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August 31, 2018

Two articles on a Cubs website,, ranking the ten best (and the five worst: ) Cubs’ managers came to my attention by coincidence a day or so after I’d railing about what a horror Leo Durocher had been as a Cubs’ manager.  Not very surprisingly, Durocher appeared on the list of best Cubs’ managers—unsurprising because I am a very biased viewer of the Cubs in general, and also because of Durocher’s general high reputation as a field general.

Even on the Cubs website, though, Durocher appeared in the final slot of the Cubbies’ ten best managers, suggesting that maybe even Cubs’ fans don’t think that much of him, considering the woefulness of the team over the past century or so. The website acknowledges that he didn’t produce squat for the Cubs—no pennants, no division titles, no nothing. His credit is all for turning a cellar-dweller into a contender.

The counter-argument, traditionally, is not why the Cubs dwelt in the cellar for so long as much as it is "How did a club with four Hall-of-Famers fail to at least contend for much of the 1960s?" Santo, Williams, Banks, and Jenkins (and plenty of other strong players) should have been the core of at least a .500 club, right? I mean, how does a team with that level of stardom not win half its games for much of a decade? Seems to me management has to take some of the hit for that failure.

Now, I dislike the Cubs of that era because I rooted—very hard!—against them. As a young Mets’ fan, I detested those Cubs so deeply that when the son of one of my closest friends became the President of the Cubs, and my friend invited me to shift my rooting loyalty to the Cubbies for the sake of his son (whom I‘ve been fond of ever since he was an astute four-year-old playing on the floor of his parents’ apartment in Brookline), with all the perks that shift in loyalty entails, I. COULD. NOT. DO. IT.

Couldn’t mouth the words "Go, Cubs!" (except straight to Hell), couldn’t accept tickets to Citifield (walking distance from my older home) or Marlins Park (an hour’s drive from my newer home) to visitors’ box seats, couldn’t partake of the pleasure when the Cubs won their first pennant since Man disobediently ate a piece of fruit that God wanted thrown in the garbage. Most of all, I think, I couldn’t help but bruise my friend’s feelings in turning down his gracious invitation.

I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t say a nice word about the Cubs. I even short-changed them one HoFer in the paragraph above where I said they had four HoFers. They had five. (And just for those who want to argue that the woeful Cubbies of the early 1960s had "only" Banks, Williams, and Santo, since Ferguson Jenkins hadn’t yet arrived, I’ll point out that they did have Dick Ellsworth throughout the early 1960s, a first-rate pitcher whom Jenkins replaced in the rotation. They were teammates on the 1966 Cubs.) It still rankles my ankles that Leo Durocher was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1994. (At least the Veterans’ Committee  showed the sense to wait until he, like Ron Santo, had died before electing him, a small—you might say "petty"-- satisfaction on my part.) The rankling is worsened by the HoF’s failure to elect Durocher’s counterpart, the manager of the 1969 World Champions, Gil Hodges.

I’ve written, probably too much, about Hodges’ HoF candidacy, so I’ll spare you this time around, except to note that this election/rejection of Durocher/Hodges makes it a little more painful for me: if Durocher hadn’t been elected, I could be a bit more peaceful about Hodges being out.

Perhaps the strongest point in the Durocher/Hodges argument is the contrast in temperaments. The range of how Hodges’ former players speak of him, from the greatest respect (Tom Seaver) to a kind of grudging acknowledgment (Nolan Ryan), is overwhelmingly positive.  Durocher’s former players on the other hand are, let us say, more moderate in their praise for him. (Except Santo, which is another reason I’m not a fan of his. That, and the heel-clicking in 1969, which I still find unsporting and obnoxious. From his Wikipedia entry: 

Durocher asked him to keep clicking his heels whenever the Cubs won at Wrigley Field  to motivate the team. Santo continued this after every home win. The stunt antagonized opponents and served to make the team a target for payback in the final weeks of the season.... His final "click" was performed on September 2, the last Cub home victory while still in first place. During and after the epic collapse, Santo never again performed the heel click, as critics decried the routine for its arrogance and overconfidence, which many believe was at the root of the late fade.

