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  • #16
    Originally posted by BaseballHistoryNut
    is that a lot of misinformed people seem to think Ruth was not just a drunk (which he of course was), but an abusive, nasty, vicious drunk.
    He obviously liked to drink, as did many back then, but maybe it depends on your definition of "a drunk." I have an uncle who wakes up cracking a beer and lighting a cigar. Drinks like a fish. Despite serious medical ramifications, he continues to drink. Can't go a day without. That to me is a drunk. Ruth was able to stop drinking for extended periods of time, and by all accounts it never seemed to bother him. Sipping on scotch while playing cards, or going out for a night on the town, he certainly enjoyed the night life and all that came with it. When I think "drunk" though, I think, waking up with the shakes, can't function without alcohol, etc..maybe just semantics.

    Comment


    • #17
      Creamer's Stengel: His Life and Times is another excellent biography. Published in 1984, he needs mostly second-hand info to deal with Casey's playing years. But he manages to bring the dead-ball era alive, shows how Casey dealt with the end of his playing days, recaps his adventures as a Texas oilman, a banker, and a minor-league executive. The parts dealing with his managerial years are as brilliant as his other great biography. The best part of the book deals with the 1949 season, with DiMaggio out for half the year, Casey does everything right, one game after another - while constantly being pilloried by the press as a buffoon and under the threat of being fired.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948
        He obviously liked to drink, as did many back then, but maybe it depends on your definition of "a drunk." I have an uncle who wakes up cracking a beer and lighting a cigar. Drinks like a fish. Despite serious medical ramifications, he continues to drink. Can't go a day without. That to me is a drunk. Ruth was able to stop drinking for extended periods of time, and by all accounts it never seemed to bother him. Sipping on scotch while playing cards, or going out for a night on the town, he certainly enjoyed the night life and all that came with it. When I think "drunk" though, I think, waking up with the shakes, can't function without alcohol, etc..maybe just semantics.

        MY DEAR FELLOW-RUTH FREAK SULTAN:

        You're wrong. As I said elsewhere on here, I'm a recovered alcoholic who was near death from the disease, at age 26, when I quit in 1979. I had two single-night relapses in early 1980, but have not had a drop since, so I'm 26+ years sober. And like I said, I was near death. Only that realization enabled me to quit. Take my word for this, ok? It's hardly something I'd say if it weren't true.

        I NEVER drank in the morning, even in my drunkenmost periods. I NEVER had DT's. I did occasionally take a day or two off. Hell, a couple of times I took a week or two off, then lied to myself, "OK, see? I can quit whenever I want (true), ergo I am not an alcoholic (a CROCK)." In truth, I could stop, but I could NEVER drink in moderation, and when I did drink, I was prone to do almost ANYTHING--except get violent with women.

        I can't count how many men I hit, and at 6'2", 200 pounds (then; much more now), and with a ferocious semi-overhand right cross, plus no vulnerability to pain (until the next day, lol), I hurt a lot of guys. Luckily, none ever came back with an "equalizer." (Please note: This is not to say I never ran into guys who knew how to fight much better than I did, and who could take a couple of real good punches from me, and who then kicked my ass real good I absolutely ran into such guys, and got hurt pretty badly. Served me RIGHT, when it happened.)

        My point, of course, is that you can't take the absence of one item on a "checklist for alcoholics" and say, "OK, good, he/she is not a drunk."

        EVERYONE who knew me thought I was going to die and gave me no chance of recovery--especially because I wanted zilch to do with A.A.'s theologically oriented "higher power" stuff. They rightly weren't impressed with my ability to take days/weeks off, to stay sober until late afternoon, etc. And I never once had delirium tremens, either.

        Alcoholism afflicts AT LEAST 20-30 million Americans. It's involved in 50% of all homicides, 55% of all traffic deaths, 70% of all suicides, and 80% of all domestic violence. For you lucky folks (a MAJORITY, but a small one) who can drink it properly, god bless you and have a few Heinekens in my memory, would you please? God, did I love it. But Ruth certainly never should have touched it, and I was a LOT worse drunk than him.

