This 1920 Accident Outside Media Could Have Ended Babe Ruth’s Career

Image via Philadelphia Inquirer archives.

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 Babe Ruth’s first New York season, in Darlington, adjacent to the village of Wawa.

Ruth was driving to New York from Washington in his new $10,000 Packard after beating the Senators 17-0.

With him was his wife, Helen; teammates Frank Gleich and Fred Hoffman; and coach Charlie O’Neil.

They stopped in Baltimore for some illegal refreshments and after midnight, headed north on a rain-soaked U.S. Rt.1 at high speed.

Near 3 a.m., 6 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 at 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 Philadelphia area experiences here.

Editor’s Note: This post first appeared July 17, 2019. 

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