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The letter below was sent by a man with the elegant name of Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston to the secretary of baseball's National Commission more than 45 years ago. It was destined to have a profound effect on the life and times of this young man, then a pitcher for the Red Sox. With the never-before-published documents reproduced here and on the pages following, a rich, colorful baseball era is vividly recreated.
490 Riverside Drive
Mr. John E. Bruce.
My dear Mr. Bruce:
As it stands now, the American League Club of Hew York have very little to sell outside of their franchise. They have no ground, they have no ball club, and they have no manager, and the latter Item appears to me to he of paramount importance
EVERYBODY HAD A HEADACHE BUT THE BABE
If Harry Frazee, owner of the Boston Red Sox, had been luckier as a theatrical producer, he might never have put his name to the historic baseball document at the left. As a matter of fact, he tried to avoid doing just that. In dire need of funds, he had gone to Colonel Jake Ruppert, co-owner of the New York Yankees, and sought a personal loan of half a million dollars. As a Broadway first-nighter, the colonel was sympathetic, but he was not an easy touch. Instead of making the loan he asked Frazee if he would sell his pitcher-turned-outfielder, Babe Ruth.
It was a good question. Ruth was already a box-office smash. During the previous season he had set an all-time record by hitting 29 home runs, and fans were beginning to jam the ball parks just to see him.
Had the theater not been Frazee's first love, the Babe surely would have stayed in Boston, and "The House That Ruth Built" would have been a bigger and better Fenway Park. Instead, Yankee Stadium rose (in 1923) in New York's Bronx to contain a greater drama than any Producer Frazee ever staged.