        Bottom line, Sultan: You absolutely CANNOT take a list of symptoms, then use that to decide if you or someone else is an alcoholic. Take the person to a psychologist who specializes in substance abuse (but NOT one who is peddling A.A. or N.A., with an agenda to sell). Hell, you can contact me and I'll help. Having never been to an A.A. or N.A. meeting, I sure won't try to sell you their stuff. But if this person is an alcoholic, they need treatment for THAT first, and only THEN for the woes that drove them into becoming ACTIVELY alcoholic next.

        Any competent shrink will agree with me, even if he/she also wants to peddle this person the A.A. way, as well.

        BHN

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by BaseballHistoryNut
          MY DEAR FELLOW-RUTH FREAK SULTAN:

          You're wrong. As I said elsewhere on here, I'm a recovered alcoholic who was near death from the disease, at age 26, when I quit in 1979. I had two single-night relapses in early 1980, but have not had a drop since, so I'm 26+ years sober. And like I said, I was near death. Only that realization enabled me to quit. Take my word for this, ok? It's hardly something I'd say if it weren't true.

          I NEVER drank in the morning, even in my drunkenmost periods. I NEVER had DT's. I did occasionally take a day or two off. Hell, a couple of times I took a week or two off, then lied to myself, "OK, see? I can quit whenever I want (true), ergo I am not an alcoholic (a CROCK)." In truth, I could stop, but I could NEVER drink in moderation, and when I did drink, I was prone to do almost ANYTHING--except get violent with women.

          I can't count how many men I hit, and at 6'2", 200 pounds (then; much more now), and with a ferocious semi-overhand right cross, plus no vulnerability to pain (until the next day, lol), I hurt a lot of guys. Luckily, none ever came back with an "equalizer." (Please note: This is not to say I never ran into guys who knew how to fight much better than I did, and who could take a couple of real good punches from me, and who then kicked my ass real good I absolutely ran into such guys, and got hurt pretty badly. Served me RIGHT, when it happened.)

          My point, of course, is that you can't take the absence of one item on a "checklist for alcoholics" and say, "OK, good, he/she is not a drunk."

          EVERYONE who knew me thought I was going to die and gave me no chance of recovery--especially because I wanted zilch to do with A.A.'s theologically oriented "higher power" stuff. They rightly weren't impressed with my ability to take days/weeks off, to stay sober until late afternoon, etc. And I never once had delirium tremens, either.

          Alcoholism afflicts AT LEAST 20-30 million Americans. It's involved in 50% of all homicides, 55% of all traffic deaths, 70% of all suicides, and 80% of all domestic violence. For you lucky folks (a MAJORITY, but a small one) who can drink it properly, god bless you and have a few Heinekens in my memory, would you please? God, did I love it. But Ruth certainly never should have touched it, and I was a LOT worse drunk than him.

          Bottom line, Sultan: You absolutely CANNOT take a list of symptoms, then use that to decide if you or someone else is an alcoholic. Take the person to a psychologist who specializes in substance abuse (but NOT one who is peddling A.A. or N.A., with an agenda to sell). Hell, you can contact me and I'll help. Having never been to an A.A. or N.A. meeting, I sure won't try to sell you their stuff. But if this person is an alcoholic, they need treatment for THAT first, and only THEN for the woes that drove them into becoming ACTIVELY alcoholic next.

          Any competent shrink will agree with me, even if he/she also wants to peddle this person the A.A. way, as well.

          BHN
          Well first may I say, glad to se you changed your ways for the better. With that out of the way we must get one thing out of the way at this time. We are never, we can never come to a conclusion either way in debating was Babe Ruth an alcoholic. We were not in his company and there are probably not more than a dozen persons on the Earth still alive who were.

          The one thing we have to remember is that most hand me down stories are almost always exaggerated. He probably never ate as many hot dogs a as we have heard and probably never put down as many drinks as we think or heard he did. Jimmie Reese who became very good friends with Ruth said that very seldom did he see Ruth drink as much as is told in some stories handed down over the years.

