John Paul Stevens Quote: Ruth's Called Shot
“On a wall in Stevens’s chambers that is mostly covered with autographed photographs of Chicago sports heroes, from Ernie Banks to Michael Jordan, there is a box score from Game Three of the 1932 World Series, between the Yankees and the Cubs. When Babe Ruth came to bat in the fifth inning, at Wrigley Field, according to a much disputed baseball legend, he pointed to the center-field stands and then proceeded to hit a home run right to that spot. The event is known as 'the called shot.'
“'My dad took me to see the World Series, and we were sitting behind third base, not too far back,' Stevens, who was twelve years old at the time, told me. He recalled that the Cubs players had been hassling Ruth from the dugout earlier in the game. 'Ruth did point to the center-field scoreboard,' Stevens said. 'And he did hit the ball out of the park after he pointed with his bat. So it really happened.'
”Stevens has a reverence for facts. He mentioned that he vividly recalled Ruth’s shot flying over the center-field scoreboard. But, at a recent conference, a man in the audience said that Ruth’s homer had landed right next to his grandfather, who was sitting far away from the scoreboard. 'That makes me warn you that you should be careful about trusting the memory of elderly witnesses,' Stevens said. The box score was a gift from a friend; Stevens noticed that it listed the wrong pitchers for the game, so he crossed them out with a red pen, and wrote in the right names.
—from Jeffrey Toobin's article “After Stevens” in the March 22nd issue of The New Yorker
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