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Thread: Eleanor Gehrig had a fling with Babe Ruth???

  1. #1
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    Eleanor Gehrig had a fling with Babe Ruth???

    I'm reading "Luckiest Man," the Lou Gehrig biography by Jonathon Eig, and I was surprised to read that Babe Ruth may have had a fling with Mrs. Lou Gehrig while they were aboard a ship to their 1934 Japan tour.

    That was the first I'd ever seen such an allegation. If true, it's a bit disappointing, since I bought into the Hollywood version of Mrs. Gehrig: A devoted wife to the big lug.

    Now, I certainly realize that's obviously not the case in real life, and that Eleanor Gehrig couldn't be the angel she was made out to be in the movie -- but, dang! I didn't expect her to be whoring around with her husband's teammates, either!

    Is there any truth to this speculation? Has anyone ever heard this before?
    Last edited by Victory Faust; 09-17-2007 at 10:04 PM.
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  2. #2
    This story has been around since 1934. It's no secret. Nobody will probably ever know for sure if they had a fling or not. Most people believe Gehrig would have left her had he thought it true. It was the final nail in the coffin of the Ruth-Gehrig relationship.

    Eleanor did have a love for alcohol however, and there is little doubt she and the Babe spent time together. Whether or not they did the nasty - noone knows.

  3. #3
    I'm not even going to assume this could be true. Anything could be true but like most stories after some years the story gets legs and before you know it, the more people talk about it the more some will believe it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
    I'm not even going to assume this could be true. Anything could be true but like most stories after some years the story gets legs and before you know it, the more people talk about it the more some will believe it.


    It's certainly the first I've ever heard of it. I'm not exactly a baseball history scholar like some here are, but I do love reading anything I can get my hands on about the subject. And Mr. Gehrig is one of my all-time favorite players. Yet this is the first I've ever read of his wife possibly having an affair with Babe Ruth.

    To be fair to the author of the book in question, he doesn't present this as fact. Rather, he presents it as a possibility. Still, I'd never heard this before, and as I said, I don't want to believe it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victory Faust View Post
    To be fair to the author of the book in question, he doesn't present this as fact. Rather, he presents it as a possibility.
    To me that is totally irresponsible writing. To write something so salacious without supporting evidence can only be done for the basest of reasons: money.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KCGHOST View Post
    To me that is totally irresponsible writing. To write something so salacious without supporting evidence can only be done for the basest of reasons: money.

    But if this is something he uncovered in his research, doesn't it behoove a biography writer to include it? I would think so.

    If Gehrig was plagued by rumors that his wife slept with Babe Ruth, and if people said that's what caused the rift between the two sluggers, I think it would be remiss for the author to leave that stuff out. As long as he presents it for what it is -- unsubstantiated rumors -- I think he's fine.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Victory Faust View Post
    It's certainly the first I've ever heard of it. I'm not exactly a baseball history scholar like some here are, but I do love reading anything I can get my hands on about the subject. And Mr. Gehrig is one of my all-time favorite players. Yet this is the first I've ever read of his wife possibly having an affair with Babe Ruth.

    To be fair to the author of the book in question, he doesn't present this as fact. Rather, he presents it as a possibility. Still, I'd never heard this before, and as I said, I don't want to believe it.

    Same result fact or possibility, damaging to those involved, Babe and Lou's wife even though both ar no longer with us.

    Look at it this way, how could he present it as fact, who witnessed this happening. Get my point, he could only present it as a possibility but even that, a possibility spreads what we don't know to be true.

    Think of the great number in the thousands who read this book and then pass on the story to others and before you know it's talked about by so many it becomes more likely believable.

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    So Shoeless, are you trying to say it's the author's fault that people who read the book pass the story onto friend, therefor maybe making it dilluted on the way?

    He uncovered a possibility in his research, and wrote it. Nothing wrong with that. It would have been irresponsible to say that it happened, but he did nothing of the sort. He wasn't irresponsible.
    Quote Originally Posted by Domenic View Post
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  9. #9
    It's called biography. Things are not going to get glossed over, everything is fair game as it should be. If Mr. Eig uncovered information that could lead one to believe such an event happened, one that would certainly explain the strained relations between Gehrig and Ruth, he should have presented it. Much of history itself is written upon speculation, taking minor evidence and presenting it as such.

