When we last left the Bambino, the Easton, PA Free Press had him passing through town on 10/21/23. They mentioned that he was traveling by train, which was a pretty significant discovery, since it makes it possible to actually trace his exact route by looking at railroad maps.
I didn’t have to look too hard to find out where Babe went next, since it seems to be one of the more heavily-documented stops on his PA tour.
10/22/23: Hazelton, PA for a game at Cranberry Park.
What I find interesting here is that both of the newspaper clippings I stumbled across come from newspapers that are nowhere near Pennsylvania, or New York. The snippet above is from Miami, Florida, and the one below is from Dubuque, Iowa. If there is one thing I’ve leaned while researching this trip, it’s that there was no one as famous as Babe Ruth was in the 1920’s & ’30’s. If he did anything, or went anywhere, it seems like there’s pretty good odds it was mentioned in one newspaper or another.
Here is a link to the history of Cranberry Park, in Hazelton PA, former home of the Hazelton Mountaineers.
Wow, the entire town was shut down for an exhibition game? Impressive. It’s equally impressive that he was fanned twice by a coal miner, who was pitching for the local Hazelton squad. Imagine the unseen talent that must have existed in local leagues all over the country. Scouting was nothing like it is today, and I’m sure there were a lot of extremely talented players, who were absolute unknowns outside of their respective towns.
I have some idea of where The Babe went after he left Hazelton, but just like on his way into town, there are gaps in the timeline on his way out as well. Let’s outline what we know to be true thus far.
What we know so far:
1. Ruth departs from Hornell, NY on 10/19/23. Hornell is pretty far into western NY state, so how the team got there, I don’t know. We know he was traveling with John Scott, of the New York Giants, and were en-route to meet up with Jack Bentley, and other Giants teammates. I am pretty sure this team was called the “World Series All-Stars”, and were made up of players from both ’23 Series squads, the Giants and Yankees.
2. Ruth and Scott pass through Easton, PA on their way to Mauch Chunk, PA (now Jim Thorpe, PA)
3. Ruth strikes out twice in a game on 11/22/23 in Hazelton, PA.
Below is a Pennsylvania Railroad map from 1963. I know I’m using a map that is 40 years too new, but it was the largest RR map I could find for anything close to the time period. So far, as you can see, the only stop that doesn’t make sense is the beginning, in Hornell, NY (number 1 on the map). Granted, the rail system may not have been as extensive then, but it still looks like going from NY City to Philly would have made more sense. I won’t even speculate on how Ruth and Scott got from Hornell to location 2 on the map, Easton, PA. From Easton though, it all makes perfect sense.
Stay with me here, as there’s plenty more that has yet to be revealed. It is, of course, a story for another day, but this tale is far from told.
This is the third 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, CLICK HERE for Part 2, and CLICK HERE for Part 4.