Life Behind Bars: Ruth’s Called Shot

For this series, my intent is to take a memorable moment in MLB history, and review it from the perspective of the man in the iron mask, the catcher.  After all, a life spent behind bars must give a unique outlook.

The Called Shot

Babe Ruth's famous called shot.

What: Game 3 of the World Series

When: October 1, 1932

Where: Wrigley Field-Chicago

Who: New York Yankees vs. Chicago Cubs

The Catcher: Charles Leo “Gabby” Hartnett

Background: Up two games to none, the Yankees, and Babe Ruth especially, were being jeered and ridiculed by the Cubs fans  the moment they stepped onto the field for batting practice.  Some sources recounted that the Cubs fans were throwing lemons at Ruth during his batting practice, but that didn’t stop him from hitting 9 balls over the fence during his practice session. This display of power carried over to his first at bat, when with 2 on and no outs, Babe hit a three-run homer.  Later, in the top of the 3rd, Lou Gehrig hit a solo shot.  Then in the top if the 5th, Ruth came up to bat for the third time in the game.  Pitcher Charlie Root had thus far given up two home-runs.


 Pitch one was a called strike.  The next two pitches were both for balls.  The fourth pitch of the at-bat was for another strike.  As Root readied himself on the mound, Babe, tired of hearing all the talk coming from the Cubs dugout, steped out of the batter’s box, and made a “gesture,” calling his shot.


However, Gabby, who had the best view of the event, said “I don’t want to take anything from the Babe, because he’s the reason we made good money, but he didn’t call the shot. He held up the index finger of his left hand … and said, ‘It only takes one to hit.”

Though Hartnett had a great series, .313/.353/.625, the Cubs were swept.

In 1955, “Old Tomato Face” was elected to the Hall of Fame (11th ballot).


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Wu-Tang, David Ortiz, and the Insane Pupil

Hip/Hop and Rap music are not for everyone, and I would guess that many in this community probably aren’t of the age to have grown up listening to the Wu-Tang Clan. But even if you did, you may not be aware of the  Wu-Tang Clan Name Generator, a website that allows you to type in your name and receive a Wu Warrior name.  While this may be silly, there does seem to be something to this Wu-Tang name; just ask Childish Gambino.

Did you know that if you type in “Big Papi” the nickname given is “Gentleman Wanderer”?  I can think of no better epithet for David Ortiz.  Ortiz frequently hugs members of the opposing team and is one of the nicest players in baseball, and when you consider how far he has traveled to get where he is, the name does seem appropriate.

Know what P-Town Tom’s is?  Scratchin’ Swami.  And couldn’t we all agree that Tom is a bit of a leader when it comes to the blogging community.  I recently interacted with the Swami, and was the beneficiary of his wisdom.

A few weeks ago, P-town Tom blogged about National Baseball Card Day , showing off what he picked up from the Topps promotion.  As per the usual, his generosity was on display as he offered up certain cards for trade.  He had duplicates of David Ortiz, so I laid claim to it.

My expectation was that he would send the card in a PWE, but that didn’t happen.  Instead, Tom sent a padded envelope full of Red Sox cards.

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Included with the stack of cards were these two: Dwight Evans and Mo Vaughn, both of whom are in the Red Sox Hall of Fame.


Eck and Nomar are both part of my Red Sox PC, so these cards were both needed.

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Now that Pedro is a Hall of Famer, his cards seem to go for more; picking up these two from Tom makes my job as a collector easier.

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The card on the right is the National Baseball card day promotional card; not much will be said of its design, as we have all had the opportunity to read such things on other blogs.  Mostly I wanted this card because this is Big Papi’s final year.  The pink refractor was an incredible gesture.

Tom sent another dozen cards, and while they were duplicates, they were much appreciated.

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Tom sent a note along with the cards and went so far as to include an appropriate daily calendar page.

Tom, thanks again for this wonderful selection of cards.  Keep an eye out for a return package soon.

What is your Wu-Tang Clan name? (Mine is “Insane Pupil”)

Posted in David Ortiz, Red Sox, Trades | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Fisk Friday:Walk sends the Wave

As promised, here is the final card that Matt from over at Bob Walk the Plank sent my way. 

How cool is this card? Everyone who knows anything about baseball is familiar with this moment in history. Unlike so many of the more recent Triple Threads, this card commemorates a meaningful event; thus, the words spelled out with the relics make sense.

I have big plans for this card, so stay tuned.

Thanks agan, Matt.

Posted in Carlton Fisk | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Intentional Walk, From Bob

More than a few weeks ago, Matt from over at Bob Walk the Plank held a contest, and I was lucky enough to be one of the winners. Between the time when the contest ended and the cards arrived, Matt informed me that he was going to tailor the cards to my collection, and let me tell you, he didn’t dissappoint.

First up is this Buster Posey relic from Gypsy Queen. Even though Posey’s cards have remained fairly expensive, I had been able to acquire 2 relics, and this makes 3.

