On July 6, 1947, it was announced that George Herman Ruth would be coming to Dallas on July 9. The occasion: an appearance during a double-header at Rebel Stadium in Oak Cliff on behalf of the American Legion junior baseball program. That Wednesday would be known, according to the ad that ran on Page Four of The Dallas News, as Babe Ruth Day in Dallas, featuring "the immortal and beloved" ballplayer who'd been gravely ill only six months earlier. Tickets for his appearance at the ballpark ran one dollar, 30 cents for students.
Sure enough, he arrived right on time: Ruth's plane touched down at Love Field at 6:50 p.m. on July 8, where he was greeted my Mayor Jimmie Temple, who, per Bill McClanahan's account in The News, "handed him a Texas ten-gallon Setson which he donned in place of his old trademark, the Ruthian, tan-colored cap." From there Ruth was whisked away to the Baker Hotel for an 8:30 press conference. Babe told the press corps that kids needed to start playing ball young: "Kids who want to go places in baseball oughta start playing' th' game when they're about 6," he said. "And by playin' I don't mean once a day. I mean playin' every day in th' week. Why, when I was a kid, I remember I usta play two or three games a day -- every day." This, according to McClanahan's transcript.
The following day brought a busy schedule: a 10 a.m. parade through downtown (including through Dealey Plaza), radio interviews, a luncheon, then the ball park in between contests pitting Crozier Tech against Forest and another featuring teams from Adamson and North Dallas. The paper would carry another story about Ruth's visit the following day -- this one, a front-pager written by Felix McKnight that ran on July 10, 1947, about Ruth's run-in with some young fans at the Baker, among them a 5-year-old boy named Carlton Crittenden, who now lives in Waco.
I know that because a few years ago, Kevin Sherrington wrote some about Ruth's visit to Dallas in '47. The occasion: Someone bought a photo of the Babe in Dallas, but knew little about the visit -- the why or the exactly when. Sherrington went to the paper's archives for some details; I went this morning for the rest because one "lexibell" out of Arkansas is eBaying the photo you see above, which was taken by the great Squire Haskins and comes from The Sporting News's archives. There are two days left to bid, and right now it sits at the low, low price of $14.88 with no takers. So far.
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