I gave my slideshow program on Red Faber to the Galena (Ill.) Rotary Club on Friday, and afterward received a pleasant surprise.
A member of the audience, Bud Austin, once witnessed Faber pitching to the legendary Babe Ruth!
Mr. Austin, now nearly 95 years old, did not recall much about the baseball confrontation, except that it was in 1927 in Chicago's Comiskey Park. That season, the Yankees, powered by Ruth's steroid-free 60 homers and Lou Gehrig's 175 RBI, went 110-44 to win the American League and sweep Pittsburgh in the World Series.
The occasion pictured shows Ruth congratulating Faber on Red Faber Day, in August 1929. A decade earlier, Ruth described Faber as "the nicest guy in the world."
The Fabe and The Babe entered the majors the same season -- 1914. Though Ruth, then a pitcher, returned to minors briefly, Faber remained in the majors until his retirement after the 1933 season.
Though in those days Mr. Austin was one of only hundreds of thousands to have seen Ruth and Faber square off over 20 seasons, he is a rare man today.
Photo: Chicago Daily News Collection