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From "Babe Ruth's Sports Comics", a Golden Age comic book, a look at Babe Ruth's start in the big leagues.

Babe Ruth died in August 1948 at the age of 53. The following spring "Babe Ruth Sports Comics" was released to a nation full of comics-loving children. The magazine promised to to be "an all-sports magazine. ... You might get a little more baseball than other sports in the spring and summer, a little more football in the fall, and a little more basketball and ice hockey in the winter." Of course, with Babe Ruth's name plastered on the cover, the Great Bambino was featured throughout the comics. For the first few issues, for example, Ruth's life story was told and illustrated in a kid-friendly manner. There were also tips about how to swing a bat and throw a pitch and whatnot, mini-biographies of stars like Lou Boudreau and "The Clown Prince of Baseball", and other features kids of the 1940s might like.

But Ruth was the draw, even if kids reading the magazine were all plenty aware that he had died only the year before. So what did kids who read "Babe Ruth Sports Comics" see of their hero? From the magazine's second issue in June 1949, here's a look at "The Life of Babe Ruth: Chapter 2, Babe Enters Professional Baseball".

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May 2, 2012 3:03 am

Sobsequy: The Media Meets the Press

4

Adam Sobsey

Reviewing Frank Deford's new book, "Over Time," and reflecting on how the advent of the internet has improved the quality of sportswriting.

My favorite second baseman
had gone 0 for 5—there it was,
in black and white. How many of us
could bear a daily record
of exactly what we'd done?

—Stephen Dunn, "Emperors"





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December 12, 2011 9:00 am

A Visit with Verducci

30

Jason Parks

A certain prospect writer went to the Winter Meetings on a quest to meet The World.

He saw him once on the 4th of December 2011, but only as a fading image in the lids of his eyes, a photograph of bone and hair and enlightenment. As he slept, the World’s posture was perfect and its gait was elegant and immaculate. The World was more than just a writer, he said with two fingers bent on each hand from a comfortable distance apart and in steady contraction.  He told himself as he slept that the dawn of the next day would bring him closer to the world. He told himself that being closer to the World would bring him closer to living. He could exist in the world; he told himself he could exist in the world if placed his path within the path of another. He traveled to Dallas, Texas, home of the 2011 baseball Winter Meetings. He was on a journey to find his life. He was out to execute a visit with Verducci.

He didn’t pretend to be unimpressed as he went foot to floor in the lobby of the luxurious downtown hotel that was to host the yearly baseball industry gathering. The crystalline metamorphic form of limestone was polished and ubiquitous; he later quipped that the first foyer in the hotel was the birthplace of marble. He always laughed when he quipped, even privately. He later quipped that he laughed when he quipped, after which it was assumed he laughed, privately. The marble grew on the floors and the walls like stone moss, the wallpaper of the wealthy, he thought. He told a friend that he was impressed by the foyer and by the connection he drew between the marble and the moss, which he felt was apt. Having been around wealth, he was capable of taste identification, and he later described his immediate surroundings in Dallas as a few letters short of being tacky.

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Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the oldest team without a title.

Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.

Allen Barra writes about sports for the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Beast, and The Atlantic.com. He is the author of Yogi Berra, Eternal Yankee (2009) and Rickwood Field: A Century in America's Oldest Ballpark (2010). His next book is Mickey and Willie: The Parallel Lives of Baseball's Golden Age, due out in 2011 from Crown.

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Taking a trip through time to discover how the game you play today took shape.

Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.

R. Emmet Sweeney is a film critic and fantasy baseball player who writes a weekly column for the official blog of Turner Classic Movies, Movie Morlocks. He has also contributed to Film Comment, Time Out Chicago, IFC News, The Believer, Moving Image Source and the Village Voice. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and the Ford at Fox box set. You can follow him on twitter at @r_emmet.

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Our latest guest contributor tackles some of the popular new book's more controversial findings.

Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.

Phil Birnbaum is the editor of “By the Numbers,” the SABR Statistical Analysis publication. He blogs at sabermetricresearch.blogspot.com, where he has commented on Scorecasting in more detail.

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July 6, 2010 8:00 am

Another Look: Mal Fichman

2

Bob Hertzel

Few have pulled off more memorable stunts than the legendary scout and minor-league manager.

We have just celebrated the Fourth of July, which always has been a significant date in baseball, be it because it was the date that Lou Gehrig’s No. 4 became the first number retired in baseball or because it marked the major-league debut of Archibald “Moonlight” Graham, whose major-league career consisted without so much as an at-bat yet became immortalized by W.P. Kinsella in his book “Shoeless Joe,” which morphed into the movie Field of Dreams.

It also is a date that has led to quite a bit of zaniness in our national pastime. In 1913, only one baseball was used as the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Chicago Cubs, 9-6, without so much as a home run or foul ball landing in the stands. Moreover, on July 4th, 1989, Mal Fichman etched his name into baseball lore.

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Everybody's talking about everyone else, say it ain't so Bud and so it shall be, and the Straw stirs.

IT FEELS GOOD TO LAUGH AGAIN

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Front office amity after Ichiro's big deal, Gary Sheffield's latest sounding off, and more.

...AND THE MARINERS FEEL FINE

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January 2, 2007 12:00 am

The Year in Quotes

0

John Erhardt and Alex Carnevale

To fully understand the enigma that is Ozzie Guillen, you'll have to go through the archives. The year 2006 from the mouths of those who lived through it.

"The first day is always the hardest."
--Mets catcher Ramon Castro, on the first day of spring training (MLB.com)

"It really isn't, but we just say that. I don't know why."
--Castro, when asked why.


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Nate analyzes a dramatic Game Four in St. Louis, and offers some ideas to improve the postseason.

We got to talking. I told them that I was in town to cover the game for Sports Illustrated and Baseball Prospectus. He told me that he was Sean Casey's uncle. We had a good conversation about the relative merits of Detroit and St. Louis, the ominous weather forecast, and, of course, baseball. What I remember most distinctly is our conversation about clutch hitting. We shared the opinion that, with a few possible exceptions like David Ortiz, being a clutch hitter is largely a matter of being in the right place at the right time. These guys are professionals. The same man who was a hero one night might be a goat the next, and this has nothing to do with his character, or any of the other things you usually read about in the morning sports pages. All of this from the uncle of a man who is renowned for his clubhouse leadership, his clutch hitting ability, and any other intangible that you might think of.

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June 9, 2006 12:00 am

Eric Gregg

0

Jay Jaffe

Jay looks back on the tumultuous professional life of the recently deceased Eric Gregg.

Former major league umpire Eric Gregg passed away on Monday, a day after suffering a massive stroke. He was just 55 years old. To those of us who remember Gregg's career, the news sadly doesn't come as all that shocking, particularly in the wake of another recent, premature stroke-fueled death, that of Kirby Puckett. If the rotund but athletic Puckett could balloon up enough in his post-playing days to make himself vulnerable to such an early demise, it's hardly a surprise that Gregg, who struggled with his weight for his entire career as an umpire and was ten years older than Puckett, could meet a similar fate.

As I wrote in The Hit List earlier this week, as much as any umpire, we knew Gregg. As just the third black umpire in major league history, he was instantly recognizable from the moment he debuted as a substitute in 1975. Upon becoming a full-time National League umpire in 1978, he began packing on the pounds, but his outsized frame was overshadowed by a seemingly ever-present smile, and people empathized with his plight.

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