My Bambino Autograph

The other day on this blog, while I was wishing my mother a Happy Birthday, I mentioned that she had given me Babe Ruth’s autograph when I was in high school. Apparently, she and my father were out for dinner in NYC on October 5th, 1943, the night before he was going into the Army, and Babe and his buddies were sitting at the next table. In true She-Fan style, she waltzed over and asked him to sign her menu. My husband Michael took a picture of the autograph.
I wish I could have been at that dinner (I didn’t come into the world for quite a number of years), because I would love to have asked Babe a million questions, plus coax him to say a few words on the She-Fan Cam. Among my questions:
* Did you really “call” that home run?
* Did you and Gehrig get along?
* Do you think there will come a time when players use illegal drugs to enhance their performance?
Since an interview with the Babe wasn’t possible, here’s a substitute.


  1. Jane Heller

    Thanks, Mike. Glad you liked it. It does have a story, since the day after my parents had dinner and got the autograph, my dad went off to the Army. And Babe died five years later. It’s fun to read the food on the menu too. (It didn’t come out in the photo.) From what I could tell, stuffed squab was big back then! So was demitasse!

  2. Jane Heller

    Not a chance, Rob. I don’t think he’d tell me the truth about him and Gehrig either. He was always ready with a joke for the media but not exactly forthcoming.


    Fabulous story, with pix, video and all…thanks SO much for sharing, Jane!! Agreed — ol’ Gidge (the players called him that) wouldn’t likely answer any of those questions, but he’d have sure liked to have YOUR company!!
    BTW…about 3-4 years ago, picked up a copy of the book “The Big Bam,” a bio of Babe by Leigh Montville. Gotta READ it now (it got shelved away in my sports library). Appaerently, when Bambino hit #60 (off Nats pitcher Tom Zachary), he threw his glove on the ground and complained that the ball was foul, but “…his words were blotted out by the noise from the small but exuberant midweek crowd of 10,000. Number 60 was done.”
    Ain’t it amazing to realize that both Ruth’s 60th and Maris’ 61st were hit at home, to relatively tiny crowds?


    That was cool Jane! One thing I noticed was how much more natural a pitcher’s motion was back then. Maybe that’s why they could pitch complete games and not need TJ surgery.

    This also reminded me of one of our families favorite stories. My parents were married on June 12, 1948. On June 13, they took a train and then a taxi to the place they were honeymooning. It was Babe Ruth Day at Yankee Stadium and the Babe was making his final appearance. They arrived at their destination and my mom got out of the taxi and took the bags out. My father stayed in the car, listening to Babe on the radio. “He’s dying Emily” he kept saying. My mom patiently waited on the curb until the Babe finished speaking and the ceremonies were over. Then my dad joined her for their honeymoon. They were married for 61 years.


  5. Jane Heller

    The players called Babe Ruth “Gidge,” Dave? That’s something I didn’t know. Reminds me of Gidget. LOL! Great story from the “Big Bam” book. Sounds like a good read. It’s amazing how small the crowds were when he hit #60 and Maris hit #61. Why was that? I know people were working, which is why most games are night games during the week in this era, but 10,000?

    I love that story about your parents, Melissa!!!!! What a way to start a marriage/honeymoon. They must have been a well matched pair, since your mom didn’t mind waiting for your dad while he listened to the taxi radio. Such a wonderful image. And 61 years. Wow.

    Virginia, you were aware of Babe Ruth at quite a young age! And how sweet of your teacher to let you keep the biography of him. No wonder you grew up and became such a fan.

    A bazillion bars, Jeff? Yikes. I’m honored! Speaking of the Babe’s signature, I’ve had people look at it and tell me it’s not exactly the way he signed. But he was five years away from dying and his handwriting had to have changed from when he was in his prime. I would think so anyway.

  6. Jane Heller

    Good point, Lorcan. It still amazes me that he was a pitcher too. When you take that into account, he had to be the greatest player, period.

  7. lorcanmccormick

    Well it was even more amazing he was a great pitcher too. Why oh why did my Sox trade him? Anyways again have a nice day and can any Sox or Yanks fan wait for April? Should be a great opener.


    Amazing autograph!!! I wonder what its worth. Going back to my NY Jets, I have autographs of most of the Jets that won Super Bowl III, including one from Joe Namath that is personalized to me. That autograph book and a small book of photo’s I took that summer at Hofstra University are my prize possessions, along with the Yankees tickets from the final game at the old stadium and from ALCS Game 7 in 2003.

    Here’s hoping the Jets can do it again…41 years and counting.


    The Jets just won!!! Just one victory away from going to The Super Bowl!!! I know their chance of beating The Colts is slim to none but it was probably just as slim a chance that they would have beaten San Diego today. I’m jazzed, no matter what happens next week. J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets.

  10. Jane Heller

    Diane, I’m so happy for you! Congrats to the Jets on the big win and fingers crossed for them in the next round. Sounds like you have a pretty amazing collection of autographs, including the personalized one from Namath. Wow!

    Actually, I do keep the autograph in an airtight bag, Paul. And I keep the bag in a special place in my house.

    Your uncle has a signed pic of the Babe AND Gehrig, Elizabeth? That’s got to be worth a fortune, not to mention one of the great baseball keepsakes you could possible have – even if you’re not a Yankee fan!

    I’m very proud of the autograph, 10indians. It has a lot of sentimental value for me.

    Thanks, A.J.!!!

  11. Jane Heller

    He was my dad, Sue! He died when I was six. There must have been some kind of a special dinner for him so that my mother and their friends could say goodbye before he went into the Army.


    Hi Jane – that was awesome. I also love the John Chancellor narration…two things I remember about that – actually the next line that Chancellor says, after quoting Ruth saying “Sixty, count em, sixty! Let’s see some SOB beat that!”, was, “It was generally agreed that no sonuvabitch ever would.” I love that line, and how it was delivered, so understated! The other thing is that there was someone in that Ken Burns episode who made the case for Ruth as the greatest player of all time, and he eloquently states the case by saying, “How could he not be? Not only was he the hitter he was, but people forget that he was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball, along with Joe Wood, in the decade of the 1910’s. It’s like discovering that Beethoven and Cezanne were the same person producing both bodies of work.” How eloquent.

    John (galavanting the globe – now in CA)…

  13. Jane Heller

    Hello, galavanting John! So you’re in my neck of the woods now? Is it pouring wherever you are? We’re in the midst of torrential rains for this entire week, so I hope you brought an umbrella. I love the Chancellor narration too. How could Ruth not be the greatest player of all time indeed? The quote you mentioned says it as well as it could be said. Safe travels.

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