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RedRamage

Detroit Tigers player/manager... Babe Ruth??

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Remember that great player/manager the Tigers had in the '30s?  You know... that big name star: Babe Ruth?  Apparently it almost happened.  I just happen to come across this story here:

http://seamheads.com/2014/07/14/a-look-back-at-when-babe-ruth-nearly-became-the-detroit-tigers-player-manager/

Very interesting read.  If you want the Cliff Notes version:

Navin was looking for a new manager and wanted a big name star to try and boost ticket sales in the early 30s.  According to the story Navin targeted Ruth and received permission to talk to him.  Ruth, however, wanted too much money and also seems to have turned off Navin a bit by not coming to meet with him ASAP having committed to some events in Hawaii previously.

In the end of course Navin got Mickey Cochrane instead, which worked out really well for the Tigers.  Still, it's an interesting story.

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I've heard multiple variations on it and the one that seemed the most likely to me is that Babe had reason to believe it would have been a PR signing / would not have received support from the front office if the Tigers scuffled at all, and wisely passed on it.

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4 minutes ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

I've heard multiple variations on it and the one that seemed the most likely to me is that Babe had reason to believe it would have been a PR signing / would not have received support from the front office if the Tigers scuffled at all, and wisely passed on it.

Navin was well known as a penny pincher, that's for sure.  Most owners had made their fortunes elsewhere and owning a baseball club was more hobby than business, but for Navin owning the Tigers was his primary source of income, which probably made him a bit more tight fisted.  It wouldn't surprise me if Ruth did turn it down over fears that Navin wouldn't support the team.  

It's also 100% true that Navin was hoping that signing a big name would sell more tickets.  Whether that was the primary motivation of looking for Ruth and/or Cochrane is debatable, but it's no question that it was a motivator.

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