    VF, is it possible for you to post the passages where this is hinted? that way, it would be easier to decide just how salacious or irresponsible the author actually is?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Cold Nose View Post
    VF, is it possible for you to post the passages where this is hinted? that way, it would be easier to decide just how salicious or irresponsible ther author actually is?

    I'd be happy to, Cap'n. I don't have the book with me at woik (it's at home), but I'll post the pertinent passages when I get a minute to-night.
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Westlake View Post
    So Shoeless, are you trying to say it's the author's fault that people who read the book pass the story onto friend, therefor maybe making it dilluted on the way?
    He uncovered a possibility in his research, and wrote it. Nothing wrong with that. It would have been irresponsible to say that it happened, but he did nothing of the sort. He wasn't irresponsible.
    No one at fault, just human nature, I would say most of us do, include nyself.
    Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 09-18-2007 at 12:08 PM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
    No one at fault, just human nature, I would say most of us do, include nyself.
    I doubt more damage can be done to Ruth's reputation as a lothario than by the John Goodman movie, so a mention in a well-regarded book about a possibility of something happening won't hurt anyone involved.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
    No one at fault, just human nature, I would say most of us do, include nyself.
    Agreed. I just don't see the justification behind people seemingly blasting the author for writing what he came across in his research.
    Quote Originally Posted by Domenic View Post
    The Yankees should see if Yogi Berra can still get behind the plate - he has ten World Series rings... he must be worth forty or fifty million a season.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Cold Nose View Post
    I doubt more damage can be done to Ruth's reputation as a lothario than by the John Goodman movie, so a mention in a well-regarded book about a possibility of something happening won't hurt anyone involved.

    CAPTAIN, come on this is a step up.... or is it down. That movie is dismissed by most. This accusation, this possibility of this taking place, what some call a possibility is far worse than that Hollywood sham could ever be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
    CAPTAIN, come on this is a step up.... or is it down. That movie is dismissed by most. This accusation, this possibility of this taking place, what some call a possibility is far worse than that Hollywood sham could ever be.
    It's not anywhere near an accusation, Shoeless, if the author merely stated it was a possibility.
    Quote Originally Posted by Domenic View Post
    The Yankees should see if Yogi Berra can still get behind the plate - he has ten World Series rings... he must be worth forty or fifty million a season.

  16. #16
    You know after thinking this one over, unless I see or I come up with anything that would shed some light on this either way..............I think I'll just let it be.

    Why bother, he said it OK not a problem with me.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Westlake View Post
    It's not anywhere near an accusation, Shoeless, if the author merely stated it was a possibility.
    I hear ya, I did follow the word accusation with the word possibility in my post. Your correct, should have left out the word accusation.

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    Leigh Montville talks of it in The Big Bam too. Like lollar sez, the story's been around a long time. Mrs. Gehrig was a city gal from Chicago, a "worldly woman", not a shy seamstress that lived with her mother 'til she was 30 and only went out to church on Sundays like Hollywood would have us believe.

    Montville's claim is that the future Mrs. Gehrig spent time with the Big Bam before she was Mrs. Gehrig, and things came to a blow on the Japan trip.

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    Eleanor gave her version in her autobiography. Here she explains the origin of the rumor in her own words.

    "The principal episode started innocently enough one day when I was walking the deck alone (1934 Japan cruise), a calm day in a fairly rough crossing, and I passed Claire Ruth, who was sitting in a deck chair. We both said "hello" spontaneously. I kept walking, but on the way back she invited me to their cabin, where I stepped into their little world: the resplendent Babe, sitting like a Buddha figure, cross-legged and surrounded by an empire of caviar and champagne. It was an extravagant picnic, especially since I'd never been able to get my fill of caviar, and suddenly I was looking up at mound of it.

