Pitcher who Gave Up Ruth’s 500th Homer Dies at 96

(The Daily Texan Online

CLEVELAND – Willis Hudlin, the Cleveland Indians’ pitcher who gave up Babe Ruth’s 500th home run, has died. He was 96.

The Indians said Tuesday that Hudlin died on Aug. 5 in Little Rock, Ark.

He spent 15 of his 16 big-league seasons in Cleveland, and gave up Ruth’s 500th homer on Aug. 11, 1929, at League Park.

According to newspaper accounts, Ruth went to a Cleveland policeman working the game and said, “I’d kinda like to have that one.”

The ball had gone all the way out of the park and landed on Lexington Avenue, where the policeman found a boy who had retrieved it. He brought the youngster into the Yankees clubhouse, where Ruth exchanged an autographed ball and a crisp $20 bill for the memento.

The homer was Ruth’s 30th of the season. Lou Gehrig hit his 27th that day but, in typical Hudlin fashion, the right-hander won the game 6-5, pitching a complete-game nine-hitter.

Hudlin went 157-151 for the Indians from 1926-40. His most memorable game was a one-hitter against the Boston Red Sox on June 23, 1931, in the second game of a doubleheader. Clint Brown allowed only five hits in a 13-0 Indians win in the first game. Hudlin won the nightcap 10-0.

Hudlin had a 158-156 career record and 154 complete games. In 1940, he became one of only eight players since 1900 to play for four teams in one season – the Indians, Washington Senators, St. Louis Browns and New York Giants.

His 475 games pitched ranks third on the Indians’ all-time list between Hall of Famers Bob Feller (570) and Bob Lemon (460). His 2,557 2/3 innings rank fourth.