          So what ever SULTAN believes makes one an alcoholic has nothing to do with Ruth.
          If you challenge his words in general, thats fine but if your post is to put forth the idea that Ruth could have been an alcoholic I see no way it can be proven.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by BaseballHistoryNut
            MY DEAR FELLOW-RUTH FREAK SULTAN:

            You're wrong. As I said elsewhere on here, I'm a recovered alcoholic who was near death from the disease, at age 26, when I quit in 1979. I had two single-night relapses in early 1980, but have not had a drop since, so I'm 26+ years sober. And like I said, I was near death. Only that realization enabled me to quit. Take my word for this, ok? It's hardly something I'd say if it weren't true.

            I NEVER drank in the morning, even in my drunkenmost periods. I NEVER had DT's. I did occasionally take a day or two off. Hell, a couple of times I took a week or two off, then lied to myself, "OK, see? I can quit whenever I want (true), ergo I am not an alcoholic (a CROCK)." In truth, I could stop, but I could NEVER drink in moderation, and when I did drink, I was prone to do almost ANYTHING--except get violent with women.

            I can't count how many men I hit, and at 6'2", 200 pounds (then; much more now), and with a ferocious semi-overhand right cross, plus no vulnerability to pain (until the next day, lol), I hurt a lot of guys. Luckily, none ever came back with an "equalizer." (Please note: This is not to say I never ran into guys who knew how to fight much better than I did, and who could take a couple of real good punches from me, and who then kicked my ass real good I absolutely ran into such guys, and got hurt pretty badly. Served me RIGHT, when it happened.)

            My point, of course, is that you can't take the absence of one item on a "checklist for alcoholics" and say, "OK, good, he/she is not a drunk."

            EVERYONE who knew me thought I was going to die and gave me no chance of recovery--especially because I wanted zilch to do with A.A.'s theologically oriented "higher power" stuff. They rightly weren't impressed with my ability to take days/weeks off, to stay sober until late afternoon, etc. And I never once had delirium tremens, either.

            Alcoholism afflicts AT LEAST 20-30 million Americans. It's involved in 50% of all homicides, 55% of all traffic deaths, 70% of all suicides, and 80% of all domestic violence. For you lucky folks (a MAJORITY, but a small one) who can drink it properly, god bless you and have a few Heinekens in my memory, would you please? God, did I love it. But Ruth certainly never should have touched it, and I was a LOT worse drunk than him.

            Bottom line, Sultan: You absolutely CANNOT take a list of symptoms, then use that to decide if you or someone else is an alcoholic. Take the person to a psychologist who specializes in substance abuse (but NOT one who is peddling A.A. or N.A., with an agenda to sell). Hell, you can contact me and I'll help. Having never been to an A.A. or N.A. meeting, I sure won't try to sell you their stuff. But if this person is an alcoholic, they need treatment for THAT first, and only THEN for the woes that drove them into becoming ACTIVELY alcoholic next.

            Any competent shrink will agree with me, even if he/she also wants to peddle this person the A.A. way, as well.

            BHN
            I respect where you're coming from, I really do. Glad to hear things are good now.

            Take Ruth out of the equation and just call the guy Joe Blow. If I was provided with the same alchohol related information I would come to the same conclusion.

            Are there different levels to alcoholism? We know that Ruth enjoyed a drink. We know that he'd fill his hotel bathtub full of ice and beer, and by the end of the game, when he came back (with many visitors) it was properly chilled for all to enjoy. He liked to have a good time. We know that he'd have an entire train car reserved for just him to serve court. Serving ribs and beers to teammates. A joyous time. We know that while playing cards on road trips he would sip scotch. He liked to stay loose.

            In his case, when its noted that he was able to go LONG periods of time without a single drink and it never seemed to bother him, that holds some weight with me, in regards to whether we call him a flat out drunk or not.

            Addiction. What is the the definition. I've always thought that doing something in the face of consequence is a good place to start. Ruth's personality I believe was more responsible for his auto accidents than anything else. He got into them drunk or sober. I think it was his "push to the limit" personality more than anything, although when it was involved, the alcohol certainly couldn't help. Consequences. Would he have have wanted to bed as many women if he didn't drink? Who knows. If you could call that a consequence (marraige wise) then it would apply. On the ballfield; if he would have went 0-4 every game because he was hungover, that would be a consequence, but that didn't happen.

