Why Major League Baseball Tried to Rein in Babe Ruth

The Sultan of Swat Saved a Discredited Game, But the Sport's Establishment Sought to Tame Its Headstrong Superstar

Babe Ruth was baseball’s greatest hero. So why did the national pastime’s establishment turn against him?

The answer lies in the untold story of Ruth’s challenge to the authorities ruling baseball—a story that defies deeply held American myths about upward mobility and classless democracy.

Today, Ruth is most remembered as the benchmark for excellence. To be known as “the Babe Ruth of…” is to say that you are the dominant figure in some enterprise.

It also connotes popularity. As a baseball player, Ruth personified dominance and celebrity. Leading the New York …

The One-Size-Fits-All Sock That’s a Democratic Fashion Statement

Originally Marketed as Sportswear, the Tube Sock Became a Stylish Accessory Thanks to Farrah Fawcett and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

If you’re an American down to your toes, those toes have probably been clad in tube socks at one time or another.

These once-ubiquitous, one-size-fits-all socks are a product of …

Why Samoans Are So Overrepresented in the NFL

It All Started in Hawaiʻi on Oahu's North Shore, Where Plantation Managers and Mormon Elders Nurtured Generations of Football Stars

Long before Oahu’s North Shore became a global hot spot for football, it was a pu`uhonua, a refuge under the protection of priests. Fugitives and villagers escaping the carnage of …

How the NFL and American Politicians Politicized (and Helped Merchandise) Pro Football

In the '60s and '70s, Gridiron Fans Like Richard Nixon and Bobby Kennedy Embraced the Sport That Wanted Their Attention

In January 1942, as the United States committed itself fully to World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt decided that baseball, then the national pastime, should sustain civilian morale during the …

How UCLA Helped Break the Color Barrier in College Athletics

Jackie Robinson and Tom Bradley Were Among Sports Stars Who Proved That Integration Made Schools More Competitive

The arrival of five athletes, all African American, on the UCLA campus in the late 1930s would prove to be a moment of destiny, not just for college sports but …