Friday, August 25, 2017

Birthplace of the Babe

The last post I'll write about my trip. It's suiting, because when we decided to move to Maryland in 2007, I told my now-husband that I had found the first place I wanted to visit down there. He was wary, probably because he thought it was going to be a dollhouse shop or something, but he was pretty happy when I told him our first tourist stop would be the home where George Herman Ruth was born in 1895.

My husband and son in front of the home's outside plaque

I'm not a "sports person" really, but I was always fascinated with the mythos of Babe Ruth. My dad was responsible for my learning about him, and the biopic starring John Goodman came out when I was a kid, and most people my age can quote lines from The Sandlot, so it wasn't long before I was checking out biographies about him from the local library. My dad once told me Babe Ruth had a connection to my high school- apparently, he played in an exhibition game in Rochester, NY, and while visiting the city he ate alot of Zweigle's hot dogs (a local brand, which is far superior to any other weiner), and the Zweigle girls attended Nazareth Academy. .  .I was never sure how factual this story was. The part about the exhibition game is true, and indeed there was a student who graduated from Nazareth in 1929 who had the last name Zweigle, and the Zweigle's company did have a Facebook post last year claiming that during his visit, the Babe was hospitalized after eating too many hot dogs (and drinking too much pop). So I guess my dad's story does check out!

My love of the Babe continues to this day; in grad school I took a course on American Consumerism and Leisure, and one of our texts was about the history of baseball. I turned right to the chapter about Babe Ruth, and the resurrection of the sport following the World Series scandal in 1919.

He's a prime example of our collective "American Dream"; the Horatio Alger type of parable which teaches us that natural talent and hard work can take someone from the humblest of roots and propel them to legendary status.

That type of narrative happens in sports, but it also happens in Hollywood and politics: three cultural institutes that define us.

Anyways, we hadn't visited the Babe Ruth Birthplace in about a decade, but we were happy to see it again.

The museum is the restored row house where he was born in an upstairs bedroom. And of course, there are a number of his original possessions on display there including uniforms, signed baseballs, a brick from the building that was once his father's saloon, toiletry sets, and his kimono from when he visited Japan.

Now we get ready to say good-bye to summer, and see what the fall brings.

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