by Rob Neyer
Robert Creamer’s biography of Babe Ruth is certainly one of the best baseball books, and Creamer unflinchingly explores the subject of Ruth’s legendary sexual prowess. Home Run Baker played with Ruth in New York for a couple of seasons, and he thus ends up a peripheral character in this discussion. According to Creamer,
There were inevitable stories that Ruth was exceptionally well equipped sexually, and a male nurse who took care of him in his terminal illness was impressed by the size of Ruth’s genitals. But apparently any abnormality in size then was a product of illness. One teammate, asked if Ruth had an exceptionally big penis, frowned a little as he searched his memory and shook his head. “No,” he said. “It was normal size, judging from locker room observation. Nothing extraordinary. Del Pratt’s was. And Home Run Baker’s. My God, you wouldn’t believe Home Run Baker’s. It looked like it belonged to a horse….”
Hmmm, makes you wonder if Frank “Home Run” Baker didn’t have another nickname, one that would have made sense only to his teammates and closest family.
Cy Slapnicka was a legendary scout for the Indians, and is now remembered mostly for discovering Bob Feller.
Slapnicka wasn’t perfect, though. Abe Kemp, a sportswriter in San Francisco for nearly 50 years, tells the following story in No Cheering in the Press Box:
Cleveland secured a ten-day option from the San Francisco club to buy [Lefty] Gomez for fifty thousand dollars and three ball players. The Seals were home, and I’m sitting up in the tower talking to Charlie Graham, the vice-president of the Seals.
Slapnicka comes in and he says, “Charlie, is it all right if I go down to the clubhouse where the players are dressing?”
Charlie said, “Sure.”
After Slapnicka left, Graham says to me, “What the hell do you suppose he wants to go in the clubhouse for?”
I said, Charlie, I have no idea.”
About a half-hour later Slapnicka came back and said, “Charlie, I’m going to forfeit my option on Gomez.”
Graham says, “Tell me something, Cy. Why did you change your mind from the time you left here until the time you returned?”
“Well,” he says, “I’ll tell you, Charlie. I saw Gomez undressed in the clubhouse, and anybody who’s got as big a prick as he’s got can’t pitch winning ball in the major leagues.”
True, Gomez lost 102 games in the major leagues. But he also won 189, and his .649 lifetime winning percentage ranks 13th on the all-time list.
These articles, originally included in chapters on the 1911 Philadelphia Athletics and the 1939 New York Yankees, were rejected by our editor. We’re still not quite sure why, but as a result we have halted all research on this particular subject.