Babe Ruth's Called Shot

The Myth and Mystery of Baseball's Greatest Home Run


Book Description

Game 3 of the 1932 World Series between the Cubs and Yankees stood locked at 4-4. Above the almost deafening noise of the 50,000-strong crowd, Babe Ruth could hear the barbs pouring at him from the Cubs’ dugout. He took the first pitch for a strike. Cubs’ pitcher Charlie Root threw two balls, and Ruth watched a fastball cut the corner to set the count at 2 and 2. On the on-deck circle, Lou Gehrig heard Ruth call out to Root: “I’m going to knock the next one down your goddamn throat.” Ruth took a deep breath, raised his arm, and held out two fingers toward centerfield. Root wound up and threw a change-up curve, low and away. The ball compressed on impact with Ruth’s bat and began its long journey into history, whizzing past the centerfield flag pole (estimates put its distance at nearly 500 feet). Ruth practically sprinted around the bases, flashing four fingers at the Cubs: The series was going to be over in four games. In that moment, the legend of the Called Shot was born, but the debate over what Ruth had actually done on October 1, 1932, had just begun.

About Sherman, Ed

Ed Sherman is co-author of The Great Book of Chicago Sports Lists (Running Press, 2008) and for 27 years was a sports writer for the Chicago Tribune, after which he joined Crain’s Chicago Business, where he now writes a daily sports business blog. He won the Excellence in Sports Journalism Award from the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, and his work has appeared in Chicago magazine,, and The Sporting News. He lives in Highland Park, Ill., with his wife and two sons.