about four other web-sites that have this exact picture, am sure I could have found more, but I don't know if any of these sites have the rights to use the picture. To clarify matters, I have written to the New York Times about this photo, who owns it, and rights to possibly use it for Wikipedia. When they write back, I will update this information. --LibraryLion 20:10, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

All I know about it is that I see it in the New York Times just about every day on a page advertising old NYT pictures for sale. That tells me that they own the rights to it. All the other other Internet sites that have the picture are undoubtedly ripping it off from the Times.... I'll be curious to see if you ever hear from them about this pic.... Hayford Peirce 20:52, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

Various books that use it indicate various sources: Baseball Hall of Fame, New York Yankees, Major League Baseball, etc. The Times' own store says (c)Bettman/Corbis, which I assume is the current name of what used to be called the Bettman Archive of photos. The photo is unfortunately not quite inside the public domain territory of 1/1/1923 and earlier. FYI, the scan on that photo that the writer is questioning is (perhaps deliberately) poor. The 1980s' Sporting News book called Take Me Out To The Ballpark has a much better reproduction. Wahkeenah 00:54, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

An extensive crash course in the Fair Use doctrine as it applies to copyrighted photo images leads me to believe that the use of this photo on this website is completely within the bounds of Fair Use. I have searched over 50 legal websites the last few days and come to this opinion. Certainly not to say this makes me an authority, and I do not wish to simplify an issue that can be rather complex, nor justify exclusively my position. But from what I have read, the courts have predominatly made favorable judgements permitting Free Use of copyrighted material if it is applied specifically for nonprofit and educational reasons. Of course there are exceptions, and does not mean Wikipedians can use any photo or text material at will, but doctrine of Fair Use is part of the law. In a few days, I am going to re-insert the photo under the Fair Use doctrine. If there is a problem with use of the photo, the copyright owners will inform Wikipedia, and the picture will be removed unless permission to use it is granted. --LibraryLion 23:43, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

I wonder what the fair use doctrine has to say about the quality of the photo, i.e. is it so good that it would infringe on the copyright holder's chances of making money from it. That version of that photo is of mediocre quality, as compared with the print in Take Me Out to the Ballpark, and thus it is unlikely someone would crib and try to sell it. I'm thinking that factor might work in your favor. Wahkeenah 23:53, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

Yes the quality of the photo one uses plays a part. The larger image, the better quality one reproduces from the original, the more problems one will run into exercising fair use, even used for exclusive nonprofit reasons. Rather than me go through all the legal part myself, Gigalaw [4] has an article written by Barbara Weil Gall, an intellectual propery attorney, on this topic. It is easy to understand and a good starting point for educating oneself on the basics of this issue. Of course Wikipedia has information on this topic, with external links, and there are many other websites that go into much more depth on this subject. --LibraryLion 20:34, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

Article Overview

  • I have been recently been adding many pictures to add to the visual enhancement of the article. I don't know at what point is 'too many pictures', but I believe there is more than enough written content to support all the pictures. There are several more pictures I will add, but I will probably will delete (if no one objects) the Ruth-Bush picture, it just seems out of place.
  • I (or anyone else who wants to contribute) need to add a little information about the transition from the dead-ball to the live-ball era. I have also written a couple of paragraphs on Ruth's years 1935-1939, but this isn't quite finished as of yet. I might add a couple of paragraphs more on Ruth's personality, just to balance it out with all the baseball information.
  • I might rewrite and delete portions of the 1920 season.
  • Ruth's 1918 season has not mentioned. It probably can be just a paragraph. This was a unique year in baseball, Secretary of War Newton Baker issued his famous "World or Fight" order, and baseball had to end its season one month early, and the World Series, which Ruth was in, was played in early September. It was during this World Series, when patriotic feelings were high, when the orgins of playing the National Anthem before sporting events began, according to some sources.
  • Ruth's 1924 season was not mentioned, but it can be left out. Ruth had an outstanding year, won his only batting title, the Yankee's finished second, but other than that, this season was rather ordinary.
  • Other than the above material I will add, there is nothing major left-in my opinion-that the article needs. After finishing everything I want to add, I will go over every sentence in detail, making sure everying is completely accurate. I don't know if any article can ever be called 'finished', since Wikipedia articles are generally always in flux, but as far as the main body of work, I believe this article is nearing ccmpletion.
  • If you are new to Wikipedia, feel free to add information, make suggestions, and correct grammatical errors to this or any article.
  • Conversely, if you feel something should be deleted, or you feel something is unfactual, please state your case on the discussion page first, then the section in question can be discussed. Whether this article or any other, be cautious deleting any information. Deleting is easy, anyone can delete. Researching and writing factual information is hard work. It sometimes takes several hours of research to write one paragraph, especially on more complex subjects (which fortunately this article is not.) --LibraryLion 23:44, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