Durocher was an abrasive asshole, whose character alone, in my view, should disqualify him from the Hall of Fame. Mais qu'est ce que je sais? (Durocher might have known how to ask  « But what do I know ? » in French. Like Mark Belanger and Rabbit Maranville, he was a skinny, light-hitting defensive wizard at shortstop from western Massachusetts of French heritage. Du-roe-SHAY, Buh-lange-ZHAY, and Mah-ron-VEE.)

One of the earliest additions to my unwieldy collection of baseball books was the hardcover edition of Durocher’s The Dodgers and Me. (I defaced it at the age of 11 with a sticker of Don Drysdale, but otherwise this volume has held up very well over the past 70 years. It’s copyrighted 1948, and is not "as told to" or "co-authored by" anyone, though it’s so lively, it’s almost impossible to believe that Leo’s literary gifts are on this level of readability. If they are, maybe he chose the wrong line of work.)  He managed "my" team (in a hereditary sense, my dad being a Bums fan) throughout the 1940s, right up until his suspension for gambling, hanging around with gangsters, and generally being a bully and a thug-wannabee in 1947.  He was long gone from the Brooklyn scene by the time I arrived on it, but he rejoined the early 1960s team in L.A. as a coach, which is where I first experienced his methods. I liked those Dodgers (hence the Drysdale sticker) but not Leo so much.

Where I first truly learned about Leo’s Dodger-coaching days, though, was in Jim Bouton’s excellent anthology I Managed Good, But Boy Did They Play Bad, easily the best historical look at managers until The Bill James Guide to Baseball Managers from 1870 to Today came out in 1997. I was able to date Bouton’s book, or at least his writing of the Introduction, very precisely to September 8, 1973 or shortly thereafter, since his Introduction first refers to "Detroit’s Billy Martin" in the present tense but then at the tail end of that paragraph notes that "Maybe Martin will listen to Rangers’ boss, Bob Short, more than he did to …Detroit’s Jim Caldwell," anticipating Martin’s future problems listening to a future Boss.  Martin managed the Rangers’ last 23 games of the 1973 season, having been fired by the Tigers a few days earlier.

Bouton’s anthology doesn’t try to give a synoptic or philosophical approach to managers, as Guide to Managers did so well, but it does give surprising insight into systematic differences, styles, pitfalls, approaches, strategies, tactics, and tictacs of various schools of managers. The book’s approach is to present classic contemporary profiles of managers dating back to John McGraw, typically well-written profiles, but the best parts of the book are those written by Bouton himself—aside from the Introduction, Bouton appends prefatory notes to each account, and sometimes epilogues, plus he writes a few articles himself, which is above-and-beyond. The publishers mostly wanted him for his then-hot name on the cover, but Bouton did much more than lend his name—his writings are among the most thoughtful in the book, and made me consider managers in a whole different light. (Of Bouton’s name, incidentally, as long as we’re looking into French nomenclature, it means "pimple" in French, a fact that I’m mildly surprised didn’t arise in the early hostile reviews of Ball Four: "he is a gigantic pimple on baseball’s heretofore unblemished face," and so on. And if you Google "enorme bouton youtube" you will see one of the grossest youtube videos of all time. Fair warning.)

Occasionally, Bouton presents two contrasting views of certain managers, which is what he did with Leo Durocher: one by Roger Kahn, which is fairly gentle, and one by William Barry Furlong, which is fairly savage. Even Kahn’s "sweetly nostalgic" article, as Bouton puts it, reveals him to be vain, cruel, self-important and deeply flawed, but as Bouton memorably observes, both writers use

the same statistic to make opposite points. Kahn says Durocher "is one of the very best of all baseball managers. In 16 seasons…Durocher teams have won three pennants, one World Series and had an overall percentage of .560." Meanwhile Furlong says Durocher "began managing in the big leagues over 30 years ago and he did win one world championship. But only one."

That stuck with me, the observation that you could take a stat, the number of Durocher’s championships, and use it both for and against his case for excellence.

