The Day Babe Ruth Played Some Football

Columnist Maury White of the Des Moines Register recently wrote about Babe Ruth’s visit to a Drake University football practice in 1926.

Drake Coach Ossie Solem invited Ruth, who was in Des Moines for a postseason exhibition game. Solem hoped the Yankee slugger would have some words of inspiration for his men.

In his weekly column for the Register, Coach Solem wrote at the time:

“We finally inquired had he ever indulged in the ‘dirt eating’ pastime known as football. The answer was sort of a woeful ‘No.’ It was evident that the ‘Big Bimbo’ (sic) had missed something in his boyhood days, and when the invitation to work out with the Bulldogs was extended, it was accepted with glee.”


Add Ruth: The Bambino showed off his passing and punting skills, then lined up at fullback for the varsity.

He started around end, cut back and ran 20 yards for a touchdown.

Later, Solem put him at defensive tackle with the reserves, and he stopped Bulldog star Chuck Everett on a rushing attempt.

Wrote Solem: “Babe knew just one thing about this feature of the game and that was, he was supposed to be on top. He was that.”


Trivia time: Which team holds the NFL record for being penalized the most yards in a game?

UNLV all the way: Steve Jacobson of Newsday recently wrote a column on Jeff Innis, a New York Met reliever called up from triple-A Tidewater during the roster expansion period--for the third consecutive year.

Innis is well acquainted with the Met regulars. He told Jacobson of first baseman Dave Magadan’s sense of irony: “He’ll point out things others don’t see and point it out in a unique way.”

During spring training, the FBI gave its annual talk, warning against the dangers of drugs and gambling. Innis recalled Magadan’s pointing out that on the bulletin board behind the agent was the grid of the Mets’ annual Final Four pool.

Eddie’s endowment: Notre Dame’s football media guide contains 360 telephone book-sized pages and costs $9.

From page 130: “A new academic quadrangle, the DeBartolo quad, now is under construction immediately west of Notre Dame Stadium.”

To include the Joe Montana School of Aerodynamic Research, no doubt.

New York state of mind: Gov. Mario Cuomo, a former minor leaguer in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization, went before the National League expansion committee this week to argue that Buffalo should be granted a 1993 franchise.


Afterward, he took some playful shots at Buffalo’s competitors from Florida--Miami, St. Petersburg and Orlando.

Said Cuomo: “Miami is a wonderful town, but you can’t look around and say these are all baseball fans. You even have jai alai fans. Jai alai fans and baseball fans, they don’t even drink in the same places.”

Add Cuomo: The New York governor commented on the difference between Buffalo’s Pilot Field and St. Petersburg’s Florida Suncoast Dome by praising Buffalo fans.

Said Cuomo: “These are baseball fans. They like being out at a game where it can rain on your head. I like the idea there is no roof on this field and that there’s real grass that can die and get brown like it’s supposed to.”

Asked whether awarding a third team to New York, which already has the Yankees and Mets, would be unfair, Cuomo said: “We’re New York. . . . We have 18 million people. How many do they have?”

Trivia answer: The Cleveland Browns, with 209 against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 25, 1951.

Quotebook: Brigham Young wide receiver Matt Bellini, commenting on the mobility of Cougar quarterback Ty Detmer: “He’s just a slimy little cat.”