George Halas

I don't think one can quite say Babe Ruth replaced George Halas in the Yankee outfield. The Halas career stats, all in the 1919 season, 2-22 .091 average, 8 strikeouts in 12 career games. Somehow I bet the Yankees would have found a spot for him if he had any baseball ability. Probably good thing he never made in baseball, because football needed him much more at the time. --LibraryLion 07:10, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

Right. I would suspect that's a story that Halas himself encouraged, despite having only played 12 games with the Yanks. In 1919, the Yankees outfield consisted primarily of Duffy Lewis (another ex-Red Sox whose career was winding down), Ping Bodie (whose career was also winding down) and Sammy Vick (whose career was short, but he played 100 games in the outfield for the Yanks in 1919). In 1920, it was primarily Lewis, Bodie and Ruth. So Ruth basically replaced Vick. Wahkeenah 08:45, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

Frazee trading Ruth

Didn't the 2004 HBO documentary prove fairly convincingly that the primary impetus behind the trade was not for money but for Ruth's wild antics? They did a pretty masterful job in taking down that legend by going through archival material. Probably should be changed but want to see if any objections first. Old64mb 21:03, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

I think it can be mentioned as possibly another factor. Frazee did say this about Ruth just after trading him to New York:

"Ruth had simply become simply impossible, and the Boston club could no longer put up with his eccentricities. I think the Yankees are taking a gamble. While Ruth is undoubtedly the greatest hitter the game has ever seen, he is likewise one of the most selfish and inconsiderate men ever to have put on a baseball uniform."

I think though this was more Frazee's ego talking than the definitive reason he traded Ruth. Frazee was selling off a lot of players at the time, so I think money (what else?) was much more his motivation for unloading Ruth. --LibraryLion 21:49, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

Ruth-Hoover Quote

I added this information, although it has never been authenticated, even though it is often repeated as a fact. It sounds like something Ruth might say, but the question of itself, if asked, would qualify as one of the dumbest questions one could ask. Hoover made a fortune with his mining companies. In 1914, Hoover's net worth was estimated at over $4 million. He was involved in humanitarian aid in WW1, everyone knew his name, and almost everyone had to know Hoover was a wealthy man well before he was elected President.

The President's salary is window dresssing. We all know you have much more money to become President than you would ever be paid for being President. If the question was posed to Ruth, what Ruth was effectively being asked was "Do you think it is appropriate you are making a higher yearly salary than President Hoover, even though he is worth millions of more dollars than you?" --LibraryLion 22:10, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

1927 Yankee photo

I will try to find a better team photo in the future, this one work temporarily. LibraryLion


Some further research shows that the greatest increase in offense over a short span was from 1892 to 1894, when the N.L. batting average went from .245 in 1892 to .308 n 1894. The reason is easily explained. In 1893 the pitching mound/rubber was moved back from 50 feet to 60 feet 6 inches, its present day distance. --LibraryLion 21:11, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

Indeed. Moving the pitching distance was "to increase the batting", as they said at the time. Now here's a trivia question that few know the correct answer to. Why was it moved to exactly 60 feet 6 inches, not just 60 feet? Wahkeenah 23:13, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

Going off the top of my head, I believe someone could not make out the print, or there some communication problem of some sort, so the extra 6" became added. --LibraryLion 07:05, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