So much of what I know about Durocher derives from Bouton’s book, I realized upon re-reading it. I tell (and tell) several anecdotes I first came across in Kahn’s profile and in Furlong’s: "I tip more than that in the shithouse,"  "But mother don’t make it to third," "When they hatchet me they ain’t getting no maiden," "Some damned famous broads say okay quick," "If you’re scared, go home," and  "This is not an eighth-place ballclub" are the nut quotes (full anecdotes upon request) but the big picture is that I got a real feel for his toxic personality from these brief profiles that I was able to augment over the years with readings of Nice Guys Finish Last (his autobiography, written with Ed Linn), the Guide to Managers, some of Rob Neyer’s Big Books and the 1948 book with the Drysdale sticker on it.  A fan of Leo’s may come away from all this reading with a positive impression, but mine is that the guy was very close to being a dangerous sociopath, alienating everyone he ever knew, and many he never met. How to Make Enemies and Alienate Everybody would be a good alternative title, or sub-title, to Nice Guys Finish Last.

Maybe that’s what it takes to be a successful big-league manager –the willingness to alienate people towards the single-minded aim of winning baseball games (though Hodges had a lot more friends, had a much better playing career, and also had the one world’s championship in a much shorter managerial career.)  Personally, I’d suppose Cubs fans would be furious with him, more so than Red Sox fans, for example, are pissed at Don Zimmer or Grady Little or Bobby Valentine. He’s responsible for some of their sadder memories, the late 1960s Cubs having such a formidable lineup and nothing to show for it. But since they’re some of my gladder memories, I should be kinder to Leo—we couldna done 1969 without ya.

This article is reminding me of something I should be doing instead of writing it—namely, packing up my baseball library. (I’m briefly the owner of both my old house and my new one, paying at least one mortgage on a place I’m a thousand miles away from at any point in time.)  It’s by no means the biggest baseball library on this website, I’m quite sure.  But as someone once wrote,  "…'tis not so deep as a well nor so wide as a church-door, but 'tis enough, 'twill serve."  If anyone is looking for something that’s out-of-print, however, drop me a comment here or a note to stevengoldleaf@gmail, and if I’ve got it, I’ll be glad to mail it to you.  (Some, like my 1981 Abstract—in fact ALL my Abstracts—I’ll be taking with me.  But I’ll be glad to divest myself of several hundred others. And HOLY COW!—I just noticed for the first time that my Dodgers and Me is potentially a valuable keeper: it’s inscribed "To Lawrence Sincerely Leo Durocher" in genuine ink. I didn’t even know my Uncle Larry had been a baseball fan. Leo had a very elegant handwriting, btw.) Anyways, I’ve got too many books to ship cheerfully to Florida, and I’m trying to divest ruthlessly—I’ll probably have to donate a few thousand general-interest books to a library in the next few months, so do LMK if you’re looking for something specific (baseball, fiction, litcrit, poetry, mysteries, history) --I’ll see if I’ve got it. I’d list them all, but that would be much more work than packing them into boxes and lugging them to a library.

It’s a shame— I bought a lot of these books and have never cracked  them open, but my rule of thumb will be: if you ain’t read it yet, you’re not all that interested in reading it. And some of them aren’t making the trip south because I’ve read them too much: the paperback Bouton anthology, for example, is falling apart, cover off, first few pages barely hanging on, spine broken. Most of them are in better shape than that, which is both more than I can say for myself and nothing to brag about.


COMMENTS (26 Comments, most recent shown first)

Marc Schneider
It's interesting how, in baseball, having a bunch of Hall of Famers (deserved or not) on the team is no guarantee of winning, while in basketball teams can put together groups of players that are almost guaranteed to win. Obviously, there are more players on a baseball team, but I think it's also that, in baseball, even the best players fail a majority of the time so that a team can't simply ride its best players. In basketball, the best players are good almost every game.

As for Manushfan's comment about Bouton: yeah, he could be pretty smug in his books and pretty ungenerous to people he didn't like, such as Roger Maris and Elston Howard. (He later expressed regret for his lack of generosity toward Howard.) I didn't think Ball Four was the magnus opus that a lot of people thought it was and there were parts in it where, if I had been the one quoted, I would have been very unhappy. You don't expect friends (or at least teammates) to make you look like a schmuck in public.
1:57 PM Sep 7th
Fireball Wenz
For what it's worth, the Cubs' AAA shortstop in 1969 was a 21-year-old Roger Metzger. He threw plenty of leather in latter years. The Tacoma PCL club finished first, but the roster was full of MLB retreads of very limited success (Manny Jimenez, Jack Lamabe) and only a couple of real prospects (Metzger, Jim Colborn).
5:05 PM Sep 6th
Steven Goldleaf
The only example YOU cited, Brock, was Kessinger, who was played to death in 1969. Awful September, as I recall. And Popovich had played SS for the Dodgers, who always stressed defense, just the previous year. Popovich subbed for Beckert because Beckert got severely injured and missed a month. If Leo's roster included no adequate backup shortstop in case Kessinger missed a month, who is that on? I think you could not have stronger evidence that he DID have a more than adequate backup shortstop, and that he CHOSE to play Kessinger to death instead of using his adequate backup shortstop.

