Baseball’s most legendary player, Babe Ruth, loved Detroit, including its beer, hot dogs, saloons, women (not sure what order) and of course Navin Field at Michigan and Trumbull where he hit two of his most famous home runs.
On June 8, 1926 he hit what is believed to be the longest home run in major league history when he sent a Lil Stoner serving high over the centerfield grandstands onto Cherry Street. Officially measured at 626 feet, it reportedly then rolled a couple of blocks until a kid on a bike caught up with it where it traveled an estimated 850 feet.
Eight years later, in his final season with the Yankees, the Sultan of Swat hit his 700th career home run off of Tommy Bridges on July 13, 1934.
Prior to that season, the Babe nearly became Detroit’s player- manager, however when Ruth chose to play some exhibition games in Hawaii instead of finalizing a deal, an impatient Tiger owner Frank Navin instead acquired catcher Mickey Cochrane to lead his club.
This February 6th marks the Bambino’s 116th birthday, and for the twenty-fourth consecutive year Detroit will celebrate the Babe’s legacy with an unbelievable Babe Ruth Birthday Bash.
For the first time, the Babe Ruth Birthday Bash will be held at Nemo’s Bar in Corktown just a couple of blocks east of the Tiger Stadium site on Michigan Avenue. Nemo’s was once ranked the number 3 sports bar in America by Sports Illustrated.
This is Ruth country, because the Babe arrived with his teammates at the Michigan Central Depot just west of the ballpark on Michigan and stayed many nights carousing at the Book Cadillac Hotel just a few blocks east of Nemo’s.
The Babe Ruth Birthday Bash was started in 1988 by Tom Derry at Bar Thom’s on Grand River in Detroit’s North Rosedale Park neighborhood. Twelve people were at the first party but now it is packed. Since 1995 the party was held at Tom’s Tavern in Detroit, but the gathering has become so huge the bash had to move for more space.
I have attended the event several times and I can tell you it is great fun. Hundreds of Ruth photographs are displayed along with his many famous quotes while hot dogs and Crackerjacks boxes are passed around to help soak up the beer.
This year Brent Stevens, the Babe’s great grandson is planning to be at Nemo’s for the party. Brent has attended the event in the past.
So if you would like to raise your glass to the man who single handedly changed the game of baseball and became one of the iconic figures of the 20th century, you will have a great time at Nemo’s on February 5th.