Query: First attestation of "The House That Ruth Built"

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Sat Oct 4 18:00:21 UTC 2008

Would anyone perhaps be able to help Skip McAfee with his request below for the  earliest citation(s) of "The House That Ruth Built"? The request is forwarded below with his permission.

Skip is assistant to Paul Dickson, whose baseball dictionary is the standard reference work on baseball terminology.  Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Gerald Cohen
gcohen at mst.edu


From: Skip McAfee [mailto:xerxes7 at earthlink.net]
Sent: Sat 10/4/2008 7:17 AM
To: Cohen, Gerald Leonard
Subject: The House That Ruth Built


We're trying to chase down the earliest citation to the term "The House That Ruth Built" (aka Yankee Stadium), esp. trying to identify who originally proposed it.

For the baseball dictionary, our earliest cite (from Peter Morris) is Nov. 9, 1926 (Iowa City Press-Citizen).

However, Tom Verducci, in his article on Yankee Stadium for the Sept. 22, 2008 issue of Sports Illustrated, claimed that baseball writer Fred Lieb of the New York Evening Telegram referred to Yankee Stadium in his April 19, 1923 account of the first game at the Stadium as "The House That Ruth Built".

Lieb (in his "Baseball As I Have Known It", 1977, p.147) wrote: " ... Ruth's shrine, Yankee Stadium in New York, a stadium I dubbed in a moment of inspiration in the spring of 1923 The House That Ruth Built."

Lieb (in his "The Baseball Story", 1950, p.234) wrote: " ... Yankee Stadium, the great home of the Yankees in the Bronx, soon to be nicknamed 'The House that Ruth Built'."  In context, "soon" meant sometime during 1923 after the first game was played in the stadium.

We're wondering if you have come across any information to support or refute Lieb.  Also, do you have access to The New York Evening Telegram so as to corroborate Verducci's statement?

The dictionary is on schedule for a March 2009 release date by publisher W.W. Norton.  <snip>

Best wishes,

Skip McAfee
xerxes7 at earthlink.net

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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