Spangler, meanwhile, was his REGULAR RFer at the start of the season, playing every day (.900+ OPS in the middle of May with a .350+ BA).

Remember, too 1969 was a pitcher's year. These bench averages were better than they look to us.
10:59 AM Sep 6th
Brock Hanke
Steven - You have a point about Paul Popovich, whose batting average I must have missed scanning the Cubbie bench. Paul was primarily used as a 2B whenever Beckert needed time off, played very little elsewhere. He did hit .312, and did have an OPS+ over 100, which is more than either Beckert or Kessinger could say. I suppose it's possible that Leo thought that Paul could not really play shortstop, although that's a speculation. If he WAS a good defensive middle infielder, then he should have been starting. Bad defense on Popovich's part would explain why Leo never gave Kessinger a day off.

However, if you check the rest of the bench, well, Popovich was the only benchwarmer who hit more than .250, much less .300. Al Spangler, who played backup RF, and Willie Smith, who played backup 1B and LF, were the only ones to hit more than one home run. Note that neither one of them was asked to play CF, implying less-than-adequate defense. Smith, presumably, had the better arm, hence RF. In other words, aside from Popovich, that is one sorry-ass bench.
6:53 AM Sep 5th
I was born in ‘68 so I don’t have any recollection of him myself. Pretty much everyone in my family are Cub fans, and I can tell you my Dad absolutely hated him. Never said a positive thing about him.
12:13 PM Sep 3rd
9:48 PM Sep 2nd
Steven Goldleaf
But ya didn't google "enorme bouton," did ya?
2:38 PM Sep 2nd
I'll stick with the strict definition of bouton (button) over a colloquial phrase.

In Nice Guys Finish Last, Leo describes being confronted by an angry Ruth (an argument over Ruth's desire to be a manager and lack of ability there in Leo's opinion). He says he decided to rush the Babe (and did push him into a locker) because he feared being slapped around and thought it best to initiate a scuffle, knowing that the rest of the team would immediately intervene. He says nothing about cuffing him about the face.

I'm pretty sure of my memory of that. Kahn can and did write what he wants and Leo via Linn can and did write what they want, but...that's Leo's version and I'm inclined to believe Leo. His reputation is such that I shouldn't, but somehow...I do.
1:51 PM Sep 2nd
As I recall, Leo also stole Babe Ruth's pocket-watch, by his own admission in Nice Guys Finish Last. I view my recall as only moderately reliable though.

In re: Ernie Banks, I always liked this great quote from the above source: "He was a great player in his time. Unfortunately, his time was not my time."

I also read the Bouton book on managers. Hell, I read the damn book that Jim Bouton and Mike Marshall's ex-wives wrote! Home Games, by Bobbie Bouton and Nancy Marshall. It was worth reading, I'd say.
12:51 PM Sep 2nd
The 1939 Red Sox, who finished 17 games behind the Yankees, had FIVE Hall of Famers, three of whom are among the 30 best players of all time (HR/RBI/OPS+). Ted Williams (31/145/160), Jimmie Foxx (35/105/188), Lefty Grove (15-4, 2.54, 185 ERA+), Joe Cronin (19/107/125), and Bobby Doerr (12/73/103). Grove was 39, Doerr 21, Williams 20, Foxx 31, and Cronin 32.
9:04 AM Sep 2nd
Steven Goldleaf
Brock--How exactly was Paul Popovich not a backup of any real quality? He'd started 35 games for the Dodgers the previous season, backing up Zoilo Versalles at SS, and played the most innings for LA at 2B, doing what seemed like an an adequate job. Was he as good as Kessinger? No, but that's not what a backup has to be, sort of by definition. There were plenty of backup SSs in MLB who were no better than Popovich, always were, always will be.
6:56 AM Sep 2nd
Brock Hanke
This seems to be the right thread to ask a question I've wanted to throw out there for years: Is the reason that Leo overworked his starters in 1969 that he just plain had no serious bench? Did the Cubs, not exactly rolling in money, just not have enough to fill out their roster in the offseason? When I look at that team in that year, that's what it looks like to me. Leo played Kessinger every day because he didn't really have a backup shortstop of any quality. Those of you who are actual Cubs fans (I'm from STL) will know enough to answer that for me. I'm just going by looking at the numbers. Thanks in advance.
1:47 AM Sep 2nd
Steven Goldleaf
From the Kahn piece (p. 174 in the Pustule paperback):

