The Called Shot


The Called Shot

Babe Ruth, the Chicago Cubs, and the Unforgettable Major League Baseball Season of 1932

Thomas Wolf

408 pages
22 photographs, 6 tables, index


May 2020


$36.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

May 2020


$18.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

May 2020


$18.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

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.

Author Bio

Thomas Wolf has written numerous articles on baseball history and is the coauthor of Midnight Assassin: A Murder in America’s Heartland.


"Wolf . . . delivers a solid and exciting look at the 1932 baseball season. . . . Baseball fans will delight in this thrillingly told history."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The Called Shot is a satisfying read and provides depth and context to a memorable baseball season. As the reader will discover, the 1932 season was more than just Babe Ruth’s most iconic moment."—Bob D'Angelo, Sports Bookie

The Called Shot provides readers a multilayered narrative of politics, pop culture, American history, and baseball. Going far beyond the games on the field, Thomas Wolf’s book gives readers a glimpse into a season they only thought they knew.”—William Steele, author of Going the Distance: The Life and Works of W. P. Kinsella

“The gifted writer Thomas Wolf has dug deeply into the colorful and tumultuous culture of the United States between the world wars. He has produced a memorable and readable book that sheds new light on both baseball history and American history.”—Lee Lowenfish, author of the award-winning Branch Rickey: Baseball’s Ferocious Gentleman

“In 1932 the Chicago Cubs defied the experts and won the National League pennant despite such distractions as a jilted lover shooting their shortstop and a front-page gambling scandal embarrassing several star players. Thomas Wolf provides a thoroughly researched, gripping account of one of the most fascinating eras in baseball history, capturing both the spirit of the times and its memorable figures in colorful, vivid detail.”—Jack Bales, author of Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team

Table of Contents



Cast of Characters

Prologue: A Broken Umbrella in a Rainstorm

1. Rogers Hornsby

2. William Wrigley

3. Spring Training

4. Opening Day

5. The Math Wizard

6. The Rivals

7. Rookie Pitchers

8. Brawls

9. Hornsby and Cuyler

10. Brooklyn

11. Road Trips

12. Chicago Conventions

13. Independence Day

14. Double X

15. Wicked Chicago

16. Harry Hortman and Charlie Ireland

17. Sbarbaro’s Courtroom

18. Legs of Glass

19. The End of the Hornsby Era

20. The Boys of Summer

21. Judge Landis Intervenes

22. Stretch Run

23. Yankees Coast

24. The World Series Begins

25. The Crowd Gathers

26. The Called Shot

27. The World Series Ends

28. Postgame

29. Fans Return Home

30. Ruth’s Legacy with the Cubs

Epilogue: The Babe Calls His Last Shot

Extra Innings

Author’s Note on Sources




Also of Interest