THE MYTH DEBUNKED. IT WAS ALL MADE UP!
Score one for the research team! Historians Montgomery Heffer and Tim Sumpernan hit a grand slam yesterday, releasing their startling findings that Babe Ruth – “former All-Star slugger of the New York Yankees” – was completely made up!
“Much like the “Babe,” we called our shot, and we delivered,” says Heffer, who had suspicions about the iconic baseball player’s existence since he was a young baseball fanatic himself. “Whether it be the name, the stories, the Paul Bunyon-level mythology—something just seemed a little ‘tooth-fairy’ about this guy. As it turned out…it was Ruth-fairy.”
Heffer and Sumpernan were first tipped off by some discrepancies in the lore surrounding the Yankees legend—particularly, in his consumption habits. “He goes, ‘let me get this straight,’” remembers Sumpernan, who affectionately refers to this as Heffer’s let-me-get-this-straight moment. “This guy, he’s supposed to have eaten 18 hot dogs before some of his games, ketchup and all. And yet, we can’t find a single picture of him with spilled ketchup on his jersey? Not one?”
Then came the slight discrepancies in appearance. “Take a look at these two pictures,” Heffer commands, holding two in front of my face. “Notice anything?”
At first, nothing: same pose, same number, same classic Yankee pinstripes. But at a closer look, it appeared that the “Babe” on the left had a mole under his left eye, while the “Babe” on the right appeared to be an African-American man, with long dark hair and a wire-thin build.
In short, you could actually tell that these were two different men.
“So,” Heffer grins and cocks his head, “Now you believe us?”
THE TRUTH ABOUT RUTH
As it turned out, the “real Babe Ruth” was none other than vaudeville actor Fats Manahan, who was large, gregarious, and like The Babe, had a penchant for hot dogs. “When the Babe was out on the town, splurging on dogs and cigars and well, let’s face it, women, that was Fats,” explains Sumpernan. “But that was only part of this revolving door of short-time actors.”
Apparently, when he was hitting, it was Tippy Waxman, a local Long Island strong man. Pitching, Shifton Randolph, a stadium vendor. In right field, it was often two smaller men on top of each other in a larger Yankees trench coat, Mick and Matt Sanea. “The other actors couldn’t hack the running in Right [Field], so they’d bring in these two smaller actors to switch off.
Called it ‘The Yankee Double Dandy.’ For those involved, this was just one big hoot.”
BRING ON THE BABE TRUTHERS
Since the bombshell, outrage from the Ruth-Is-Real camp has poured in. “This whole story is a sham!” decries Felix Weston of the George Herman Ruth Foundation. “You can’t eliminate a man from history! How do you explain real-life interactions?”
The answer, according to Heffer and Sumpernan, is simple: sleight of hand.
“Most of the actors involved in the Babe-myth were, indeed, highly skilled magicians. So much of what the fans thought they saw was simply an optical illusion.”
“The famous ‘called shot,’ for example,” continues Sumpernan, “where Babe points to the outfield to signal where he’ll hit his home run, was merely a ‘look-over-there!’ decoy, giving the actor enough time to load a potato-gun and fire one off into centerfield. It makes you laugh almost, but these were illusionists at the top of their class.”
BUT WHY BABEY, WHY?
Who would carry out such a meticulously orchestrated plan to fabricate an American hero?
Why, the US government, of course.
“When you break it down into dollars and cents, it really is quite simple,” Heffer considers. “The Babe was a marketing goldmine. Movies, candy bars, baseball, cigars—I mean, this was America, personified. The public ate him up, no questions asked. So did I, for Christ’s Sake!” he exclaimed, suddenly standing in his chair.
“They say ‘follow the money.’ So we did. But the more we pulled the thread, the more it unraveled. A woman once wrote to us that she swore the Babe played at Cameron Field in her local town. We do a little digging…not only does the Babe not exist, but neither does the field, nor the town, nor the woman. We’re like, ‘alright, FBI. Well played.’”
Asked about the consequences of this work on young Babe fans, the men tempered the flames.
“Listen, I still love the Babe. Just like I love Santa Claus and Spongebob. These characters are real to me, even though they technically never lived on this Earth. They’ve made a difference.”
“It just goes to show, you never know what you’re gonna get in this world. Every day’s different. But hey kids, you know what. That’s baseball for ya.”