“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”
The Curse of the Bambino
For years, I’ve stood accused, and so today let’s set the record straight.
Babe Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees on January 5, 1920 for the sum of $125,000 by Red Sox owner Harry Frazee to finance a Broadway show. Thus began “The Curse” or, depending on where you live, the greatest thing that ever happened in Yankee history.
My father, Harry Jr., was born in1920, and when I came around to bat, so to speak, they named me Harry Frazee, III, though I’ve always gone by Hank. So far, so good.
Then when I was twenty-eight, I went to Boston for a convention. Woody, a new friend of mine, was a lifelong Red Sox fan. When he discovered my full name, he bleated across the crowded ballroom the words that would not exactly curse but, occasionally, would haunt my life.
“Your grandfada sold Babe Ruth to da Yankees!” he gushed.
There was a hushed silence and then the crowd went back to their eating and drinking. But from time to time since then and as recently as last week, I have heard this accusation. Last week’s version was told very well, and I enjoyed it quite a lot.
Stands to reason, I am Harry, III, my father was Harry, Jr., and my grandfather was Harry, Sr. That pretty much says it all, except for a few minor details. My grandfather was in law school in Kansas at the time of the sale of the Babe, having earned a Purple Heart in France during World War I. He became a federal judge in Washington D.C. and financed no Broadway shows that I am aware of.
He, my dad and I share the middle name of Wilton. Harry, who sold the Babe to the Yankees, had the middle name of Herbert.
I am absolutely certain that my grandfather would have kept the Babe, and so would I. My Dad… was more of a football fan.
And that, as Paul Harvey used to say, is the rest of the story. Good day!