I hadn't answered the question until now, because I forgot where it was. It's because the previous distance was based on a flat "pitchers box" that was 5 1/2 feet long. The pitcher had to toe the back line, which was 55 1/2 feet away from the plate. The front of the box was 50 feet from the plate. They simply added exactly 5 feet to the point where the pitcher had to start his delivery from, and took away the "box" as such. Thus, 60 1/2 feet rather than something obvious, like 60 feet. The whole thing sounds like a decision a government committee would make, doesn't it? d:) Wahkeenah 20:07, 20 August 2005 (UTC)

50' to 60'6"

They needed more offense, but safety was probably the major reason. Pitchers over the years had developed throwing motions that had increased the speed on the ball. The hardest thrower at the time was Amos Rusie. Real old-timers said Rusie even threw harder than Walter Johnson (Obviously old-timers are always biased for their generation). Rusie's speed was cited as literally endangering batters, as noted by one incident in which Rusie hit Hughie Jennings with a pitch that had Jennings unconscious for four days. But the pitcher was also at risk. Rusie himself had one of his fastballs lined back at him that hit him in the ear, which caused Rusie significant and permanent hearing loss.

Who knows how hard Rusie threw in the 1890's, maybe mid 80's mph at the fastest, maybe that's even too high. A 80-85 mph fastball thrown from 50' might be equivalant to about 95 mph at 60'6" to a batter. Baseball had outgrown its own parameters, and 50 feet was just too close. --LibraryLion 19:50, 20 August 2005 (UTC)

As noted in the previous paragraph, they messed around with the pitchers box and it sounded like they pushed it farther back than they actually did. It didn't really go from 50 to 60 1/2 feet, it went from 55 1/2 to 60 1/2. Think of it this way: a pitcher pushes off from 60 1/2 feet, but where is his hand when the ball is released? No more than 55 feet or so from the plate. The storied 50 feet distance was from the front of the pitchers box. So they only added 5 feet to the pitching distance, not 10. If you doubt this, check out Glory Fades Aaway by Jerry Lansch. He set the record straight... the first book I ever saw that made it clear, instead of the usual "surveyor's error" or other bogus explanation. Wahkeenah 20:12, 20 August 2005 (UTC)

The groundskeeper's error usually cited is just for extra 6 inches only, it had nothing do with the 60 feet part. The question you asked was why the extra 6" was added on to the 60', and you didn't specifically answer that part of your question. How far the overall distance was effectively moved back, 3ft, or 5ft or 10 ft, proved irrelavent, it radically changed the game. The important question is why it was moved back, not how much. My only point was simply adding another reason why it was moved back, and they were for safety reasons in addition to trying to increase offense. I'm not sure what broader point the author in the book you mentioned is making, unless it's just for informational purposes. --LibraryLion 19:56, 21 August 2005 (UTC)

I think we got onto two separate tracks here. Your intent was to point out how and why the pitching location was moved back, and that's on the money. I was simply posing it as a trivia question. The author of that book was not actually trying to make a point, he was matter-of-factly reporting rules changes as they occurred. He wasn't on any kind of soapbox about it. Nor was I. I just had an "AHA!" moment when I ran across that in his book. I like finding answers to mysteries... like the real story behind the "Called Shot". Sorry for any misunderstanding. d:) Wahkeenah 20:12, 21 August 2005 (UTC)

No problem, a short time afer I finished, it had occurred to me that you were on an entirely different part, but I sometimes I'm too quick on the 'save page' button before reviewing what I've typed. --LibraryLion 20:18, 22 August 2005 (UTC)


Some of the photos currently in this article will be replaced as I work on acquiring photos that are better matches for certain sections. I have written fair use justification for some of the photos I inserted, including listing the photo sources and credits, and I will soon complete this for all the photos that need it in the article. --LibraryLion 21:12, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

Ruth's weight

Probably written a long time ago, a contributor wrote about Ruth's weight which gave the impression Ruth's weight increased to the common pot-bellied image while he was still member of the Red Sox. However the common image of a more rotund Ruth is not as clearly visible until the mid 1920's. Some photos of Ruth in 1923 show him as what I would call husky, not thin but certainly not portly. --LibraryLion 23:21, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

1920 vs 1921

I have a section that Ruth's 1921 season is the greatest season ever. Some modern baseball researchers will state Ruth's 1920 season is his greatest, as well as the best season by any player. This may be true taken in context of comparing his numbers to the league overall. Comparing his statistics to others in 1920, and the fact he hit more home runs than 14 other teams is probably more impressive than anything he did in 1921. However I qualifed 1921 as 'statistically', meaning in context of the raw numbers only, and not comparing to other peripheral factors. By that definition, his 1921 is the best season ever. --LibraryLion 23:36, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

Babe Ruth Band

Perhaps a link should be added to the Babe Ruth band?

