November 29, 2010
At this point, you'd have to figure that anyone old enough to remember attending the 1932 World Series at Wrigley Field would have to be as old as a former Supreme Court Justice.
And — hey, hey, holy mackerel — what do you know? It turns out that recently retired SCOTUS employee John Paul Stevens was at 1932's Game 3, the famous contest in which Babe Ruth called his shot during the fifth inning. Today, the 90-year-old judge confirms that he indeed saw the New York Yankees legend motion toward center field just before Ruth hit his 440-foot blast off Chicago Cubs pitcher Charlie Root.
Stevens has actually told this story before — he was a 12-year-old son in a wealthy Chicago family during the 1932 World Series — but it found a wider forum on Sunday night when it closed the good profile that Scott Pelley and "60 Minutes" did in the wake of Stevens calling it a career on the Court last summer.
You can watch the entire piece here, but a transcript of the Ruth part is below:
Stevens: "He took the bat in his right hand and pointed it right at the center field stands and then, of course, the next pitch he hit a home run to center field. There's no doubt about the fact that he did point before he hit the ball."
Pelley: "So the called shot actually happened?"
Stevens: "There's no doubt about that."
Pelley: "That's your ruling?"
Stevens: "That's my ruling."
Pelley: "Case closed."
Stevens: "That's one ruling I will not be reversed on."
Ruth actually just pointed with his hand (not his bat) and the fact that Ruth did some motioning is generally not disputed (only the intent of those motions).
Still, I think we can cut Stevens some slack after 1) he served our country on the highest court in the land for 35 years and 2) making it to 90 years old after being a lifelong Cubs fan.
It's a pretty interesting profile for other reasons, including Stevens revisiting some cases — Bush v. Gore, in particular — that he believes the Court may have made some mistakes on.
[Related: Another World Series hero calls his HR]
He did not, however, second guess his decision to hang a framed Mark Prior jersey on his office wall.