            He did tell F.C. Lane one time that he got his dad's quick temper, but throughout his life there was never much violence that went along with this outside of a hollow threat to "punch somebody in the nose" (his go-to line). But no drinkin' related bar fights to speak of. Granted, just because somebody might be a "happy drunk" doesn't mean they're not a drunk, but I'm honestly having a hard time, given what we know, of calling Ruth a flat out drunk. I don't think he necessarily drank more than many others, including the president (kept scotch in his home even during prohibition) at the time.

            Not sure where I'm going with this. Just started kinda rambling. Bottom line; I see where you're coming from. Its not just about saying "oh, well he didn't exhibit this trait, therefore he cannot possibly be an alcoholic. I get that. Still though, given everything, its hard to me to just throw that label on him.

            Comment


            • #21
              Well, it eventually comes down to whether HE controlled the DRUG, or vice versa. For years, I kidded myself that because I could QUIT drinking anytime I wanted to--and I could, for days, weeks or months at a time--I perforce was not an alcoholic. But there is a huge difference between: (1) being able to stop drinking; and (2) being able to CONTROL YOUR DRINKING. Once I started drinking, I was lost and had no control at all.

              Could Babe Ruth control his drinking? Hell, he couldn't control his breakfasts, lol. But COULD he, if he wanted to, go into a barroom and drink four or five shots, OR four or five small glasses of wine, OR four or five glasses of beer, and then stop? From what I know of the guy, NO. He was the ultimate bull in a china shop. Like Creamer said of the moment when he was released from St. Mary's to go play ball, The animal was out of its cage, and nothing but death was ever going to put him back. Or like Ed Barrow so brutally and tactlessly said, "Why should we let you manage a team, when you can't even take care of yourself?"

              Then again, Ruth took a LONG time to die, for someone who was diagnosed with terminal cancer in, what, mid-1946? And I'm not aware of his getting bombed all the time during those last two years. An actively alcoholic person would almost certainly do that, while facing the certainty of a premature face-to-face with the Reaper.

              So I don't know if He was alcoholic or not. I DO know that you can't point to the absence of one or two symptoms and then comfortably say, "OK, He wasn't an alcoholic." But I get that you've got that.

              BHN

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by BaseballHistoryNut
                Well, it eventually comes down to whether HE controlled the DRUG, or vice versa. For years, I kidded myself that because I could QUIT drinking anytime I wanted to--and I could, for days, weeks or months at a time--I perforce was not an alcoholic. But there is a huge difference between: (1) being able to stop drinking; and (2) being able to CONTROL YOUR DRINKING. Once I started drinking, I was lost and had no control at all.

                Could Babe Ruth control his drinking? Hell, he couldn't control his breakfasts, lol. But COULD he, if he wanted to, go into a barroom and drink four or five shots, OR four or five small glasses of wine, OR four or five glasses of beer, and then stop? From what I know of the guy, NO. He was the ultimate bull in a china shop. Like Creamer said of the moment when he was released from St. Mary's to go play ball, The animal was out of its cage, and nothing but death was ever going to put him back. Or like Ed Barrow so brutally and tactlessly said, "Why should we let you manage a team, when you can't even take care of yourself?"

                Then again, Ruth took a LONG time to die, for someone who was diagnosed with terminal cancer in, what, mid-1946? And I'm not aware of his getting bombed all the time during those last two years. An actively alcoholic person would almost certainly do that, while facing the certainty of a premature face-to-face with the Reaper.

                So I don't know if He was alcoholic or not. I DO know that you can't point to the absence of one or two symptoms and then comfortably say, "OK, He wasn't an alcoholic." But I get that you've got that.

                BHN
                Don't mean to be a stickler, but that quote is actually one of my favorites from Creamer and its etched into my memory.

                "He was free. After all those years he was finally out of the cage and nobody was ever going to get him into one again."

