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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Babe Ruth Signed Imperial Hotel Menu


With the Babe's penchant for home runs and food, it seems appropriate for there to be something as cool as a menu signed by him... but one from his tour of Japan in 1934?

Above, is an image of an article on sale via E-Bay - HERE, with an asking price of US$27,500 (¥3,129,500).

Th menu is an official dinner program menu from the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, from November of 1934, and is signed by American baseball players: Babe Ruth, Charles Gehringer, John Quinn, Joe Cascarella (who owned this menu originally and gave it to the seller's grandfather), and Frank Hayes.

You can read about that baseball tour HERE and  and its impact on baseball in Japan HERE.

While there were a lot of other ball players at this all-star dinner - the American's played the Japanese all-stars then, according to the original owner of this menu, he said that "Gehrig would not have anything to do with The Babe or anything which he had to do with."

Gehrig, is of course, Lou Gehrig, and was a teammate of Ruth's on the New York Yankees baseball team. Gehrig had the unfortunate luck to be diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease and later died from it.

Okay.. joking there... it was ALS, which has come to be known colloquially as Lou Gehrig's disease.

ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a neuro-degenerative disease where the nerve cells that control your muscles die.

As a baseball fan, it is interesting to hear that little line about Gehrig and Ruth's relationship.

>Gehrig and Ruth are considered to be two of the best players to ever play baseball, and were teammates on the New York Yankees, and are both in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Ruth had personality and flair, while Gehrig played like a stoic soldier, and yet... for the early years, they were buddies.

According to a 1991 BY Times article (HERE), the relationship may have begun to unravel when:

But Gehrig increasingly objected to Ruth's public declamations against Yankee Manager Joe McCarthy, a man Gehrig almost revered as a second father. To Gehrig, such loose talk was just not permissible.
A petty incident curtailed further civility between Gehrig and Ruth. Dorothy, the 12-year-old daughter of Babe's first wife, went to visit Lou's mother one weekend in the early 30's dressed like a shabby tomboy. In the eyes of Mrs. Gehrig, who was domineering and opinionated, this was an insult.
"Why doesn't Claire dress her as properly as she does Julia?" Mrs. Gehrig said, angrily. (Julia was Claire Ruth's daughter by her first marriage.)
The remark quickly reached Claire's ears, then Babe's. Ruth barked: "Why doesn't Mom Gehrig mind her own damned business!"
The last straw came when Ruth spoke disparagingly of Gehrig's cherished consecutive game streak. He said he regarded it as little more than a boring statistic. "This Iron Horse stuff is just a lot of baloney," Ruth growled. "I think he's making one of the worst mistakes a player can make. He ought to learn to sit on the bench and rest. They're not going to pay off on how many games he's played in a row."

Until Baltimore Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr. came along and broke it, Gehrig's Iron Man streak of consecutive baseball games played was a Major League Baseball record 2,130 professional baseball games throughout his career - keeping in mind that he suffered a total of 17 fractures in his hands, was beaned (ball to the head) several times, had severe back pain and suffering various other illnesses and minor injuries (according to the official Lou Gehrig website www.lougehrig.com).

His streak ended when his ALS became too debilitating for him to continue. Gehrig died on June 2, 1941, just shy of his 37th birthday.

This baseball trip by the so-called American all-stars was also the one where player Moe Berg went out and took film of Tokyo... film that was used some eight years later to help plan the Doolittle Raid in 1942 on April 18, 1942 as a retaliation for the months earlier attack on Pearl Harbor.

While Gehrig played the role of Boy Scout, he did drink... just not to the legendary excesses of Babe Ruth... and since it is also St. Patrick's Day...

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph

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