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Yet there was no relief. Williams remembered those times well, and recounted some of the details in that interview. Foxx himself had been wondering if the whole pattern had begun as a result of his beaning. Prior to that time, he had no such issues.
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He actually believed that Foxx did some of his partying because of his desire to emulate Babe Ruth. Yet, Ted did not recall any overt drunkenness on the part of Double X.
The Real Jimmie Foxx | Society for American Baseball Research
Since Foxx loved playing golf in Florida, he had been an easy mark for business sharks trying to unload unprofitable properties. According to Williams, all this converged on Foxx at about the same time, causing Jimmie to turn more frequently to the bottle. When he did, Jimmie volunteered to catch in order to help his team. Think about that: Foxx was an established super-star slugger with 15 years of major league seniority, returning to the lineup after a serious knee injury. And he came back as a volunteer catcher, staying there for nearly six weeks!
Within days, Sox manager Joe Cronin hailed Jimmie as the finest catcher in the American League, while adding accolades about his diverse skills. Tell me: who was a better all-around ball player than Foxxie? Jimmie has historically been regarded as an indifferent defender, but facts say otherwise. Surely, the testimony of Cronin and Mack means something. Jimmie was a victim of his superb athleticism, and was often obligated to change positions. As a result, he never acquired much standing in any particular spot.
It is no wonder that, in , Ted thought that Jimmie would go on forever. The combination of physical pain along with family and financial pressure eventually became too much for Foxx to endure. Jimmie Foxx hit only 19 home runs in , and the Red Sox management hoped it was simply an off year. But when he struggled early in the season, they shipped him off to the Chicago Cubs, where his play did not improve. The disillusioned Foxx sat out the entire season, but returned to play part time in and when World War II depleted the major league talent pool. On August 19 he was the starting pitcher for the Phils.
Featuring a fastball and twisting screwball, Jimmie went six and two thirds strong innings, striking out five while recording the win. When it was all over, Jimmie Foxx had accumulated home runs, an impressive total, but far from the predicted just a few years earlier. Twenty-four times he cleared the foot high left field grandstand roof in Philadelphia. In St. And so on. Everywhere Foxx logged more than just a few games, and in many places where he stopped only once, the man hit home runs that defied logical analysis. How do we assess the career of Jimmie Foxx?
What if Jimmie Foxx was wearing a batting helmet when struck on the head by that pitched ball?
Although nobody can say, it is not hard to make the case that Jimmie Foxx could have recorded home runs along with the associated acclaim. So too with his financial hardship: We still see successful athletes lose their money. And, although Jimmie was self-absorbed on occasion, consider the counterpoints: Foxx had a proven history of honesty, likeability, perseverance, resilience, and intelligence. Given those attributes, negative outcomes seem unlikely.
Baseball's Ultimate Power (Ranking The All-Time Greatest Distance Home Run Hitters)
Obviously, something did happen to Jimmie Foxx in , which caused him to diminish rapidly as an athlete. There is no definitive medical proof that the event caused his subsequent problems. His medical records are now gone, but the available data strongly point in that direction. Interestingly, in February , Boston teammate Fritz Ostermueller had suffered from the same symptoms as Foxx. On May 25, , while Fritz was pitching at Fenway Park, Hank Greenberg savagely lined a ball off the left side of his face.
Neuralgia and sinusitis are not the same. Neuralgia is a generic name for nerve pain which is often linked with trauma. Sinusitis is generally attributed to infections. What does it all mean? It is hard to know. Yet, with the advantage of well-documented hindsight, it seems likely that year-old Jimmie Foxx had his nasal passages knocked violently out of alignment by the errant pitch in the autumn of As a result, he suffered a chronic infirmity from which he never recovered.
This we do know for sure: at the conclusion of the season, Jimmie Foxx was regarded as a genuine baseball hero. He was viewed as an athletic dynamo and poster boy for behavioral excellence. It is virtually impossible to find anyone who had anything bad to say about Jimmie. That includes players, coaches, managers, umpires, administrators, writers, fans, clubhouse attendants, or anyone else associated with Major League Baseball.
Babe Ruth left a mark on St. Pete's spring training history
Foxx was admired for his gentlemanly disposition, abiding generosity, work ethic, sincere camaraderie, and physical toughness. Then a combination of chronic pain and financial ruin became too much for him. Sadly, his premature decline has become his most notable legacy. In the twenty-first century, Jimmie Foxx is often caricatured as a drunken failure.
That is wrong. Ruth may have made his first excursion to St. Pete at that time, but no record of that has been found. During the spring training season, while playing against the New York Giants in Tampa, Ruth hit a home run. Petersburg for future spring trainings when Ruth hit his impressive homer. This inspired the mayor to push to get Ruth and the Yankees, rather than the Giants, to come to St.
For many years now, there has been speculation that Ruth hit an even longer homer in St. However documentation for this was lacking. Recent research has better confirmed this claim. Ruth appears to have hit a ball to the West Coast Inn during batting practice in But the question is did he do this in an exhibition Major League game? An actual recorded reference to the West Coast Inn has been found in only two of these games, one in and one in This photo depicts the distance.
Photo is of the first Al Lang Stadium, image In , Ruth was coming to the end of his career. That year was his last with the Yankees. He still could bat and hit home runs with exceptional frequency, but his running and fielding had badly deteriorated. He would continue in baseball one additional year as a member of the Boston Braves. His last year with the Yankees did not start out well. Prior to annual spring training in St. Pete, he came down with the flu and lost 16 pounds. He usually arrived in St. Pete in January to enjoy the warm weather and recreation prior to beginning training in March.
But because of the flu, he had to delay his departure and also his annual birthday party at the Jungle County Club Hotel on Park Street, now the Admiral Farragut Academy. Celebrating his 40th birthday in New York, he received a mammoth golf bag from his wife Claire and his daughters Julia and Dorothy. He finally reached St. Pete on February 9th, and fifteen minutes after arriving at the Jungle Hotel was on the links.
Ruth said he played golf to keep his weight down, as well as for enjoyment. Since I came south, I have been feeling fine and my legs feel strong. Whether I play after this year depends on the success I have this season. Babe Ruth loved St. Pete and would habitually arrive in St.
Pete two months early to enjoy the warm weather and especially the golf. Cartoon by Willard Muffin, Once spring training started, Ruth made some changes in his routine. He used a ounce bat — lighter than usual. He changed his grip a little, maybe a cue from golf. He was feeling better, fully recovered from the flu. And it began to show. Petersburg Evening Independent by Jeff Moshier. He hopes to play in games for the Yankees this season but finally agrees with the boys that his days as a player are numbered… In the face of all this, Ruth is enjoying probably the greatest spring of his year career in the majors.
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