Babe Ruth on “the Japs” in World War II

On March 18, 1944, the New Yorker, after hearing that the Japanese troops were yelling “to hell with Babe Ruth” as an insult when fighting against the American troops, paid a visit to the Babe at his apartment on Riverside Drive in upper Manhattan. He remembered a postseason trip to Japan in 1934 and said: “Sort of thing you’d expect from the itty-bittys [referring to the insult]. I figured at the time that they were acting awful friendly. Why, we arrive at Yokohama and there’s one million of the little fellows lined up, bowing and cheering and carrying American flags in one hand and Jap flags in the other. We take the train to Tokio and there’s another million standing around near the station, all too damned polite. . . . They were lovely to us, just lovely.”

The Babe said this about their ability to learn baseball tips: “They listen a lot, and then put two and two together.” He said this about the ’34 tour:  “I knocked out thirteen home runs, but I never saw a Jap hit one over the fence. A bat is about as big as a Jap, and the fact is, the itty-bittys can’t hit.”

And this about the Japanese fans: “They’re wild men in the stands. . . . They don’t know the difference between good plays and bad ones, so they yell at everything.”

And this about playing before Japanese royalty: “Wasn’t a game we played, but some royal uncle or nephew wasn’t sitting out there under the canopy, so everybody lined up and saluted the duck, while a cannon went off and a siren blew to let the neighborhood know the game was starting. Hell of a way to play ball.”

Published in: on July 14, 2009 at 1:40 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Great stuff. Just the way you’d expect The Babe to respond.


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