Gnoza Knows It | Was Babe Ruth a Dodger? A draft dodger that is
It's widely known that Babe Ruth was one of the greatest baseball players of all time and that he spent most of his career with the New York Yankees.
But did you know that Ruth spent a little time playing ball in Lebanon, while also living and working in the city?
There apparently used to be a baseball field at the corner of 3rd and Willow Streets in Lebanon. Now you will find the Lebanon Transit Bus Garage.
On this field Babe Ruth practiced and played at least one game of exhibition baseball in September of 1918, right in the middle of his Major League career.
How in the world did that happen?
Here's the story.
The government decided earlier that year that Major League Baseball players would no longer be exempt from the effort in World War I.
However, in lieu of being drafter, they could work at a business that supported the war effort. Bethlehem Steel was doing just that. So Ruth took a job there, supposedly as a blue print messenger.
Ruth was not the only Major Leaguer to do so. Bethlehem Steel started teams at a number of its facilities and hired Major Leaguers to join them.
They even formed a league that was loaded with talent.
It didn't last too long because the war would end soon. Ruth joined Bethlehem Steel in September and reportedly left when the Armistice was signed in November.
But during that time, according to the Lebanon County Historical Society, Ruth lived at an apartment at 718 Chestnut Street. (The VFW building sits there now.) And at a residence at 34 East Locust Street.