Babe Ruth’s Effect on Children
There were so many reasons to love the Babe. How could you not? He represented every working person’s dream. From growing up on the streets of Baltimore to ultimately being the biggest celebrity in America, he lived the ultimate rags-to-riches story. He gave everyone hope and inspiration.
Through it all, Babe was always personable and friendly with others, which made him more relevant for the “everyday Joe.” Although overly confident at times, Babe usually never let his fame and fortune get to his head. There are many personal accounts of the Babe’s generosity towards others, as well numerous interactions with fans regardless of who they were or what walk of life they came from.
Yet, it was children that were most near and dear to his heart. Bill Werber, Babe’s teammate on the New York Yankees, told BRC in March 2006 that, “Babe was unusually good with kids. You know, when he would leave Yankee Stadium – he was an immaculate dresser – and the kids would walk all over him and he would just continue to stand there and sign autographs for them. He would go to hospitals to see sick kids that asked to see him and he wouldn’t bring a photographer or a reporter with him.”
Given that the Babe was always considered a “big kid” himself, perhaps he always felt that he could relate to the innocence of children and their unconditional love and optimism. A lot of it could also be attributed to the fact that, since Babe struggled so much growing up at St. Mary’s Industrial School, his heart automatically went out to all children, without exception of their background.
Regardless of his reasons, there is no question from children who got to meet or interact with him that Babe sincerely adored children. And, that these children adored the Babe. Leon Fichman, who was a child actor in the 1930?s and starred with the Babe in a few short films, told BRC in June 2006 that, “He was the nicest man I ever met. He was so nice to all of us kids when we worked together for those two weeks. I’ll never forget a minute of it. I remember sitting on his lap and he put his arms around me and made out that ball for me that said, ‘To Leon, from one left-hander to another, Babe Ruth”. I’ll never forget it. One of the most important days of my life.”
To hear more from Leon’s interview, please visit Audio Interviews.
There are many stories, like Leon’s, from elders still alive today who fondly reminisce about their moment with the Babe and think highly of the man. After Babe’s baseball career had ended, he focused a lot of his time championing the causes of children and baseball. Many newspaper stories, such as the one shown here, accounted of his efforts