November 6, 1926: Babe Ruth appears at Duluth’s Lyric Theatre

On this day in Duluth in 1926—as well as the next—Babe Ruth appeared at the Lyric Theatre and performed four shows in two days. Billed as “The Bambino Himself,” “The Idol of Millions,” and “The highest salaried attraction in Vaudeville.” Ruth proved his promoters right: thousands came to see him, mostly school-aged boys. On November 7, the Duluth News Tribune ran a photo of Ruth standing among 2,000 “junior baseball fans” at the Lyric. Ruth’s stop in Duluth was the second leg of a 12-week barnstorming tour that began in Minneapolis. The Bambino and his fellow Yankees had just finished the World Series, losing the title in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals. Ruth was guaranteed to make $100,000 during his tour—about $1.3 million today—more than W. C. Fields, Al Jolson, or Fanny Brice, vaudeville’s top performers at the time. In Duluth, Ruth was greeted by Mayor Sam Snively and enjoyed a breakfast in his honor at the Hotel Duluth. Police Chief E. H. Barber was in attendance, as was Superior’s Dave Bancroft—player-manager of the Boston Braves and a friend of Ruth’s. Ruth’s “performance” was little more than being himself. He told stories of his feats on the baseball diamond (particularly his years with the Yankees), told the kids what it was like to be a player in the major leagues, and handed out fifteen autographed baseballs. Before he left the Duluth area, Babe was joined by three Detroit Tigers—manager George Moriarity and outfielders Heinie Manush and Harry Heilman—for some duck hunting before heading west to Fargo, North Dakota, for the third leg of his tour.

Babe Ruth duck hunting with a friend in California in January, 1927. (Image: sandiegohistory.org)

 

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