Copyright Claim - the Called Shot

The Wikipedia help desk received the following claim from the copyright holder.

I am the owner of the still photo of Babe Ruth. My copyright notice is not published on the page in Wikipedia. I must insist that this be corrected immediately or removed from the page. The copyright notice should be included with the visible photo, not as a separate item.

It should read: Copyright © Kirk M. Kandle, all rights reserved. Also, please include a link to

Thank you for your iimmediate attention to this.

I have made the changes as requested. Capitalistroadster 09:55, 27 November 2005 (UTC)


From the featured article discussion I've gathered that there are strong feelings on both sides of the length issues. I'd like to take a stab at shortening it, but I don't want to get in an edit war or cut something the majority of readers fell should stay. I think what I'm going to do is create a new edit, post it on a subpage, so that people can comment on the changes. I'll post something her when I have the subpage up. I look forward to your comments. --djrobgordon 15:38, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

  • I've completed my rewrite of this article and posted it at Babe Ruth/rewrite. If you have the time, please compare it to the current article and leave any feedback on the subpage's talk page. The page is still longer than Wikipedia guidelines suggest (It's down from 87kb to 63), but I think most of the content is essential. When rewriting a quality article which other editors have obviously spent time on, I think it's best to tread lightly and get a consensus before making large scale changes. I just want the best article possible, and don't mean any disrespect to other editors who've contributed. Thanks for your time. --djrobgordon 19:50, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm about to move the rewrite to the main page. I've had some indication that there are editors still interested in working with the old material, so I'm moving that to the rewrite page, however I won't be editing it. I'm going to archive the talk page from the rewrite on this page. --djrobgordon 16:08, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Rewrite problems/Two articles

I am going to put the longer Ruth article as another article alternate to this one. This current version can be the shorter article, and hence can be cut down even more, while the longer one can remain more or less intact. The reasons for this are the following:

