“The Sultan of Swat.” “The Great Bambino.” “The Plus-Sized Pinstriped Prince.” In a historic career, Babe Ruth broke many records, including becoming the first athlete to be portrayed on film by John Goodman. However, there is a part of his legacy that baseball historians are reluctant to acknowledge, perhaps for fear of tainting it. But ignoring Babe Ruth’s penchant for claiming his bat was a wizard’s staff that possessed magical qualities is a great disservice to not just the man, but to America’s favorite pastime itself.

Harry Frazee
Boston Red Sox owner

“This rumor got started that I sold Ruth to the Yankees to finance [the 1924 play, No, No, Nanette], but it wasn’t true. I actually sold him because all that wizard shit was freaking me out. There’s a lot of pressure on team owners to win games. And a lot of them turn to the dark arts for help. When I bought the Sox, I made a promise to myself never to mess around with that. And for that reason, I sold George Herman Ruth, whom I considered to be a malicious sorcerer sent by Lucifer himself to wreak havoc upon humanity, to the New York Yankees.”

Lou Gehrig
New York Yankees First Basemen

“When I first heard Babe say that his bat was a wizard’s staff, I assumed it was a joke. I told him, ‘Yeah, mine too.’ Some of the guys thought that was funny, but Babe didn’t like it one bit. So, the next day I came into the clubhouse, and I see my bat was broken in half, lying on the floor. When I confronted Babe about it, he just said, ‘I don’t know who could have done that, but I guess your bat’s not magic if it can be snapped so easily.’ It was so obvious he did it. Anyway, my one regret in life is that I never killed Babe Ruth.”

Miller Huggins
New York Yankees Manager

“Babe would start swinging the bat and running all around the field, making explosion noises with his mouth. When we’d ask him to knock it off so we could play the game, he’d do this sort of Shakespearean voice and say something like, ‘Doth thou think my mind is so easily susceptible to thine trickery?’ As soon as we heard that, we’d know there was no hope in getting Babe to stop, and no baseball was going to be played that day.”

Jacob Ruppert
New York Yankees owner

“On October 28th, 1929, Babe demanded that the warm-up jerseys be fashioned to look like a cloak in order to ‘complete his aesthetic.’ I said, ‘That’s not going to happen,’ and he told me I’d regret it. The very next day the stock market crashed. When I saw Babe, he asked me if I’d seen the news. I said I had. He kind of smirked, tapped his bat with his finger, and winked at me. I didn’t know what to make of that.”

Bill Dickey
New York Yankees Catcher
1928-1943, 1946

“When we lost a game, he’d say it was because we ‘didn’t believe’ in his bat hard enough, and we all had to apologize to it. I guess in his mind, the bat followed Tinkerbell rules and only worked if people believed in it? I’m not sure. No one really was. It was very weird. Anyway, he’d slam that bat on the floor of the locker room and stand in front of the exit so we couldn’t leave. Eventually, we realized that if we all pretended to fall asleep from his bat slam, he would be satisfied and go home. Problem was, the next day, we’d always have to get to the field extra early so Babe would think we needed his bat to wake us up with another slam. It was a huge inconvenience, but the guy hit 49 home runs that season, so we just went along with it. I guess the old saying is true; ‘If you’re a straight white man who hits a fuckton of home runs, you can pretty much get away with anything, including insisting that your bat is magical.’”

Jacob Rupert

“By the end of the 1934 season, Babe was demanding that his contract include a clause stipulating that before every home game an ox would be slaughtered so he could rub its blood on his bat. He said it ‘preserved the potency of the magic.’ I had to make a difficult decision then; Babe was a huge attendance draw, but people like the ballpark because they can see a game, eat a hotdog, and drive home drunk. But no one wants to see a man sacrifice a large animal before a game begins; I have always felt that a huge reason that America loves baseball is that usually, nothing is slaughtered and killed at any point in the game. Take that away, and baseball just isn’t baseball anymore. It’s ‘deathball’ or something. And so, I shook his hand and said, ‘Good luck to you, Babe.’ He mumbled something at me, I think it may have been an incantation. I don’t really know, he was pretty drunk when it happened.”

George Herman “Babe” Ruth

“My bat was magic. A wizard gave it to me. But God was mad that I could harness that kind of power. He told me He would punish me for eternity in Hell unless I hit 715 home runs in my career. It all makes sense now, doesn’t it?” [Makes explosion noise with his mouth.]