The Ghost of Babe Ruth

We were certain the Sultan of Swat visited us in our hotel room in Boston

Photograph by Getty Images

The husband and I are positive it was the ghost of the Babe who visited us in our hotel room in Boston while we slept.

This is a true story.

It happened on a Friday in late September. We'd flown to Boston that day from San Francisco for my brother's wedding, scheduled for Sunday. The trip was a big deal — the first time Hugh, my newish boyfriend (now husband of 30 years), would be meeting my family. The situation was potentially radioactive. I'd been married twice and my highly critical parents had not been especially warm toward my grooms, let alone the in-between boyfriends. Even worse, Hugh's father lived in suburban Boston and our first night in town we had an unpleasant dinner with him in which he got hammered and was rude to us both.

Obviously, the weekend — our very first trip together — had gotten off to a shaky start. Relieved when the miserable dinner was over, we retreated to our hotel room and hoped that a good night's sleep would restore our moods and prepare us for the emotional land mines that lay ahead.

I was annoyed when we got back to our hotel — the Sheraton Prudential — because the New York Yankees were staying near us on the 29th floor, partying noisily, wandering up and down the hallway. "They'd be better off getting some sleep," said Hugh when he learned that they'd lost that night's game to the Red Sox.

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"Who cares? I just hope we can sleep with all this racket going on," I said. "Plus, you hate the Yankees, so aren't you happy they lost?"

Fortunately, inside our room it was as quiet as a tomb. We locked and chained the door — an important element in the story — then we undressed quickly and dove under the covers. For some reason, before we drifted off to sleep I noticed that the walls were completely bare. "Strange," I said, "there isn't a single piece of art in this room." Then I glanced overhead and saw that, in fact, there was a large framed picture right above the bed.

That's the last thing I remember until I awoke the following morning and the picture that hours before had hung directly over our heads was now on the floor all the way across the room, propped up against a chair.

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Hugh was still sound asleep. The door remained locked and chained. And the double window was open as wide as it could go, which was just a few inches. There was only one possible explanation.

I poked Hugh. "Look," I said. "It seems we've had a ghost."

It was clear from the locked door and barely cracked window that no one had entered the room during the night. The picture was heavy and I knew for sure I hadn't moved it. And Hugh wasn't the practical joker type. Besides, even if he were, he'd never have gotten the thing past me, because I'm a very light sleeper.

Clearly, we'd had a visitation.

We got out of bed and studied the picture. It depicted an old-fashioned baseball-type game. Hugh guessed it was something called rounders. A large banner flanking the fieldhouse said: "Welcome."

We seemed to be dealing with a merry prankster.

Still, we were stunned. Hugh surmised that our ghost was the Sultan of Swat trying to cheer his Yankee teammates on to beat the Red Sox — only somehow he wound up in the wrong room. "Maybe our room was originally assigned to one of the Yankees and the Bambino didn't get the memo," Hugh said. After all, he'd been dead 34 years. "This could be another case of the curse of the Bambino," Hugh added. The Red Sox hadn't won a single World Series since the Babe was traded to the Yankees in 1920, while the Bronx Bombers had won 27 titles.

The situation was both funny and creepy. Many of my relatives, who were also staying in the hotel, trooped up to our room after breakfast to view the evidence. Interestingly, the family members who resided on the East Coast thought the whole thing was a gag and that we'd moved the picture ourselves. But the California contingent took it on faith that, indeed, we'd been visited by a spirit. Most of that crowd had ghost stories of their own.

Hugh and I debated whether or not to switch rooms. On one hand, it would be fun to see if the ghost returned, and try to commune with him. On the other hand, we were jetlagged and needed a good night's sleep. The other hand won.

So did the Yankees. That night they knocked the Red Sox out of the competition for a spot in the playoffs, reaffirming once more the infamous curse of the Bambino.

Tags: memoirs

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