FEB: THE BASEBALL GURU ARTICLE FROM
.and there were plenty of them! The man had huge appetites which extended to food, liquor, life, and women.
As far as women are concerned, its only been in the last 15 years or so that we have begun to get a clearer picture of his relations with women and that would also include his two daughters.
Lets start with Helen Woodward. How does a man with the gargantuan zest for living it up end up with marrying a woman like Helen Woodward? Ruth loved to party, was a gregarious, outgoing, people friendly guy, who was always in the spotlight and enjoyed being so. Helen was a different story. Shy and retiring, she kept to herself as much as she could, shunned publicity, frowned on the lifestyle that Ruth favored and she made him aware of it early on in their marriage.
awhile it was obvious to the both of them that the marriage was a
mistake. Since divorce was
impossible (they were both
Catholics) they decided to live
apart from each
other. They did try to keep
it to themselves because it was felt the publicity might have been harmful
to Ruth. While the Babe was married to Helen he did have several affairs,
one of which was with a woman named Juanita Jennings. The affair culminated
in a child which they named Dorothy and put into an adoption agency. Ruth
then payed for an apartment for Juanita to live in on
Helen and Ruth were separated from 1920 to 1928. In 28 Helen died in a farm house fire and that brings us to Claire Hodgson.
When Claire Hodgson was a young teenager she flirted with an up and coming young ballplayer and had several dates with him. In his memoirs the ballplayer mentions that he just met a girl named Claire Hodgson and for awhile it got interesting. The player was Ty Cobb and whats pertinent about all this is that Claire later went on to marry Ruth, and to make it even more interesting, Ruth and Cobb hated each other.
Claire Ruth was quite a woman. She was brought up in wealth, had cut quite a figure in Society, and before she met the Babe had been divorced and had a child (Julia) of her own. They married soon after Helen died (Claire had been seeing Ruth while Helen was alive) and in many ways she was just what he needed. Strong willed, with a mind of her own, she tamed many of his habits. By the time his playing days were over, he had curbed his womanizing, gave up his gargantuan eating habits and became some-what of a stayat-home.
Early on in their marriage, Claire went to Yankee owner Jacob Ruppert and persuaded him to pay for a hotel room for the both of them when they were on the road and she would keep an eye on him. It worked for awhile but eventually Claire missed her family and friends and gave it up. Ruth then went back to sleeping with a different woman whenever he was traveling.
All in all though she was successful in toning down his rough, hurly-burley way of life. The babe adopted Julie as his own daughter. There was friction between both girls and certainly between Claire and Dorothy. A story concerning Ruths last few days before he passed away illustrates that. While the Babe was in Memorial hospital dying
of cancer Claire came to his room one week before he died. Armed with a Lawyer she made him sign over all his assets to her name including a $400,000 trust fund that he had set aside for Dorothy. In essence then she stole the fund from Dorothy and that of course caused more friction between both women.
As a follow up to that we should mention another woman that he had an affair with named Loretta Carson. Ms. Carson came to say goodbye to Babe two days before he died. He mentioned what Claire had done with Dorothys trust fund. She then went to Claire in the hospital and threatened to reveal the whole story to the NY Times. Claire then offered her $20,000 to remain quiet. Good sport that she was, she took the bribe and has faded from history.
To talk a bit more about Claires relationship with Dorothy we have to bring in Lou Gehrigs mother. One day Dorothy visited Gehrigs mom and after she left mom Gehrig mentioned to her friends that whenever she saw Dorothy she was always dressed like a ragamuffin but Claires child Julia from her first marriage was always dressed in the latest fashions. The remark got back to the Yankee wives who in turn told Claire about it who in turn told Ruth to tell Gehrig to tell his mom to mind her own business. Ruth went to Gehrig with Claires message and that was the end of their friendship until a year or so before Gehrigs death.
One last story about Ruth and his proclivity for women Involves one of his early roommates, Ping Bodie. In several interviews after Ruths death Bodie mentions that there was one period where the both of them went to a Philadelphia Bordello two nights in a row and the Babe went through all the girls both nights. That was some accomplishment because in those days houses like that usually had at least 10 to 15 women.
Quite a man was Babe Ruth.