Thursday, October 8, 2009

The New "Hastings Historian" Mails Today!

"Babe" Ruth and Hastings mayor Thomas F. Reynolds

Your next issue of the Hastings Historian contains many fascinating articles -- articles about how Hastings got its name and about Hastings’ first ambulance, plus a wonderful reminiscence on gym class in the early 1960s. It also contains a plea from Frank Domchek for a photograph of Babe Ruth. And not just any photograph! As you can see, we have three of them. But Frank is looking for a very specific image.

It was in 1927 that George Herman “Babe” Ruth came to Hastings. The local Rotary Club had invited him to speak on the opening day of the Boys’ Summer Twilight League, which they sponsored.

“Babe Ruth is coming here!” exclaimed the Hastings News the week before his arrival. “Yes, he, George Herman Ruth, the Home Run King, the Sultan of Swat, the Prince of Ball Players, is coming in the flesh, in his own proper person. He will appear right out in the open in broad daylight, where every boy will be able to get a good close-up of him, free of charge.”

On the 16th of June, Babe Ruth drove himself up to Hastings in his eight-cylinder sedan and met Hastings’ mayor, Thomas F. Reynolds, at the acclaimed Longue Vue restaurant (now the site of the Andrus Memorial Home). After dinner, Hastings’ motorcycle policemen escorted the two back to Reynolds Field. “Every small boy who was not already at Reynolds field,” the paper reported, “could be seen scurrying as fast as immature legs could carry him to the scene of the appearance of the idol of the American youth.”

The Boys’ Band of the Children’s Village played the National Anthem. Then, as the paper put it, “there were the usual pictures.”(And how glad we are now that they were so usual!) Coach LeRoy Cochran took the stand and explained the important purpose of the gathering. Superintendent of Schools John L. Hopkins presented the mayor. And Reynolds presented Mr. Ruth, who, he announced, had just that day hit his twenty-second home run at Yankee Stadium.

“I suppose everyone wants to know how I hit them out,” the Babe began, after the cheers had died down. “About twenty kids have asked me that. Well, I’m going to ask ‘Lindy’ how he flew across the ocean. … Some home runs are luck and on some you out-smart the other fellow. That’s what I want you boys to do, try and out-smart the other fellow, and play the game for all it’s worth. I’m coming up some night to see how you get along.”

Among the “sea of young faces, every one of which bore the rapt expression of absolute idolatry,” was young Frank Domchek. He remembers distinctly a photograph taken of himself, “the Babe,” and a few other boys sitting in the back of a pickup truck. Frank would love to track down this photograph. If anyone can help the Historical Society out with this request, please let us know!

The Babe poses at Reynolds Field with local Hastings boys, officers of the Rotary Club, school officials, and village officers. The photograph shows, left to right, front row: William Steinschneider, Henry Cochrane, Charles Andres, Jim Leddy, Mayor Tom Reynolds, Harold Ulmer with son Harold, Jr. in front, Fred Charles, Harry Murray, Superintendent of Schools John L. Hopkins, and Coach E. Leroy Cochran; second row (behind man with boy): Laken Owens (behind the Ulmers), Norm DiChiara (boy), and Foster L. Hastings; top row: H.H. Murphy (bow tie), two unidentified, Jimmy Croke, William J. Russell Sr. (taller husky boy), unidentified, Kirby Brown, Babe Ruth, unidentified, Warren Reynolds, three unidentified, Dom Raimondo (from Irvington in open-necked shirt), unidentified. If you recognize any of the unidentified boys or men, let us know!

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  1. I recognize two relatives in this smaller group photo with men in front and boys at the rear. The man standing in front holding a straw hat, with a striped tie and a watch chain across his vest is my uncle Herbert P. Cook. The taller husky boy, second to the right of Babe, is my father William J. Russell Sr. at fourteen yeasr of age. Nice photo.

    Bob Russell

  2. The man in front is Fred Charles and not Herbert Cook. Sorry for the mis-identification. Bob Russell

  3. This is great to see. Very cool that Babe Ruth visited Hastings. Any other baseball stories with a baseball connection?

  4. Great pictures - it's great to see pictures of my grandfather Tom Reynolds. I tried to blow up the picture to see if Warren was the only Reynolds in the picture but unfortunately could not. I am going to ask my cousins.
    Thanks for the good work.
    Tom Reynolds, III

  5. Hi Tom! Good to hear from a Reynolds! We've got lots of photos of your grandfather if you ever want a few more! To enlarge the photographs, try clicking on them and then looking for the "All Sizes" link above the photograph -- that will show you a pretty good sized image. Let us know if someone in your family can ID anyone!