  • The longer article was a featured article candidate, and has been thoroughly edited both on grammar and style, and many have commented on the excellent quality of the writing.
  • Going through this version of the article, there were some major problems with grammar, writing style, and organization. It was apparent this version was not proofread very well. The biggest problem with the writing style is the numerous uses of short choppy sentences that takes out the pace of the text—hence making style seem amateurish. Also, some longer paragraphs have been cut down to one or two sentence paragraphs. If one cuts down a longer paragraph, you very often need to rewrite the text in a more general and broad style for shorter paragraphs. I have fixed some of the above problems, but not all of them. (I do not mean to be completely critical of this version, as the writer did some parts adequately, but he needs to work on some important aspects needed for good technical writing.)
  • Editing conflicts can be dealt with more easily by having two articles. I had restored the longer article to the main article, but the contributor restored his version, albeit with all its problems. To make a clear distinction between the two articles, this current version should be significantly reduced in size by anyone who has the time. --LibraryLion 01:04, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
The following comments were originally posted on User talk:LibraryLion:
In the edit summary of your reversion on this article, your stated reason is that it needed style and grammatical edits. This may be true of the rewrite, but it's also true of the older version. I know, because I spent a lot of time cleaning them up. I inserted pronouns, fixed syntactical errors, and deleted a number of redundant wikilinks. By reverting my changes wholesale, rather than fixing the errors that I missed, you've made it necessary for someone to do that work over again.
You've also reinserted content that you admited was extraneous. I have no claim of ownership on this article, and you're free to add any content you wish. However, I think it would be less destructive to add said content without undoing all of the work I've put into the article.
Length continues to be an issue, and as of yet you're the only person to argue that it should stay so long. This was one of the major issues that kept Babe Ruth from attaining feature status, and has been brought up on the talk page by people other than myself.
When I posted the rewrite, I made every effort explain my edits, and to get feedback from yourself and from other editors. As a matter of fact, I took a good amount of the suggestions that were made. Also, you and any other editor on this site were free to edit the rewrite in any way you saw fit. The consensus was that the rewrite was an improvement, so I moved it to the mainspace. Because you expressed an interest in writing a more detailed comanion article, I did you the courtesy of moving the longer text to the Babe Ruth/rewrite so that it could be edited freely.
I'm going to revert the article to the final edit you made before reverting it. If there are issues you think need to be addressed (such as grammar and style), and you're not willing to address them, please post a message on Talk:Babe Ruth so that other editors can. Reverting the month's worth of work that I put into improving this article, throwing out the good along with the bad, in my opinions creates just as many problems as it solves. --djrobgordon 19:31, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
I apologize for posting comments earlier when I in fact did nothing more than a quick scan. Further reading showed me all the problems, so please dismiss my earlier comments.
One month of work dbgordon on an article is nothing. In this case, all you have really done is just rearranged all the material I have researched and written. The research and original writing is the hard part. I read three biographies, used numerous books for research, wrote about 20 different drafts, not to mention the hundreds of minor edits, inserted almost all the photos with captions and fair use, verified all the information, all of this which probably took about five months. Of course I did not do everything, as many fine Wikipedia contributors added information, even writing much of the beginning of the article including Ruth's early years, fixed errors, helped with style, added info boxes, categories, trivia, etc.
Despite what all I did, no one "owns" any Wikipedia article. The only thing I do not like is contributors who add un-referenced material, or, those who delete information at random (because "they know what is best" to cut out). I also have a problem with those who want to dramatically change an article, yet they demonstrate no knowledge of the subject. Because one does not know the subject, he or she cannot accurately discern what is important and what is not, so one is left to randomly deletes this and that, not knowing its importance. This is part of your problem dbgordon. You have not researched this subject, so you are limited in information to what I have written. You did not use any original material of your own that could help rewrite the parts that you cut down. It's the same way I would never redo the physics article, because I know nothing about the subject.
As far as the writing, I do not know about your writing on other subjects, but at least on this one your writing needs improvement. I had to reinsert material on to certain sentences because you have habit of writing only short sentences and then leave them hanging without any support. You need to develop what is called subordination, an essential element of technical writing. Also, what you often did was cut one sentence out of a paragraph you deleted, and then post this sentence onto another paragraph that had a different topic. There were basic grammatical errors you made, but the biggest problem was a complete lack of proofreading (go back over my edits of your rewrite for specifics). I know I have flaws as a technical writer, and I know this article has flaws, but I do know the fundamentals of good technical writing.
On another issue, the subject of length is one everyone has opinions on-and no one can consistently agree on. There are some very long Wikipedia articles on some very obscure subjects. It shows there really is no consensus on length. Is a comic strip like Calvin and Hobbes worth 25 pages? (Last time I checked, it was this long.) Some think it is. I honestly cannot say what is the right length is for any subject. You read some articles, you want more information, others overload you with details. I believe in most cases peoples' idea of length is often biased on the degree of interest and knowledge they have in a particular subject. --LibraryLion 21:29, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm not trying to be snide her, but can anyone point to an instance where an edit conflict has been dealt with by having two separate articles for the same topic? I'm don't have the interest or the authority to stop anyone from taking that route, but it seems like doing so would put the credibility of Wikipedia somewhere around the level of Everything2. --djrobgordon 01:51, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

I am not suggesting two articles to resolve any edit conflict per se. I have always told others that I think what is best is one short article and one longer article. I realize very few people want to read a 25-30 pages article, so a much shorter article, maybe 6 or 7 pages at the most, would serve as the main article. For those who want much more detail, they could still have the longer version as an option.
People's perception of Wikipedia probably would not change at all if there were two articles, because people already have their own set opinions about Wikipedia Sometimes I wonder if anyone actually reads Wikipedia articles. People prefer to contribute because it is more rewarding to write, but that is another topic... --LibraryLion 21:29, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Do we need to have an RfC here? Let me try to explain myself one more time.

First, you claim their are grammatical errors in my rewrite. This may be true, however there were also errors in your version which I fixed. If you're concerned, feel free to do the same and fix any errors I made. When I encounter a grammatical error on Wikipedia, I fix it. What I don't do is revert the article to the last version before the error was added.