Though he is no longer a catcher, and he now plays for the Indians, Napoli is still a preferred player in my collection.

Russell Martin is one of the recent additions to my player collection; I have only focused on his cards for the past year, so Matt was up to date on with these cards.

Evan Gattis remains as one of my favorite current players, though his numbers are down this season, it is a joy to watch him play. He has played catcher in a few games this season, so that is a bonus.

Matt also sent one more card, but I will show that one off on friday.

As always, Matt, you went above and beyond. Thank you.

Posted in Trades, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

2016 Panini Diamond Kings or The Joys of Being a Father

I could, and at some point probably should, pontificate about the joys of being a father.  However, as many of you are fathers, I can’t add anything that isn’t already known.

My family, in particular, my wife, always makes a big deal over me, especially on Father’s day.  Which means that yesterday was not just a day of being waited on like a king, I also got to bust open a box of cards, 2016 Panini Diamond Kings to be exact.

I only had to time to scan a few, and until I can go through the rest, the hits will have to suffice.


Numbered 30/99, this relic of the Red Sox top prospect is one that I will have to hold onto for a while.  As I told my wife last night, I am going to have to open myself up to finding more Red Sox players to collect, or I will quickly become bored with Boston.  For now, this goes into a weird section of my collection called “hopeful.”


Numbered 50/99, this Anthony Rizzo relic should be a lot more interesting to me than it is.  Most don’t remember that Rizzo was originally drafted by the Red Sox in the 6th round of the 2007 draft, but then was traded to the Padres as part of the Adrian Gonzalez deal.  So this should be a favorite of mine, but instead ends up on the trade bait page.  Still, it is a nice relic.


Numbered 69/99, this Tom Murphy dual relic auto is the most intriguing card of the three.  Currently, Murphy is in Triple A, and while he is striking out 32.6% of the time (against a 3.5% walk rate) 32 of his 56 hits at the Triple A level have been for extra bases.  Perhaps, he could end up at the major league level, should he get his strike out rate under control.

Posted in 2016 Panini Diamond Kings | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Good morning class, today we are going to learn about baseball cards.

I have shown off a card from this series previously, and my level of excitement and interest is the same now as it was then.  Of course, anytime that I can pick up a Gary Carter for less than $.50, I am happy, but when that card falls within the unique category of rare junk wax era card, I am ecstatic.

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1990 Donruss Learning Series #5-Gary Carter

Calling this card rare might be a stretch.  However, anytime a set of cards from the Junk Wax Era was only distributed to elementary and junior high schools, I think we can agree that they are at least “medium-rare.”

This card, like all the others in the Learning Series, has a different photo from the base set, but still relies upon the same backside of the card.  Here is the 1990 Donruss base card for Carter.


In Carter’s case, the Learning Series card works as a sort of Traded or Update set, as he was playing for the Giants in ’90.

While I do like this set, as Fisk and Carter are both included, I do have to wonder how successful or useful this set was as an educational tool.  Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to have been in a class that used these cards.  Unfortunately, I can’t imagine my curmudgeonly teachers handing these out, saying, “Good morning class.  Today, we are going to learn about baseball cards.”

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1972 Topps: In Action

In my attempt to collect every catcher from 1972 Topps, I have come to the point that I am only able to grab one or two cards at a time.  Either the cards needed are of superstars/hall of famers, or they are high numbered.  This, of course, means that patience is of the utmost importance.  After all, “it’s a waiting game.”

When I do get new additions, they are that much sweeter.  In particular, these two most recent pick-ups.

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1972 Topps # 434 Johnny Bench “In Action”

Before purchasing this card, I was a kind of torn as to whether or not it should be considered part of my 1972 Topps set or my Bench PC, as I hadn’t come to a conclusion about if subset cards should be included as part of my overall goal.  But after seeing this and the other “In Action” cards, I was sure that they were going to be displayed with the rest of my ’72 Topps cards.

This card has such a great image I don’t feel compelled to expound upon it.  Bench was just one of those players with indefinable qualities.  That isn’t to say that other catchers who are part of the “In Action” set don’t have great photos, but something about a young Johnny Bench looking skyward captures something that my words can’t.

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The back of these cards, for those unaware, have no correlation to the front.  Some have ads for other Topps products, some have these newspaper article entries, and others form part of a puzzle.

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1972 Topps #442 Thurman Munson “In Action”

After obtaining the Bench card, it seemed logical to go after another big name catcher, even if I don’t particularly like him or the team he played for.  While I do like having the card, I have to say that it doesn’t have much action.  I understand that Topps wanted to show an aspect to the game that isn’t often depicted on cards, but that doesn’t mean it should be part of this particular subset.

The back of this card is another newspaper clipping that has nothing to do with this moment, player, or team and didn’t feel it needed to be included here.

My want list is growing smaller; now I just need to update it on this blog.

Posted in 1972 Topps | Tagged , , | 4 Comments