Ruth & Gehrig. Buck O’Neil. DiMaggio. Josh Gibson. Brooklyn Dodgers.
A very cool photo from The 1934 Tour of Japan which captures Babe Ruth at the plate while Lou Gehrig watches from on deck. Other notable players that joined the tour were Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Gomez, Charlie Gehringer, and Moe Berg. Berg is best known for joining the tour to spy on the Japanese for the US government, I’d suggest looking into this if you’ve never heard the story.
I recently found THIS article regarding the tour. The sub headline says “Babe Ruth caused riots in Japan in 1934 when fans fought to see the ‘Living God of Baseball.” I think that goes without saying that it’s worth reading.
1962. A newspaper clipping documenting Buck O’Neil joining the Chicago Cubs and therefore becoming the first black coach in the Major Leagues. O’Neil was the Manager of the Kansas City Monarchs from 1948 to 1955 and during those years managed both Ernie Banks and Gene Baker who are also featured in photo above. I will never tire of any old photos of Buck O’Neil.
A puzzling photo of Joe DiMaggio wearing the uniform of a team called the “Dons.” I have looked far and wide but can not find any info on this whatsoever. The closest thing I can come up with is that he may have played an exhibition game with the University of San Francisco at some point or another as the “Dons” are the nickname of the school’s teams. In any case, it’s a pretty interesting photo.
Josh Gibson hanging out with a bunch of young fans during his time with the Homestead Grays. It doesn’t get much better than this.
April 26th, 1949. Gene Hermanski, Jackie Robinson and Gil Hodges pose together after turning a triple play in a game against the Boston Braves. Hermanski’s face cracks me up in this and something tells me that he had a lot of fun while playing Baseball.
While Robinson and Hodges are well known to most people who follow the game of Baseball, Gene Hermanski is not a name many are familiar with. Aside from the Dodgers, Hermanski also played with the Cubs and Pirates during his time in the Major Leagues. In addition to this, he wrapped up his career in 1954 while playing with the Oakland Oaks of the old Pacific Coast League.
With all that said, Hermanski is best known for something that happened off the field as a response to death threats that Jackie Robinson was receiving in 1947. Hermanski suggested that all of his Brooklyn Dodgers teammates wear the number #42 to confuse potential snipers who were out to shoot Jackie. I’d say that this idea planted the idea that was eventually implemented every April 15th in Major League Baseball where every player in the game wears #42 to honor him on Jackie Robinson Day. Pretty cool if you ask me.