As for style, it's a point of personal preference, and we can go back and forth forever without getting anywhere. You think my sentences are short, choppy, and unsupported. I think you tend to write redundant run-ons with too few pronouns and not enough punctuation. We're never going to agree; that's the nature of collaborative writing. I assume your comments about my writing aren't personal, and I don't mean to attack you. The best we can do is continue to tweak it until we have the best article possible.

You're right that I didn't add much of my own prose to the article. I deliberately made this choice because I didn't want to offend editors such as yourself by writing over their contributions. I've done rewrites where none of the prose was worth saving. That wasn't the case here.

This was a bad article before you rewrote it. Thanks to your efforts it's now a very good one, however I'd like it to be great. You point to the fact that this article was a former feature article candidate, but I think the fact that it failed proves it still needs work. My edits are a starting point, not the end result. If anything, it's still too long, and it will never be featured without in-line citations. Babe Ruth is the most recognizable face of his sport and his article should be impeccable. If you want to see what a feature-quality athlete bio looks like, see Wayne Gretzky, Sandy Koufax, or Jim Thorpe. Again, I'm in no way saying my edits have made this article feature-quality.

I'm leaning toward submitting a Request for Comment, and I'd like your support in doing so, as I believe this is an honest disagreement between two editor trying to write the best article possible. Please let me know if this is acceptable to you. --djrobgordon 21:45, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Well, we certainly need to do something. Much of the content of the original version of the article is no longer appropriate, because it was moved to other pages. I happen to like the new article, but this isn't my dispute. I just know that I don't like seeing my edits go away because of major reverts.
As to sentence length, I don't think long or short sentences alone make good writing; they should be varied, with more attention to cadence than actual sentence length. I tend to write sentences that are too long. I don't think I'm alone in that. Jwolfe 10:37, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
If it does get reverted again, it will be to the version as of 16:41, March 2, 2006, rather than the original rewrite. Then I'll have to go through the article history and redo all of the changes others have made since then. --djrobgordon 19:35, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm going to give this about 24 more hours. If there's still no response I'm going to assume there's no objection to my reverting to the version I mentioned above. If anyone would rather we go through the RfC process, please speak up. --djrobgordon 17:54, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I just have to respectfully disagree with reverting the article back to the rewritten version. Sometimes writing style is a matter of perception (although not the proofreading errors), but the main problem I have was cutting parts from here and there for the sake of shortening an article, and in my opinion, shortening an article is not automatically improving it.
My compromise solution is for you to completely write a new shorter article djrobgordon, writing the main Ruth article that is no longer than 7-8 pages, while the longer one is kept as an alternate article. What would be your objections to this idea, a solution that would actually give you more freedom of writing and organization? (As a side note, I do not care about the featured article status, which is inherently flawed system-another topic for discussion.)
If we address the main problem with the article, it is length, and your rewrite is not much shorter than my version. Both articles are still way too long for the average reader. Yes I am biased on the two articles suggestion, but I honestly believe it is the best option. This I have to admit, is my Hobson's choice solution, as I do not want to do anymore with the article, as I spent a lot of time on it last year (I do thank you for your compliements djrobgordon) and I have also moved on to other projects. --LibraryLion 00:14, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
I wouldn't be nearly as opposed to a two article solution if you could point me toward a couple of situations where it's been used successfully. I hesitate to set a new precedent on such a major article without consensus from the larger community. --djrobgordon 14:30, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
I would say to try it first, and if enough people object to having two articles, one can be removed. I will consent to let the long article be removed and have your much shorter version be the only article if enough people object to having the two articles. However, it should be made clear that the articles are not different in content, but just in length, so the two articles are really not the result of any edit war over content, rather one article is much more general, the other more detailed. The main page would be your shortened version, and at the top of the page would be a line ‘for a more detailed biography, see Babe Ruth (longer article)' or something like that.
Someone might suggest summary style, I guess it could be tried, but I not think summary style works well on biographies. Summary style, in my opinion, is a distraction for the reader as one has to click back and forth between sections. It works on some articles, but not on most. For a while the Isaac Newton had two seperate articles, but reading both, it was appararent their was not enough a difference to justify this, and now it is just one. Other than that one, I have no other examples, but that does mean it cannot be tried temporarily for this article. --LibraryLion 21:18, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

General Notes

This is my proposed revision of Babe Ruth. If you have the time, please compare it to the current article and leave any feedback on this talk page. The page is still longer than Wikipedia guidelines suggest (It's down from 87kb to 63), but I think most of the content is essential. When rewriting a quality article which other editors have obviously spent a lot of time on, I think it's best to tread lightly and get a consensus before making large scale changes. I just want the best article possible, and don't mean any disrespect to other editors who've contributed.

