October 13, 1920 -- Baseball players in the 1920's didn't stop playing once the season was over. There was money to be made ... on the barnstorming circuit.
No one knew that better than Babe Ruth, who in 1920 had emerged as the biggest name in baseball. Ruth had just finished his first season with the Yankees, and it was an historic one. The Bambino hit a record 54 homers -- the old mark was 29, set the previous year by the Babe in Boston. He led the league in runs, walks and RBIs as well.
The Yankees only finished third that season, so Ruth didn't have to wait until the World Series was over to start touring the country. On this date, the Babe came to Buffalo for an exhibition game.
Ruth suited up for a team that was called "The Polish Nationals." The opposition was supplied by "The Pittsburgh Colored Stars of Buffalo." Ruth brought along a couple of Yankee teammates for the game. Carl Mays was New York's best pitcher with a 26-11 record. James "Truck" Hannah was a backup catcher with the Yankees.
The Babe didn't disappoint anyone on that day. His two home runs thrilled a crowd of about 5,000 fans. One of the round-trippers hit a house on Woodlawn Ave. Ruth's team recorded a 10-0 win.
The Babe had such a good time, or at least cashed such a good check, that he returned to play another game later that month. He could only manage a single in three trips in that visit.
--- Budd Bailey