Reader Jack V. Morris has written in concerning an October 1927 exhibition game (discussed in this post) played in Trenton, New Jersey, featuring Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig versus the Brooklyn Royal Giants, during which children kept invading the field. This is what Jack has to say:
For five years in the 80s, I was a sports writer. My first job was with the Hamilton (NJ) Observer. Hamilton is a suburb of Trenton. One of my beats was American Legion baseball. So my summer was basically taking a lawn chair and a scorebook and watching baseball - not too bad! There were a number of older gentlemen who would come to the games and watch. As they saw me more and more, they would gravitate over to me. Soon they were regaling me with stories of baseball of the past. I loved it. One fellow, while I was covering a game in Trenton, told me that he had attended the 1927 Brooklyn Royal Giants and the Ruth-Gehrig game as a child of 8 or so.
When you listen to these guys, you obviously take things they tell you with a grain of salt. So when he told me that Ruth hit a gigantic home run that caused all the children to stream onto the field and end the game, I didn’t really believe it all. But a trip to the Trenton Public Library confirmed the story, to my amazement. He was spot on. The next time I saw him, I interviewed him about the game. I got it recorded on a micro cassette recorder that I used. I then put the tape away for safe keeping. Unfortunately, it was two moves ago and I have no idea where it is. I hope to stumble on it someday. After two decades, I’m not exactly sure what is on the tape.
Jack has also generously supplied some research notes on the game he compiled from the Trenton Times:
•“The Lincoln Giants were originally scheduled to play against the Ruth-Gehrig combination but (George) Giasco and (Joseph) Plumeri (the Trenton-area promoters) found they could get the Brooklyn Royals.” (October 11, 1927 Trenton Times):
•Giasco was described as a “well-known Trenton athlete” and Plumeri was a “business man who has been interested in local baseball.” (Oct. 10, 1927, Trenton Times)
•Gehrig and Ruth initially were scheduledfor a game in Portland, ME but the Trenton promoters outbid Portland. (Oct. 10, 1927, Trenton Times)
•Gehrig announced the game on his radio show the Sunday night before. (Oct., 10, 1927, Trenton Times)
•Gehrig and Ruth had games afterward in Brooklyn on Wednesday, October 12 and in Asbury Park on Thursday, October 13. (Oct., 10, 1927, Trenton Times)
From a column by William R. Clark in the Trenton Times on October 10, 1927:
“The high cost of home runs is indicate in the announced price which George Giasco and Joseph Plumeri are guaranteeing Babe Ruth and his companion in crime, Lou Gehrig, to appear in Trenton ...” No amount was given according to my notes, however.
More from that column:
“Mr. Ruth and Mr. Gehrig will be associated with a team composed of local players tomorrow but that is a detail that is of little interest to the customers. They are mainly intent upon viewing Mr. Ruth in the act of knocking the ball into Hamilton Township and the promoters shrewdly expect will pay well and often for the privilege.”
Finally, here are some notes on the game itself:
•“On 48 hours notice, Ruth packed the High School Field until its fences bulged and there was barely enough room left for Babe to knock three home runs.”
•Attendance was listed as 3,500 paid. But it was estimated that 3,000 children climbed over or under the fences. There were so many children in attendance that Clarke wrote in the Trenton Times the next day:
•“Alarmists who moodily shake pessimistic heads over the fancied decline of the birth rate should have been on the High School Field yesterday. You’d never suspect there were so many youngsters in the world.”
•Gehrig went 2-3 with a double to right in the first, a walk in the fourth, a single and scored run in the sixth, and a fly out to Finley in the seventh. Ruth was 3-5 with a fly out to Brooks in the first, a fly out to Washington in the third, a solo home run in the sixth, a two-run home run in the seventh and a one-run home run in the eighth. For some reason, I didn’t record the final score. In the box score, Gehrig was listed as the winning pitcher!
•Ruth’s last home run, which ended the game when the children ran onto the field, was described in the Times as flying “far over the right field fence out into Chambers Street.”
•Finally, the Trenton Times also made note of a local player on Brooklyn. Buddy Arnold, who started in left field, was from nearby Hopewell, NJ.
Thanks to Jack for all this rich detail. Let’s hope he’s able to uncover that interview someday.