I've included a section-by-section description of my edits here, in case anyone is interested. If I don't mention a section, it's because I only made cosmetic changes. Here are a few things I'll state up front, so I don't have to continually repeat them:

  • I trimmed most of the World Series descriptions, but added links to those Series' respective articles.
  • Grammar/style cleanup (insertion of pronouns, deletion of adjectives, etc.).
  • Deleting summary or descriptive sentences that added color, but not content.
  • Removed redundant wikilinks, unlinked common nouns.
  • A few NPOV edits, although generally this wasn't a problem.

Early years, Red Sox, Ruth the Yankee

Most of the edits I made in the early sections of the article were either stylistic or grammatical. They remain mostly intact. I took out a few redundant phrases. Where I did remove entire sentences, it's either because they provided a context that I didn't find necessary for an encyclopedia article, or because they were descriptive passages more appropriate for a magazine article. An example of the former would be the link I added to the 1918 World Series, in place of a paragraph discussing the circumstances surrounding the Series. The edits I made to the last paragh of the section "Ruth the Yankee" are an example of the latter.

Beginning of the live ball era

I removed this section, but certainly not because there was a problem with the content. Actually, the discussion here was better than the article, Live Ball Era, and I incorporated much of the section into that article. However, the section had very little to do with Ruth. While it would certainly warrant inclusion in a biography, in my opinion the information was too peripheral to include here. I did add a sentence stating that Ruth's 1920 season marks the beginning of the live ball era, and I also mentioned it in the section, "Impact on baseball.

Increased attendance

The rationale is the same as with the "live ball" section. While Ruth's effect on attendance deserves a mention, I felt that the section as a whole was beyond the scope of the article. I added a reference to attendance at the end of "Ruth the Yankee."

"The House that Ruth Built"

Deleted periphary information, cleaned up the prose. Same as above, mostly.

"The Bellyache Heard Around the World"

It's still longer than I'd like, but the information is all valuable. I took out some of medical jargon, as well as a more detailed discussion of the rumors that Ruth had a venereal disease.

Return to the top

I shortened the description of game seven of the World Series, and deleted the final paragraph, which only summarized information that is discussed more thoroughly later.

1927: a team for the ages

I took a good deal out of this section; however, much of it has ended up elsewhere on Wikipedia. I took a paragraph about the team and integrated it into Murderer's Row. I also trimmed the World Series description.

1928 & '29

Took out a description of the Philadelphia Athletics.

"The Called Shot"

This is the one section I added to. The play was mentioned but wasn't actually described.

Personal Life, Impact on Baseball

I moved both of these sections from the middle of the article to the end. I took out a paragraph about the death of Ruth's first wife. I removed almost all of "Impact on Baseball," not because it wasn't good information, but because most of it is either covered elsewhere or beyond the scope of the article. Also, I moved the entire section, "The Home Run Asterisk," to "Impact."

Retirement and later years, Illness

Moved paragraph on staistical legacy to "Impact on baseball. Deleted a speculative paragraph on tobacco.


Quite simply, I took out the facts I don't think pass the "WP is not an indiscriminate collection of information" test. For instance, a bit about Orson Welles birthday and the fact that the money made by auctioning Ruth's contract went to a particular charity.


I standardized the thumb sizes. Also, I deleted the following images:

  • a Ruth postage stamp, which was displayed directly above a larger, image of the photograph used for that stamp.
  • on second thought, I took out the big picture too. It's iconic to be sure, but the image looks like it's a photograph of a photograph (the flash is visible). Unfortunately, I don't have a higher quality image, and I think there's enough here already without including substandard scans.
  • a photo of Red Sox owner Harry Frazee.
  • a team photo of the 1927 Yankees. However, I added this image to the article, Murderer's Row.
  • Ruth at his first wife's funeral, Ruth with his second wife. Good images which I could have been convinced to keep, but I felt the page was too crowded near the bottom.


