YOU KNOW THE one I mean – the one in which Yankees slugger Babe Ruth hit what was to that date one of the longest home runs at Wrigley Field. Just before hitting the pitch to straightaway center field, the Babe made that pointing motion.
That much is fact. What is debatable is just what was Ruth’s intent when he made his arm motion?
Legend would have it that Ruth was pointing to a specific part of the ballpark, then proceeded to hit the very next pitch to that exact spot. While people eager to dump on Yankees legends or who are appalled by the outcome of that particular World Series (the Yankees swept the Cubs in four straight games, then did it again when the two teams confronted each other in 1938) will have us believe that Ruth was just clowning around.
They’d say that Cubs pitcher Charlie Root should have given the “big baboon” an old-school brushback pitch rather than something he could hit hard and far.
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THERE ACTUALLY ARE home-style movies shot during the game played Oct. 1 (the Yankees had already won the first two World Series games of ’32 played at Yankee Stadium) where Ruth’s arm motion just prior to the final pitch of the at-bat are clear.
What was his point? That is an issue we’ll get to debate over and over if it turns out that the 2017 World Series really does become a Yankees/Cubs matchup.
I suspect we’re going to be sick and tired of the debate – particularly Cubs fans, who aren’t going to want to be reminded over and over of a moment where they didn’t come out on top.
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In fact, that could be the part of a Yankees/Cubs World Series match-up most depressing for those fans of the baby blue Bears – the fact that historically, the match-ups always make the Wrigley Field faithful look lost.
CONSIDER INTERLEAGUE PLAY this season gave us a matchup between the two back in May – with the Yankees taking all three games (including the one that went 18 innings).
Of course, the alternative for the Cubs at this point would be a Houston/Chicago World Series matchup – which would actually be a replay of sorts of the 2005 World Series (the only time the Astros ever made it all the way).
But back then, Houston was a National League city, meaning they lost to the American League champion Chicago White Sox. Something I’m sure Cubbie faithful don’t want to think about, particularly since the actual White Sox/Astros matchup was far more interesting than an Astros/Cubs pairing would ever be.
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The other alternative could be the one that I’m sure many baseball observers outside of the North Side would prefer – a New York Yankees/Los Angeles Dodgers matchup.
MARKETS NUMBER ONE and two taking each other on (rather than one and three). Yankees/Dodgers would certainly be a more competitive matchup – 8 Yankees victories compared to 3 for the Dodgers, although 2 of the Dodger victories came in the last 4 of the matchups.
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Fantastic catches by Dodgers outfielders Al Gionfrido and Sandy Amoros, a perfect game by Don Larsen and that three-home run game by Reggie Jackson (or the one where his hip allegedly interfered with completing a double play) are just among the many historic baseball moments that have come from Yankees/Dodgers World Series matchups.
The Babe’s “Called Shot” was cute. But Yankees/Cubs matchups have given us little more than the sight of Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio beating up the Cubs.
Are we really eager to see a 21st Century matchup that would allow Yankees slugger Aaron Judge make up for his less-than-stellar performance this week against the Cleveland Indians by smacking the cutesy Cubbies about?