"Quickly Durocher shoved Babe Ruth into the locker and cuffed him about the face..." followed by a long direct quote from Leo explicating his pugilistic strategy.
4:23 PM Sep 1st
Steven Goldleaf
And, Gary, the version I tell below IS Leo's version. I read it yesterday, maybe in the Pimple anthology. I'll see if I can find it for you.

I haven't read the Linn book for awhile, so maybe there is some sincerity in it (my signed copy of his book, remember, is inscribed "Sincerely, Leo Durocher") though I'd wonder if that isn't Linn's hand in sanding down Leo's rough edges.
3:40 PM Sep 1st
Steven Goldleaf
No, it's the common term for "pimple," too. Of course it literally means "button" too, but it's the everyday, non-medical word for "pimple"--go ahead and Google "enorme bouton" and tell me if you think that's a button being poked.
1:08 PM Sep 1st
Bouton's anthology book is one of my favourites. I haven't read it for a long time.

Bouton is french for Button, not Pimple.

Do you have a source for your version of Durocher vs Ruth? Durocher's version is the only one I know of.

Durocher's autobiography with Ed Linn contains a number of sincere regrets. He notes his own lack of gratitude towards his father, and also towards Philip Wrigley. You can claim these parts are not sincere, but they appeared so to me.

Philosophizing, regarding his relationship with his father, Durocher wrote, "The parent does everything for the child, and the child is ungrateful." This from my memory, but I'm pretty sure it's close. I think of Durocher as a scoundrel, but still short of being a sociopath.
12:59 PM Sep 1st
Steven Goldleaf
Other 1b-men chosen for the NL All-Star team in 1962-9 were

Ed Kranepool 1965
Felipe Alou 1966
Rusty Staub 1968
Lee May 1969

making 8 rivals for the team, in all, for Banks. Willie Stargell was mainly an OFer, though he did play a few hundred games at 1B. When the Pirates traded Clendenon, they gave the job to Al Oliver.

That's a lot of competition. Still, Banks made the cut 4 times in this period, which added to his reputation as the league's top 1b-man, deserved or not.
6:10 AM Sep 1st
Steven Goldleaf
I was thinking of how impressive Banks' 4 All-Star appearances from 1962-69 are, in two separate ways:

1) Other NL firstbasemen in their primes in those years were Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Bill White, and Donn Clendenon.

2) With Williams and Santo on the Cubs (and Ellsworth and Jenkins), the NL was hardly ever looking for a Cubbie just to represent the team.

Of course, the NL could have chosen the wrong firstbaseman and the wrong Cub in choosing Banks. I'm just impressed that he got picked so often in his down period.
11:32 PM Aug 31st
The Cubs were terrible before Leo got there and stunk after he left. As my cousin says, hindsight is 20/20. As Don Zimmer never rested the 1978 Red Sox, Leo did not rest the 1969 Cubs. He could have played Paul Popovich in the infield more often and Jim Hickman could have played some first to rest Ernie Banks. Don Kessinger hit well in the first half and then tailed off. Adolfo Phillips was really good in 1967, by early 1969 Leo had soured on him and he went to the Expos. Don Young should have stayed in the minors. The pitching staff was thin after the first three starters and the bullpen was thin. Still they won 92 games. They had four good starters in 1970, that team perhaps should have won. By then Randy Hundley could catch every day at that time, he was worn out from catching so much from 1966 through 1969.
6:10 PM Aug 31st
Yeah Leo was someone who shoulda retired earlier than he did. I love those Cubs teams and basically loathe the Mets, so there ya go.

Bouton--I never liked him. Tried reading a few of his books, pass. Guy leaves me cold. I do remember his 78 comeback try as a knuckler and watched him pitch then, was hoping he'd make it. Wasn't that bad a try actually.