                I get what you're saying though. His personality was that of a bull in a china shop. An uninhibited non-conformist with a short attention span,to the highest degree. Today he'd be subscribed prozac or whatever those drugs are. Back then, no such thing. People were just different. That was Ruth through and through. He was certainly all about excess. Women, food, fun, life. Anything and everything was to be consumed. He did stop drinking when he was ordered to by his doctors. Had he been a true alcoholic, would this have been possible? If he wasn't an alcoholic, would he even have been in that position to have to be ordered to stop? Both legit questions. I just think its not fair to paste a label on someone just because he enjoyed the nightlife. He functioned. He lived. He had fun. He was human.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Interesting points.

                  I was never addicted to marijuana, either physically (which is impossible, IMO) or psychologically, but I once smoked it every day, at least once and sometimes twice or thrice, for six months, when I was 18 and 19. When circumstances mandated that I stop, I did so--with no more difficulty than you would have if forced to stop eating bananas after having done so every day for six months straight.

                  SO... The fact Ruth drank very heavily does NOT, per se, mean he was an alcoholic. If it did, a huge majority of college students would be "alcoholics" for a period of time during their educations. That's not the test. Like I said, it's whether the substance controls them, or vice versa. I always controlled pot, and when I wanted to quit using it permanently, I did so with no more trouble than you would have if you chose to give up cucumbers. BOOZE was a whole different story, for me.

                  Thus, it's possible Ruth was simply someone who drank ferociously because he CHOSE to, and not because he was addicted to the drug. TRUST ME, I was addicted to it. But I'm not one of those preachy recovered drunks who thinks everyone's an alcoholic. I'm fully aware that: (1) Most people are not alcoholics; (2) a lot more people are alcholic than realize it; and (3) those who are alcoholics desperately need to avoid it for the rest of their lives. My friends could tell y'all I don't preach to people about it, unless they're just about at death's door from it, like I was in 1979-1980.

                  I don't agree with you about the Prozac, and I believe that upon further reflection, you'll retract your statement.

                  If Ruth were around today, he'd be PRESCRIBED Prozac by some psychiatrist. I agree with that, all right. But do you seriously think he'd take it? Maybe once or twice, and that would be the end. Once he realized what that garbage did to him, and how it confined his mind and personality, he'd say "to hell with this stuff" (a mild version of what we both know he'd say), and flush it out of his life. We both know that about the man. He was incorrigible then, and he'd be incorrigible today.

                  Then again, the fact he could quit doesn't prove anything to me. Like I said, I could quit... and did so many times. There's a big difference between
                  (1) being able to STOP DRINKING alcohol, and (2) being able to drink alcohol in moderation. I was capable of the former, but incapable of the latter. As you correctly point out, Ruth was capable of the former. Do you think he was capable of the latter? I don't know, but I wouldn't want to bet on it. Moderation was not exactly the man's forte.

                  BHN

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by BaseballHistoryNut
                    Interesting points.

                    I was never addicted to marijuana, either physically (which is impossible, IMO) or psychologically, but I once smoked it every day, at least once and sometimes twice or thrice, for six months, when I was 18 and 19. When circumstances mandated that I stop, I did so--with no more difficulty than you would have if forced to stop eating bananas after having done so every day for six months straight.
                    I know what you mean. I went through the same boat. Smoked like a chimney all through high school. Needed to quit and did; wasn't hard at all.

                    SO... The fact Ruth drank very heavily does NOT, per se, mean he was an alcoholic. If it did, a huge majority of college students would be "alcoholics" for a period of time during their educations. That's not the test. Like I said, it's whether the substance controls them, or vice versa. I always controlled pot, and when I wanted to quit using it permanently, I did so with no more trouble than you would have if you chose to give up cucumbers. BOOZE was a whole different story, for me.
                    I believe he chose where, when, and how much to drink; that he controlled it.

                    I don't agree with you about the Prozac, and I believe that upon further reflection, you'll retract your statement.

