The Justice and The Babe

Thursday, March 6, 2014

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More than 80 years later, one of sport’s most debated incidents comes back vividly to a famous—and highly reliable—eyewitness.

Now that the headline has grabbed your attention, let me tell you that this is a story about baseball—specifically, about one of baseball’s most legendary moments. The “Justice” is John Paul Stevens, the third-longest-serving U.S. Supreme Court justice in history (1975–2010). At 93 years old, he still has plenty of zip on his intellectual fastball, and he is as gracious and dignified a man as you could ever meet. The “Babe” is George Herman Ruth, who, on October 1, 1932, allegedly called his shot in Game 3 of the World Series between the Yankees and Cubs at Wrigley Field, a gesture the intention of which has been debated for eight decades. Seated about 15 rows behind the Cubs dugout, on the third base side, was 12-year-old John Paul Stevens.

Thanks to the facilitation of a friend and colleague (to whom I am now deeply indebted), Justice Stevens agreed to sit down with me to share his recollections of that day at a meeting in Florida on the condition that the conversation was strictly about baseball and not about the law. Is there anyone among us who would not make that deal?

Read the full article on SportsTravel



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