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Babe’s Legend Extended Deep Into Orange County

Is it possible? The longest home run ever hit in Orange County was smacked by . . . Babe Ruth?

It’s possible. Can it be proved? No.

Major league stars used to barnstorm the country after the World Series, making serious money playing exhibition games in parts of the country--such as Southern California--that didn’t have major league baseball.

In 1924, a promoter representing Ruth and Walter Johnson, the hero of the ’24 World Series, booked several dozen West Coast games for about 30 major leaguers.

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One of the bookings was at Brea on Oct. 31, 1924. The game, arranged by the Anaheim Elks Club, was scheduled for a natural baseball amphitheater owned by the Union Oil Co. It had no seats, but 2,000 were installed for the game. Tickets were $2 for reserved seats, $1 for general admission.

Brea and much of Orange County were in a tizzy for this one--Johnson, who had lived in nearby Olinda when he attended Fullerton High, pitching against the great Ruth.

Ruth, 29, had 284 home runs at the time.

Johnson, almost 37, was three years from the end of his career but had just come off a 23-7 season and had won the seventh game of the World Series for the Washington Senators.

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Ruth hit two home runs that day, the second one easily clearing the center-field fence and traveling an estimated 550 feet, according to the Anaheim Bulletin. Penned the writer: “It was perhaps the longest hit he has ever made, according to himself.”

Also on this date: In 1981, Scott Campbell of Purdue passed for 516 yards, but the Boilermakers lost as Art Schlichter threw for 336 yards and three touchdowns to lead Ohio State to a 45-33 victory. . . . In 1987, Eric Dickerson, the NFL’s single-season rushing champion, signed a three-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts to complete a three-way trade that netted the Los Angeles Rams two running backs and six draft choices over the next two years. The third part of the deal sent linebacker Cornelius Bennett to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for three of the draft picks that went to the Rams. . . . In 1987, jockey Chris Antley became the first rider to win nine races in one day. He had four winners in six mounts at Aqueduct and five winners from eight tries during the Meadowlands’ evening program.


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