Tracking The Babe In 1923

It would be easy to assume that anything related to Babe Ruth is heavily documented in the annals of baseball history. I myself made that assumption when I first started looking for information about my wife’s great-grandfather, and his rumored Ruth encounter. However, when it comes to barnstorming, and particularly when it comes to specific barnstorming trips, information seems to be hard to come by. Unless I’ve missed it, or somehow not stumbled upon it yet, there isn’t a book out there that outlines every stop on every trip he made between 1921-1931.

Because of that, a lot of the information that can be found is either in the form of old newspaper articles, or a casual mention in a book or on a website. Most of this information is un-sourced, and as a result, I have some information about where Ruth was in the Fall of 1923 that I am still in the process of authenticating.

So far we know that Ruth set out on his 1923 trip on or around October 19th in Hornell, NY. Where he went next, I am not 100% sure. The article from 10/19/23 mentions that it was to be a two-week tour across Pennsylvania. Did they travel by train, or automobile? In my research notebook, I’ve got a few dates and locations jotted down, and have tried my best to match them up with some sort of source material.

10/19/23 – 10/20/23: ???

10/21/23: Ruth in Easton, PA – This makes sense, since Easton is on the far eastern edge of central PA, right across the state line from Jersey, just outside of Allentown (where Billy Joel was chllin). There is a brief mention on the front page of the Easton Free Press, dated 10/22/23

Easton Free Press, 10/22/23

BAM! There we have it. Ruth was traveling by train, and was on his way to Mauch Chunk (Googling “aunch Chunk, PA” quickly revealed his destination). According to the 1923 calendar, the Sunday referenced in this article was the day before it was published, 10/21/23. I am literally just figuring all of this out as I am typing this post, since I had to go back and re-search for this article. It was one I had stumbled upon it a few days ago, which is why I had “Easton, PA 10/22/23” jotted down in my notebook. I should have listened to Mark, of Mark’s Ephemera fame, when he suggested I document the hell out of everything, and be detailed about it. I did not, and had to go back and find something that had already once been found.

What’s next? Well, now that we know that Ruth was traveling by train, and on his way to Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe, PA), the natural next step would be to look at a railroad map of the time, and try to put some sort of a route together. I already have some information on where he ends up later on down the road (or tracks in this case), so it just might be possible to put together an itinerary of sorts.

Stay tuned, as there’s plenty more to be revealed in this story. I’m assembling the pieces as I write, so you’ll be coming along for the ride.

Till the next time, I’ll be takin’ ‘er easy for the rest of you sinners.

This is the second in a series of posts documenting my attempts to not only track Babe Ruth’s barnstorming trip of 1923, but to also track down my wife’s great-grandfather, who is believed to have played against him in a game that year. CLICK HERE for Part 1, or  CLICK HERE for Part 3.

-b

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6 responses to “Tracking The Babe In 1923

  1. Barnstorming is such a great part of american cultural history. It is so shrouded in myth and legend.

    I can’t think of anything in modern sports that can raise the hairs on the back of your neck the way an old guy telling a story about the time he faced Babe Ruth on the local field on evening in late fall..

    Garrison Keillor has a great story about te Babe coming to Lake Wobogan.

  2. Dude
    I could just see you with an old cap, glasses, and a cigar of ” some sort” as you carefully write this story. Ha good stuff dude.

    Lmao..

  3. This sounds like a really fun project – I can’t wait to read what you come across!

  4. Cool stuff Beardy. You gonna write a book?

  5. When I ran across this article it really caught my attention.
    During the game in Hornell, NY, they played against the local railroad team. My great-grandfather (John Boardman) was the catcher for the team. I believe my brother has a picture that has been passed down of Babe Ruth at bat and my great-grandfather catching.
    What an amazing Era for baseball!!!

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