The Babe’s Called Shot

Written by: John Horne

One of the most famous home runs in World Series history happened on Oct. 1, 1932, during Game 3 of the 1932 Fall Classic. It was the New York Yankees vs. the Chicago Cubs, and the Yankees won the first 2 games at Yankee Stadium. Game 3 was at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Charlie Root was the Cubs pitcher. He would give up a three-run homer to Babe Ruth in the first inning and a solo shot to Lou Gehrig in the third. The Cubbies would score a run in the first, two in the third and another in the fourth. So after four innings the score was tied at 4-4.

In the top of the fifth inning, Joe Sewell led off for the Yankees and grounded out to short. Up next was “The Babe” – already a larger than life figure. As he stepped to the plate, the Cubs’ bench was riding him mercilessly. Babe would yell and gesture back. With the count 2 balls and two strikes, Ruth seemed to point two fingers toward center field. Then he belted the next pitch deep in the center field seats.

This photo shows Babe Ruth after hitting that mammoth home run. He is greeted at home plate by Lou Gehrig. Looking on is the Cubs catcher Gabby Hartnett. Gehrig would follow with a home run, giving each player two for the day. But it was Ruth’s second home run that would garner all the ink in the next day’s papers.

Ruth would confirm that he did call the home run. Charlie Root would say that he was giving two fingers to the crowd showing he had two strikes on him and still had one left.

Decades later, people still argue whether he was pointing or not. It will always remain in baseball folklore.

Babe Ruth greeted by Lou Gehrig at home plate after hitting his "Called Shot" - BL-6499.76 (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)