5:04 PM Aug 31st
With the benefit of hindsight, I think Durocher did a terrible job of managing the 1969 Cubs' position players. He made no effort to utilize his bench. There were five position players who played 155 games, and Beckert would have if he hadn't been injured. No wonder they faded down the stretch. That team had a wonderful pitching staff, which Durocher apparently handled very well. I haven't gone back and looked at the other seasons; I don't even know which years he managed.
12:47 PM Aug 31st
Steven Goldleaf
Far be it from me to defend Banks (you're right, of course, that he was a star in the 1950s and not so much in the 1960s) but from 1962 through 1969, his last full year, he averaged 25 HRs and 91 RBI per year, and made 4 All-Star teams and got MVP votes those four years, so he was still sporadically useful, just not nearly as good as he'd been earlier. Not that you claimed he was useless, bearbyz, but he still had some good seasons--it's not like he turned into David Wright or something, going from a legit HoFer to nothing at all. He was skating on his reputation, true, but after 1961 he still hit over 200 HRs and drove in almost 800 more runs in his final decade. The one bit of harm I think he did the Cubs in the 1960s was he occupied a position, 1B, that they could have played Billy Williams at, as I wrote last year, and thus stuck Lou Brock in LF.
12:07 PM Aug 31st
After 1961 Ernie Banks never produced a WAR above 4, which means even though they had three hall of famers in the everyday lineup, one didn't play like a hall of famer anymore. Banks was a super player in the late 50's, but his injury turned him into a fair player.

I also read Bouton's managerial book when I was a kid and enjoyed it immensely. I remember him talking about how lucky Yogi Berra was and it had a picture of Berra holding a poker hand with 4 aces.
10:58 AM Aug 31st
Steven Goldleaf
Marc--"alienating"? Well, that's one word for "shoving Ruth into a locker and beating him about the face and neck until someone broke the fight up."

Yes, Durocher bore a certain generational resemblance to Stengel, the main difference being that Stengel was a wizard with press relations and Durocher (like Billy Martin) was the world's worst at it. But that whole generation +ran roughshod over the players, because they could. Where else are you gonna go? Japan? Once players got a few rights and autonomy over their careers, that style of managers was deceased fossil fuel. Durocher managed a decade past Stengel, and Stengel was obsolete by his end. Leo was more than obsolete.

Funny thing is, in the 1940s, Leo was the cutting edge. I'd like to hear from some actual Dodgers fans of the 1940s (not many left, I suppose) and find out what they made of him. I'd guess they'd call him fun, fresh, exciting, imaginative, just what the doctor ordered. The "if you're scared, go home" anecdote contrasts him with Walt Alston, the first of the more considerate generation of managers.

Thanks for reading--I wasn't aware that IMG,BBDTPB was all that obscure.
9:41 AM Aug 31st
What is this article about?
9:13 AM Aug 31st
Marc Schneider

I liked all of Bouton's post-Ball Four books (maybe more than Ball Four itself), including the one about managers and I remember all of the comments from Bouton and the articles themselves about Durocher. (You are the first person I've run across who read this book.) It strikes me, as a former Braves fan, that you could say the same thing about Bobby Cox-lots of victories/division titles and one World Series ring. It's either "he also won a World Series" or "he only won one World Series." Re Durocher, if you are interested, I read a more recent book, "Leo Durocher: Baseball's Prodigal Son" by Paul Dickson. It's not much different, I guess, than the others, but puts his life in a little more context. But it strikes me that Durocher's managing style was probably not that much different from other managers of the day. Casey Stengel was not beloved by his players. The style worked well, perhaps, in the 30s/40s, not so well in the 60s. Actually, Durocher reminds me of a certain Chief Executive of the United States, who shall remain anonymous (except, whatever his failings, Durocher did know something about baseball).

If you recall, Bouton talked about the "good Leo" and the "bad Leo." The good Leo, according to Bouton, would have enjoyed Bouton's aggressive style and bulldog mentality. The bad Leo would have called Bouton a clubhouse lawyer for his stance on the players' union. I think there's also a story (I think in one of the articles) about Durocher alienating Babe Ruth when he was with the Yankees, which doesn't seem like such a good idea, but it may have been during Babe's decline phase.
8:31 AM Aug 31st
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