Baseball History: That time Lou Gehrig put Babe Ruth in the hospital

So occasionally while I’m researching one thing, I’ll come across a completely different thing that’s just as interesting as the thing I was researching in the first place. Got that? I stumbled across this photo in the Oshkosh Northwestern, dated July 20, 1934 while researching my next couple of grave stories.

Ruth booboo
Source: Oshkosh Northwestern, July 20, 1934

Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were not exactly the best of friends as teammates on the Yankees, but did you know Gehrig once sent the Babe to the hospital? Not deliberately, though. In a game against the Cleveland Indians, Ruth had singled to load the bases against Mel Harder. Gehrig stepped up and lined a ground ball toward right field. Unfortunately, instead of a base hit that would have scored at least a run, it clipped Ruth in the leg. “The Bambino plunged headlong into the turf,” reported the Daily News the following day. “He soon was surrounded by all his comrades who picked him up and assisted him from the field.” Ruth was replaced by Myril Hoag, who had a great game (2-4 with an RBI and stolen base), but the Indians prevailed in a 15-14 slugfest.

Ruth was examined by Dr. Edward Castle of Cleveland, who x-rayed Ruth’s right leg and diagnosed a “contusion, complicated by an extensive hematoma.” Translation: a bruise on his leg. It was enough to keep him out of action for a couple days, but he homered in his first game back on July 22 against the White Sox. Fortunately for the Yanks it wasn’t one of those season-ending leg bruises.


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