                    If Ruth were around today, he'd be PRESCRIBED Prozac by some psychiatrist. I agree with that, all right. But do you seriously think he'd take it? Maybe once or twice, and that would be the end. Once he realized what that garbage did to him, and how it confined his mind and personality, he'd say "to hell with this stuff" (a mild version of what we both know he'd say), and flush it out of his life. We both know that about the man. He was incorrigible then, and he'd be incorrigible today.
                    This confuses me. You disagreed with me about the Prozac, but then proceeded to agree with exactly what I said.
                    Today he'd be subscribed prozac or whatever those drugs are.
                    edit: okay, now I see where the issue was. It was that I used the word "subscribe" rather than "prescribe." That's exactly what I meant.

                    I agree that he wouldn't want to take it and probably wouldn't take it. That wasn't him. That wasn't really the point though. My point was that back then people had issues just like they do today, but back then it just meant you were different. It meant you had personality quirks. Today, we're so quick to throw some medical label on people and attempt to solve everything through drugs. I don't agree with that line of thinking. Christ, a kid behaves badly today, and heaven forbid any responsibility goes on the parents in terms of attention and discipline. Much easier to just get little Johnny a prescription and keep on being a bad parent h

                    Then again, the fact he could quit doesn't prove anything to me. Like I said, I could quit... and did so many times. There's a big difference between
                    (1) being able to STOP DRINKING alcohol, and (2) being able to drink alcohol in moderation. I was capable of the former, but incapable of the latter. As you correctly point out, Ruth was capable of the former. Do you think he was capable of the latter? I don't know, but I wouldn't want to bet on it. Moderation was not exactly the man's forte.

                    BHN
                    Good point. I'm not really sure. As I've mentioned before, he would just sip scotch while playing cards on a train. That speaks of being able to drink in moderation. Had he wanted to just get sloshed, he could have easily done so. It also goes back to what I brought up earlier about doing something "in the face of consequences." There really was none for him, and when there was, such as the health issues, he was able to stop drinking altogether with no problem. We should also remember that although he was no stranger to heavy consumption, in all things, that later on, Claire was a great influence and curbed a lot of it, especially with food types and amounts. Again BHN, I respect where you're coming from on this. Its obviously a very sensative subject. I just believe alcohol was part of Babe's life and he controlled it. That's not to say he didn't have his moments like all of us. This whole thing kinda got started from the word "drunk." To me, that's a pretty harsh word that carries very negative connotations and doesn't fit Ruth, but maybe just a difference of opinion is all.
                    Last edited by Sultan_1895-1948; 06-04-2006, 04:31 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      I don't know about you guys, but until I moved back home and lost all my marijuana contacts, I couldn't go a day without smoking it for the life of me.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Until I met my ex-wife (in 1981), I did not believe there was such a thing as pscyhological addiction to marijuana. I grew up in the S.F. Bay Area in the late 60's and early 70's, and knew god-only-knows-how-many pot smokers. NONE of us had any problem controlling the tame version of pot then in circulation.

                        BUT....

                        Starting with my ex in the early 80's, I've known a lot of people who were psychologically addicted to it and were highly irascible, or worse, if they didn't have it by noontime. And I now live in a place famous far and wide for its #1 cash crop, marijuana. A grand irony: I smoked SO much of the stuff when young, but moved here as a 41-year-old lawyer who'd long given up the stuff because I no longer liked the effects of THC on my brain. So, just as with these fancy "microbrew beers" that everyone raves about (but I've never touched), I also never got to find out about our supposedly awesome local pot.

                        My point, anyway, is that I've met a lot of people in the last 25 years who HAVE been addicted to pot psychologically, and it's been pretty obvious--not just a case of my taking their words for it. I don't know what it's all about, except that pot for sure is a lot more potent now than the stuff I first smoked slightly over 35 years ago. Perhaps that creates addiction a lot more easily than the mild stuff I smoked so many years ago. In any event, the drug I used to smoke so often and regard as so innocuous is one I sure can't recommend anymore.

                        Yeah, I think it's not as dangerous as alcohol. I also think--indeed, know for certain--that cocaine is less dangerous than methamphetamine. That hardly means I endorse any of them.

                        And one thing about booze: IF you can use it responsibly, you can drink without getting drunk. There is no point to smoking pot unless you're going to get stoned. Otherwise, all you do is trash your lungs.

                        Comment

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