If you know that in the 1920s, ownership of a purebred dog was akin to a status symbol, you’ll better understand why Babe Ruth got a Bull Terrier bitch in 1923 to show off his having “arrived.” Mark Derr, in his book, A Dog’s History in America, explains the rest by sharing that The Babe entered his dog, “Cloudland Dot,” in the Eastern Dog Club Show when she was 9 months old. She took second place, and newspapers compared her win to the Babe’s winning ways.
It’s an old story. A Superstar overdoes his or her success in the off season, which back in Ruth’s day, translated into overdoing booze and food. During the 1925 spring training, Babe Ruth was brought to his knees by an intestinal abscess, and the surgery it required hurt both Ruth and the New York Yankees that year. It’s also an old story is that newspapers will print the most sensational headline they can reasonably muster, and that year, it was that Babe Ruth was washed up.
To add insult to injury, “Dot,” had wandered off Ruth’s Sudbury, Massachusetts farm and attacked a neighbor’s cow, killing it. Even then, people liked to sue each other, and this neighbor threatened no less. Shellshocked by one bad thing happening after another, Babe Ruth told an AP reporter that bad luck came in bunches, like bananas, and that his bad run couldn’t last forever.
Out of the mouths of “babes.” Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig led the Yankees to three pennants and two World Series wins in the next three years. As it happens, Jacob Ruppert, the owners of the Yankees at the time, was an avid St. Bernard breeder.
While there may be some confusion about “Dot’s” breed, a Bull Terrier connection does extend to the Babe in that the first hitter he ever faced as a pitcher in the major leagues for the Boston Red Sox, Jack Graney, was a Bull Terrier man. He was also one of the first major leaguers to take the field with a number on his uniform, as well as the first former player to become a baseball radio broadcaster. During his playing career, Graney’s Bull Terrier, “Larry,” became the Cleveland Nap’s mascot.
Photo found on Pinterest of an older Babe Ruth with what we believe is a Boxer; happily credited upon receipt of information
2 thoughts on “The Great Bambino and “Dot””
Babe Ruth purchased his Bull Terrier from my grandfather, William Emmons. I recall seeing a photograph of them with the dog at our farm, Cloudland Farm in Pomfret, Vermont. Babe was most likely introduced to my grandfather by his brother, Robert Wales Emmons, who owned a baseball team near Boston which was moved to The Lawrence/ Dracuit, Mass. area.
My grandfather raised and showed the Bull Terriers and I still have his medals and trophies.
Fascinating, William. Any chance you have photos?