    So I was "missing" for two hours, the longest that I'd been out of Lou's sight since the trip began. When I finally stepped back outside into the rest of the world's problems, I found Lou and most of the crew in a stem-to-stern search on the brink of blasting the ship's horn for a circling hunt for a body overboard. I'd been "overboard," all right, but the one place Lou had never thought to check out was Babe Ruth's cabin.

    The result was a long siege of no-speaking, one of Lou's spells of speechlessness, and we were silently dressing for dinner later when there was a muscular banging on the door. Babe Ruth burst in - jovial, arms both stretched out in a let's-be-pals gesture. But my unforgiving man turned his back, extending the silent treatment to the party of the second part, and the Babe retreated. (My Luke and I, by Eleanor Gehrig and Joseph Durso, 1976, pp. 189, 190.)

    I believe Eleanor's version and I'll tell you why. Because Mrs. Ruth was insanely jealous of her man, Babe, and would never let him out of her sight. She was not about to share him with anyone, least of all with Mrs. Gehrig. Has anyone seen my Lou/Eleanor tribute?

    http://baseball-fever.com/showthread.php?t=40925 Scroll down to posts #6-8.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-19-2007 at 05:14 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Victory Faust View Post
    I'm reading "Luckiest Man," the Lou Gehrig biography by Jonathon Eig, and I was surprised to read that Babe Ruth may have had a fling with Mrs. Lou Gehrig while they were aboard a ship to their 1934 Japan tour.

    That was the first I'd ever seen such an allegation. If true, it's a bit disappointing, since I bought into the Hollywood version of Mrs. Gehrig: A devoted wife to the big lug.

    Now, I certainly realize that's obviously not the case in real life, and that Eleanor Gehrig couldn't be the angel she was made out to be in the movie -- but, dang! I didn't expect her to be whoring around with her husband's teammates, either!

    Is there any truth to this speculation? Has anyone ever heard this before?
    Eleanor and Claire talked shortly and agreed that the feud between their husbands was silly. They decided that they would plan a meeting with all four of them. They went back to the cabin where Ruth was and let him know their thoughts. Ruth agreed and they all enjoyed drink and food. Eleanor seemed to get a bit carried away with the time and eventually went and looked for Lou to bring him to the meeting. Of course Lou was upset since he'd been searching for her. As if just hearing that she had been in Ruth's cabin wasn't enough, he learned that she had been drinking and having a good time in Ruth's cabin. The meeting never happened.

    Eig's writing on this subject is about as irresponsible as an author can get imo.
    "You guys are my family. I am very grateful I have been led to this beautiful place and all the warm members who have been so kind to me. I feel I have made a lot of friends, and learned tons about baseball. To me, Fever is too good to be true, and don't know how I'd fill the vacuum if it ever went away. Thanks to so many for a reason to be happy every day. Just can't repay you guys." - Bill Burgess

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
    CAPTAIN, come on this is a step up.... or is it down. That movie is dismissed by most. This accusation, this possibility of this taking place, what some call a possibility is far worse than that Hollywood sham could ever be.
    The movie, sham as it is, is far more accessible than the book is.

    Sultan, what makes your sources more veritable than Eig? Maybe he knows something through his research they don't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Cold Nose View Post
    The movie, sham as it is, is far more accessible than the book is.

    Sultan, what makes your sources more veritable than Eig? Maybe he knows something through his research they don't.
    More veritable? Well, when I first read this long ago, there was a certain level of doubt given the parties involved, the situation described, and the author's dislike of Ruth. But just to follow up on that doubt, this specific issue happened to come up during a conversation with Bill Jenkinson, who, to this day, has a relationship with both sides of the equation. If you're interested, he said that this story was garbage, or bullsh*t to be more exact. Take that for what you will. Doesn't matter much in the end. People can keep believing whatever they want. Keep trying to chip away at the man and the player. That's been happening for years and years to no avail.
    "You guys are my family. I am very grateful I have been led to this beautiful place and all the warm members who have been so kind to me. I feel I have made a lot of friends, and learned tons about baseball. To me, Fever is too good to be true, and don't know how I'd fill the vacuum if it ever went away. Thanks to so many for a reason to be happy every day. Just can't repay you guys." - Bill Burgess

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