George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr. (1895-1948)

From: Chapter VIII – June, One Summer – America 1927 (2013), by Bill Bryson:

“As it turned out, (Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston) couldn’t have come into baseball ownership at a worse time. One bad thing after another befell Major League Baseball in the following years. First, competition from the Federal League clobbered revenues. Attendance in American and National League parks dropped by a quarter during the two years of the Federal League’s existence. Then America’s entry into the First World War depressed attendance further. That was followed by the great Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which killed millions across the world and left most people severely disinclined to gather in public places. At the same time, President Woodrow Wilson announced that the 1918 major league season would be reduced to 130 games as a gesture towards the war effort. Total attendance that year fell to just three million – a decline of 50 per cent from ten years earlier. Finally, in 1919, Congress brought in the Volstead Act, which declared that Prohibition would begin in January 1920. That would remove beer sales from ballparks, eliminating a crucial source of revenue…

…unnoticed by history was the timing of the Ruth deal. It is not at all a coincidence that the New York Yankees purchased Babe Ruth in the same month that Prohibition came into effect. Jacob Ruppert at the time of the Ruth sale was three weeks away from losing his brewery business. He urgently needed an alternative source of income. Now he was going to find out if it was actually possible to get rich from owning a baseball team, and he was going to do it by staking nearly everything on the most brilliant, headstrong, undisciplined, lovable, thrillingly original, ornery son of a bitch that ever put on a baseball uniform.

It would be quite a ride.”

Chapter XII:

“The act was named after Andrew J. Volstead, a Minnesotan like Lindbergh…His name became attached to the legislation simply because he was chairman of the House Judiciary Committee…Wayne Wheeler always claimed that he really designed and wrote the legislation, an assertion heatedly disputed by Volstead, though why either would want credit for the act is a reasonable question because it proved to be a strikingly ill-constructed Bill.”

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