Cubs came out on the field before the first game, Ruth called them cheapskates
and nickel squeezers," says Koenig. "All the Yankees were pulling for
In the Series
opener, Koenig tripled off Red Ruffing, but injured his hand sliding into
third. He didn't come to bat again in the Series, but watched in Game 3 when
Ruth pointed—did he or didn't he?—to the centerfield fence before homering off
"I get more
letters about that than anything else," Koenig says. "I tell people
that I give Ruth the benefit of the doubt. But I really think he raised his
hand to acknowledge that he had two strikes, or one strike left.
"Of course, I
wouldn't put it past Ruth to do something like that. Lots of times, he'd say,
'I feel good today. I think I'll hit a home run.' And, by golly, he
So Koenig neither
documents nor denies Ruth's "called shot." But that home run and Ruth's
60th five years earlier linked Koenig to the legend of George Herman Ruth.
"I was in on
a couple of important things," Koenig says, looking back. "Otherwise,
no one would have heard of me."
Koenig passed up
a chance to be part of a third historic baseball event, one in which Ruth
wasn't involved. The Cincinnati Reds, for whom Koenig played in 1934, became
the first major league team to travel by airplane.
Bottomley and I refused to fly," he says. "We took the train."
Koenig lasted 11
years in the big leagues, batting .279 lifetime. His final two seasons, with
the New York Giants in 1935 and '36, were his unhappiest. "The Giants had a
midnight curfew. That was brutal," he says. "If you wanted to eat out,
you had to get permission from Bill Terry, the player-manager. I didn't like
Terry. If he had a bad day at the plate, he wouldn't talk to you. If the
pitchers, like Hal Schumacher, had a bad day, he would treat them awful.
you, I never had a better manager than Huggins. And I never got along better
with any team than I did with the Yankees. They all pulled together. A