In the summer of 1932, at the beginning of the turbulent decade
that would remake America, baseball fans were treated to one of the
most thrilling seasons in the history of the sport. As the nation
drifted deeper into the Great Depression and reeled from social
unrest, baseball was a diversion for a troubled country—and yet the
world of baseball was marked by the same edginess that pervaded the
national scene. On-the-field fights were as common as double
plays. Amid the National League pennant race, Cubs' shortstop Billy
Jurges was shot by showgirl Violet Popovich in a Chicago hotel
room. When the regular season ended, the Cubs and Yankees clashed
in what would be Babe Ruth's last appearance in the fall classic.
After the Cubs lost the first two games in New York, the series
resumed in Chicago at Wrigley Field, with Democratic presidential
candidate Franklin Roosevelt cheering for the visiting Yankees from
the box seats behind the Yankees' dugout.
In the top of the fifth inning the game took a historic turn.
As Ruth was jeered mercilessly by Cubs players and fans, he
gestured toward the outfield and then blasted a long home run.
After Ruth circled the bases, Roosevelt exclaimed, "Unbelievable!"
Ruth's homer set off one of baseball's longest-running and most
intense debates: did Ruth, in fact, call his famous home run?
Rich with historical context and detail, The Called
Shot dramatizes the excitement of a baseball season during one
of America's most chaotic summers.