I was a teenager when I first watched this movie and came across a copy while browsing around the library this weekend. Feeling like I was overdue to re-watch it, I decided to check it out.
The Pride of the Yankees was released in 1942 and is subtitled “The Life of Lou Gehrig.” Starring Gary Cooper as Gehrig, Teresa Wright as his wife Eleanor, and Babe Ruth as himself, it chronicles events of Gehrig’s life, from boyhood to his iconic speech at Yankee Stadium at the end of his career. The movie is much more touchy-feely and relationship-focused than it is a baseball biography. There is certainly baseball in the movie — after all, how could there not be? — but emphasis falls more on Gehrig’s relationships with his parents and with his wife.
The complete turnaround in Gehrig’s mother’s attitude towards baseball is certainly one of my favorite aspects of the plot. In the beginning, Mrs. Gehrig is determined that her son will become an engineer, only wishing for him a better life than she had. When Gehrig signs with the Yankees out of Columbia, she is naturally disappointed. However, Gehrig’s solid play and eventual stardom win her over, and by the end, she insists that anybody can be an engineer, but there is only one Lou Gehrig.
Gehrig’s “luckiest man” speech, both the original and the movie version, is so moving that anybody with a heart can’t help but be moved to tears. The movie as a whole revolves around the pulling of heart strings, from Gehrig’s too-good-to-be-true relationship with Eleanor, to the story of hitting two home runs for little Billy in the hospital, to the speech at the end. Certainly it was intended much more as a feel-good tale than a baseball movie. The movie ran a bit longer than I remembered it going (a little over two hours), but as a whole, was definitely worth watching once again.
This is pretty fun, so I thought I’d change things up just a little bit this morning. It’s been years since I watched any Letterman (I’ve never been a real night person, even while the show was running), but I always found the top ten lists amusing.
Top Ten Things Babe Ruth Would Say If He Were Alive Today:
10. “You call this a baseball team? Where are all the fat guys?”
9. “Yo quiero Taco Bell!”
8. “All right, who’s the son-of-a-bitch who named a candy bar after me?”
7. “All right, who’s the son-of-a-bitch who named a talking pig after me?”
6. “Hell, if that’s the case, I would have been impeached from the Yankees 500 times.”
5. “I won’t play unless I’m paid one hundred thousand dollars a year!”
4. “I can’t believe all these naked photos of me on the internet.”
3. “I’ve just come back from the dead – so can’t Denny’s give me a free meal?”
2. “Yeah, I’d like to see McGwire hit 60 home runs drunk off his ass!”
1. “Steinbrenner sucks.”
(Ty) Cobb is a prick. But he sure can hit. God Almighty, that man can hit.
On June 20, 1921, Babe Ruth hit his 127th career home run, moving him past Sam Thompson into second place all time for career homers and 11 homers behind all-time leader Roger Connor. His blast helped the Yankees on their way to a 7-6 win over the Red Sox in ten innings.
Apparently, this is a thing! It’s fascinating, sometimes, the things we learn first thing in the morning.
Not only do we celebrate the Sultan of Swat, today, it is also National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, National Tell A Story Day, and National Prime Rib Day (I’m sure the Babe would have been thrilled to know that he shares a holiday with such a delicious dish). It would have been fun to post a picture of Ruth eating prime rib, but it seems I will instead have to settle for telling a Babe Ruth story:
Ruth, it turns out, was quite the reckless driver — which I suppose isn’t that much of a surprise when one considers the man’s temperament. Granted, in the 1920s, speed limits were nothing compared to what they are today, and the Babe managed to cull an impressive collection of speeding tickets, traffic violations, and automobile accidents.
Then, on June 8, 1921, Ruth was arrested in Manhattan for speeding (traveling at a whooping 26 miles per hour). It was his second arrest in a month, and he was sentenced to spend the rest of the day in jail in addition to a $100 fine. From his cell, Ruth requested his uniform and dressed for that day’s game. He was released 45 minutes after the game had started and sped off with an escort to join the rest of the Yankees.
Who is this Baby Ruth? And what does she do?
~George Bernard Shaw
Wives of ballplayers, when they teach their children their prayers, should instruct them how to say: “God bless Mommy, God bless Daddy, God bless Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth has upped Daddy’s paycheck by fifteen to forty percent.”