Baseball season has just wrapped up with the Washington Nationals beating the Houston Astros to win their first World Series title ever. It reminds me of a baseball game played here in Perry back in 1922.
In October of 1922, Babe Ruth and a less popular but still very successful player in his own right, Bob Meusel, came to town to play an exhibition game. There was a lot of hype and excitement, as you can imagine, leading up to the event. The Perry branch of the American Legion had organized the event and hoped to make a tidy sum of cash off of ticket sales. Unfortunately, the day ended up being cold and dreary, and even though the rain mostly stopped an hour or so before the game began, the attendance was much lower than hoped. Ruth and Meusel ended up taking most of the profits home with them. I guess that’s what happens when you play a baseball game on Friday the 13th.
The game was against Pella, and Meusel played for them while Ruth played for Perry. Meusel hit a homerun and Babe hit a couple of triples. You’d think “The Sultan of Swat” could have managed at least one homer, but apparently the outfield wasn’t enclosed by a fence, which enabled the outfielder to get to the ball and throw it back in before the lumbering Ruth could get past third base.
I hadn’t realized until recently that the Ku Klux Klan was very active in Perry around that same time. I also didn’t know that the KKK was extremely anti-Catholic. Babe Ruth was Catholic and is said to have even visited St. Patrick’s School while in town. You would think given the fact that, according to a The Perry News article, a KKK grand master lived in town, there would have been protests and maybe even a cross burning. In reality, Babe Ruth coming to town was such a big deal that KKK members decided to forgo their prejudice for the day and instead sat in the stands and cheered for him and the hometeam along with everyone else. I guess that’s what happens when you play a baseball game in Perry. God bless America.
Hello Readers! (And sports fans!)
Have you ever wondered if any famous athletes have come to little old Perry, Iowa? Well, hold on to your stadium hot dogs, because I have quite the story for you!
Long ago, on an October day in 1922, Perry faced Pella in a good old-fashioned baseball game. The weather did not exactly co-operate. Everyone was worried about the game being rained out, a problem that is all too common today as well. Eventually, the game did start, and the athletes played it just like any other game. Each team took their turn, and at the end of the day, Perry won the game with a score of twelve, while Pella only had a score of four. So far, this all sounds like the average baseball game and not anything interesting at all.
However, here is where this story gets amazing! Thanks to the American Legion, who paid what I can only assume was a decent amount of money, both Perry and Pella had a special member on their team: Perry had Babe Ruth, and Pella had Bob Meusel! That is right, Perry once hosted the world famous Babe Ruth thanks to the hard work and contributions of the American Legion. Not only did he come and play for the Perry team, he also stayed at the Hotel Pattee, along with Bob Meusel. In fact, if you every have the chance to stay at the Hotel Pattee, there is a photo of Babe and Bob in the bowling alley on the lower level.
Most of this information comes from a very old Perry Chief. It took quite a while for me to find it, since we keep old scans of different Perry newspapers on microfilm (and I misread the dates at first as well, oops!). Still, there are many interesting things in the old newspapers. If you ever have the chance, look over some of the old newspapers you may have lying around. Not only is there bound to be some interesting stories, but also just the advertisements can hold some value and entertainment. I saw one while I was looking about a quote "swaggerest" (the ad actually uses this made-up word) villain. That, however, is a story for a different day.