Babe Ruth and Gary Cooper Get A Visit From Former Yankee Bob Meusel & His Daughter
When Babe Ruth played himself in the classic film The Pride of The Yankees (1942) he had not played for seven years. Since his retirement, Ruth’s weight had ballooned to 270 pounds. The Babe wanted to look good for the film, not that he would ever look as svelte as Gary Cooper, starring as Babe’s teammate Lou Gehrig, but at least he tried.
Before filming began Babe went on a diet and shed over 47 pounds to look more like he did in his playing days.
Some former Yankee teammates appeared for short cameos including Bill Dickey, Mark Koenig and Bob Meusel. Dickey was still an active player and Koenig and Meusel had kept themselves in relatively good shape.
The caption for this photo reads:
Meusel’s Moppet – Between scenes of Samuel Goldwyn’s “The Pride of the Yankees” Babe Ruth and Gary Cooper smile for Bob Meusel’s little daughter, Sally, who came in to watch the great Meusel who has been out of baseball ten years and whom she never actually before saw on the diamond, play himself in the film based on the life of Lou Gehrig. The Bambino also enacts himself and Cooper stars as the great first baseman. Sam Wood directs and Teresa Wright is featured as Mrs. Gehrig. April 22, 1942 – photo Hal McAlpin
Meusel appeared in a couple of brief scenes in the movie but did not have any spoken lines.
Meusel (1896-1977) played 11 years, 10 of them with the Yankees and compiled a career .309 batting average. You would not think it possible playing along side sluggers like Ruth, Gehrig, Earl Combs, Tony Lazerri and Bill Dickey, but one year Meusel led the American League in home runs and RBIs.
In 1925 Meusel batted .290 and slammed 33 home runs and drove in 133 runs. Meusel finished 18th in the voting for most valuable player, which was won by the pennant winning Washington Senators shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh.