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A (True) Story of Two Gifts Involving Babe Ruth

My grandfather was an accountant in New York City. One of his clients owned a property called The Dreier Hotel. One of the people who worked for the hotel was a man named Shaeffer, a long-time pal of Babe Ruth.

Because of Shaeffer, my father met Babe Ruth and received a picture signed, “To My Pal David, Babe Ruth.”

So, when did my dad get that photo? That makes a fun story even better.

During WW II, Babe Ruth, who was 47 years old at the time, came to Yankee Stadium to raise money for the war effort.

The man they got to pitch to him was the great Walter Johnson, who was 54 at the time. With some effort, the Babe finally hit one out . . . or at least far enough to make everyone happy.

The date was August 23, 1942. My dad was ten. That was the day my dad got that picture.

The picture hung in my dad’s bedroom until he graduated from high school and college. In 1955, it was shuffled into a suitcase, where it sat until I found it at least 30 years later.

The photo was then hung in my house until 2023 when I sent it to my brother’s son—a seventy-year journey and counting.

It’s a great story, and it gets better.

In that same old suitcase was a picture my dad cut out of Esquire Magazine. It’s the famous photo of Babe Ruth in the 1932 World Series game against the Chicago Cubs. That’s the game where he points to the fence at Wrigley Field before he hits it out.

Some years later, my dad went to Aspen, Colorado, for a weeklong seminar with Justice John Paul Stevens.

At this session, Justice Stevens mentioned the story about Babe Ruth at Wrigley Field, but he got the name of the Cubs pitcher wrong. Some errors can’t stand even with a sitting Supreme Court Justice. My dad diplomatically corrected him.

As an offering and thanks, my dad framed the picture from the suitcase and sent it to Justice Stevens.

About two years later, I read an article about Justice Stevens. One of the things he talked about was the Babe Ruth story and how much this picture meant to him. The picture was behind him on his credenza.

It was the picture my dad had sent to him.

And those are the two stories, about two gifts, about Babe Ruth.