Article looks good and has featured article potential but may need sources of quotes etc to make that status. Thanks for your hard work on this issue. Capitalistroadster 20:45, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Good job. I like the way you managed to pull out good information and incorporate it into other articles. One thing I would like to see restored: I like the postage stamp as evidence of Ruth's impact (i.e. he was so good, they issued a stamp for him), so how about putting the stamp image under "Impact on Baseball", which doesn't currently have a picture? Jwolfe 22:52, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

One suggestion: the fact that Babe's father died in a tavern brawl when he was only 23 seems something more than "trivia." I'd move it to a line in the Early Years section.

Other thoughts:

  • Under the "Sold to New York" heading: "But because of World War I, Red Sox attendance, as in every other major league city, fell off badly." is poorly worded. Consider "At the same time, World War I had led to declines in attendance across the major leagues.", which ties together the concepts of Frazee's overpaying players and the ultimate trade of Ruth.

I'll be reading through the revision, and I'll try to provide a healthy set of notes, but so far it seems much more "encyclopedic" and less kitchen sink. kthejoker

I've taken all of these suggestions and incorporated them into the article. --djrobgordon 00:59, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

The following comments were originally posted on User talk:Djrobgordon:

Yes it looks good. I wrote about 80-90% of the article, but have not had the time or committement to do a rewrite to shorten it, so I appreciate you taking the time. Here are some of my suggestions:

1. In the 1921 season, it is mentioned Ruth went to Columbia for a series of tests part. This entire paragraph can be deleted. I did not add it, and it was not referenced, so it can be deleted. I added all the book references in the article, since no part of the article had any references other than random external links before I started working on it.

2. In 1932, after "the called shot" line, there are two paragraphs that you probably do not need, as in the separate called shot article also goes into detail on this.

3. Near the end, the two paragraphs that mention the Maris asterisk in 1961, the records books, etc., both of these paragraphs can be deleted since they were not referenced. The Maris asterisk information belongs more on the Roger Maris article.

4. Just a grammatical suggestion, the first paragraph in the 1922 season is long, so you will want to split this up. The line beginning with "While Ruth..." should start a new paragraph.

5. My personal preference is the death should be the last main section of any article, as I just think it looks better. Of course many references, Encyclopedia Britannica, and some Wikipedia biographical articles sometimes deviate from this, so it certainly is no rule. You added personality and impact sections after the death section, so let me address those sections and why I put them where I did.

I put the personality section after the 1928 season because it breaks up the monotony of the article, that is, the year by year analysis of Ruth's baseball seasons is probably too much for many readers. Putting the personality section in the middle gives the reader a break from all the baseball talk and baseball numbers, and some readers probably are more interested in Ruth the man than anything he did on the field. It also fits chronologically; Ruth's first wife died in 1929, and he married his second wife later in 1929. If I ever add more information to this article, it will be about his personality, as this part I wrote seems now sketchy and incomplete to me.

Ruth's impact on the game was immediate, so this section, in my opinion, would neccessitate it being mentioned when Ruth was dramatically changing the game, which was the early 1920's. This part you cut down, but I would tend to keep the great majority of the section because the effect he had on the game was as important as his individual accomplishments. With all the other parts I suggested we can delete, this will not add any length to the article.

Try my suggestions and then see how the article looks, as I think it would give it just the right fine tuning. Other than that the article looks fine to me, nice work djroggordon. --LibraryLion 21:40, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Pictures in the article

Is there any way that it can be decreased a bit? Fair use pictures are fine to use, but this one has an overabundance of them. Otherwise, it looks good. --Woohookitty(cat scratches) 05:30, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

I disagree that the number of pictures is excessive. There is no more than one picture per section. Pictures are more visually appealing than a monotonous block of text. Jwolfe 01:21, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Moving over to the main article

So, when is this going to be moved over to the main article? Jwolfe 22:59, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

I'll do it before the weekend's up. --djrobgordon 06:20, 19 February 2006 (UTC)