Had Babe Ruth’s car skidded a little further or overturned somewhere else on July 7, 1920, baseball and American culture might have been forever changed, writes Frank Fitzpatrick for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
It happened midway through Ruth’s first season with the Yankees, in Darlington, a tiny Delaware County community near the village of Wawa.
Ruth was driving to New York from Washington, D.C., in his new $10,000 Packard after beating the Senators, 17-0. With him was wife, Helen; teammates Frank Gleich and Fred Hoffman; and coach Charlie O’Neil.
They stopped in Baltimore for some illegal refreshments (Prohibition was in its infancy), and after midnight, they headed north on a rain-soaked U.S. Rt. 1 at high speed. Around 3 AM, six miles west of Media, the car skidded and flipped on its roof.
They walked to a farmhouse, the summer residence of Coates Coleman, a Wayne businessman.
“From what my grandfather told me,” Coleman’s late grandson told the Inquirer in 1997, “Ruth had a half a snoot-full.”
State police in Media were summoned, but their report disappeared. Pierson’s Garage in Media towed the damaged car.
“Sell it if you want to,” Ruth allegedly told a Pierson’s employee. “I’ll get another one when I arrive in New York.”
Read more about Babe Ruth’s accident in Delco in the Philadelphia Inquirer here.