Friday, May 29, 2009
Picture Of The Day--August 23, 1942
Long after their playing careers ended both Walter Johnson and Babe Ruth could still pack a crowd into a ballpark. With World War II in full swing, the rationing of supplies in The United States and night time curfews in effect, arguably Baseball's Greatest Pitcher and Slugger got together once last time on the baseball diamond at Yankee Stadium. On August 23, 1942, in an effort to raise needed donations for The Army Navy Relief Fund, these two Original Members Of The Baseball Hall Of Fame & Museum squared off in The Bronx before a scheduled doubleheader between The Washington Senators and The New York Yankees.
Walter Johnson was 55 Years Old. Babe Ruth was 48. Each would sadly pass away within six years.
But on this hot summer's New York City afternoon, 69,136 baseball aficionados showed up to watch the spectacle. The second largest home crowd all season for The Yanks, one of only six turnouts above 50,000 at the venerable ballyard that year.
"The Big Train" hurled 21 of what was left of his famous fastballs right down the middle of the plate to "The Bambino". And as everyone on hand watched with rapt attention--The Babe launched Johnson's third pitch into the rightfield bleachers at Yankee Stadium for a home run. Mostly though, Ruth struggled with his swings--Walter's rusty arm getting the best of Ruth's rusty swing. But never one to lose his flair for the dramatic, on Johnson's final pitch--Babe Ruth flat out HAMMERED "The Big Train's" offering HIGH, DEEP & INTO THE THIRD DECK of Yankee Stadium. A colossal blast, JUST FOUL, but good enough for "The Bambino" to trot around the bases to great applause--feeling the love of so many faithful that had adored him those many years.
Walter Johnson meeting "The Babe" at home plate, congratulating him on his effort--letting his friend live in the moment.
Walter Johnson's and Babe Ruth's Final Face-Off, August 23, 1942. The Picture Of The Day.
The Video NewsReel Of The Event