Every so often, we see a player become incensed with an egregiously bad call. On this day in 1922, Yankees legend Babe Ruth expressed his displeasure with the second base umpire, and a fan.
It happens occasionally where there is a play where a player disagrees with the call on the field. Maybe there is a bit of a disagreement, but usually, both sides go their separate ways. On some occasions, we get the face to face argument, and maybe an ejection and a tossed batting helmet or some dirt being kicked. And then there is the reaction that Yankees outfielder Babe Ruth had on this day in 1922.
Ruth, who was not known for his speed, had attempted to stretch a single into a double. After he was called out at second by umpire George Hildebrand, himself a former major league outfielder. Ruth, however, disagreed with the call, and proceeded to throw a handful of dirt in Hildebrand’s face.
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Understandably, Hildebrand would not let that pass without punishment. Ruth was ejected, and heard it from the Yankees faithful. Still incensed, Ruth then went after a fan. Eventually, he was taken off the field, and New York held on to a 6-4 victory over the Washington Senators.
As would be expected, this outburst was not taken lightly. Even though Ruth was one of the biggest stars in the game, he was not above the umpires, rules, or discipline, especially after he attacked a fan. As such, he was fined $500, a princely sum in those days, and suspended for a game by AL president Ban Johnson.
That discipline did not linger with Ruth. He produced a .315/.434/.372 batting line, hitting 35 homers. Likewise, Ruth was still a beloved figure in New York, his transgressions quickly forgotten. As long as he continued to hit home runs, and be the larger than life figure he became, those occasional outbursts were forgiven.