The mission of LowellIrish is to collect and preserve the history and cultural materials, which document the presence of the Irish community in Lowell. As the first immigrant group in a city that continues to celebrate its immigrant past, LowellIrish will serve as an advocate to support a better understanding of the historical, political, religious, and social function the Irish played in the formation of the city.
Lowell historian, Eileen Loucraft, has been part of many of our searches, especially dealing with Civil War veterans. She has her own blog at Lowell Doughboys (http://loucraft.blogspot.com/). Many thanks to Eileen for sharing this story.
There must be a lot more of you out there with your Boys School Stories. Let's hear from you.
Lowell Sun, Jan 31, 1924
Babe Ruth came to
Lowell for the St. Patrick’s School 16th Annual Alumni Banquet on
January 30th 1924. Why did he come? Because Brother Herman and
Brother Gilbert asked him to!
Brother Herman and
Brother Gilbert were also teachers at the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boy’s
in Baltimore, MD. Babe Ruth turned out to be their most famous student. A
product of an Xaverian education just like the boys of St. Patrick’s.
From the Lowell Sun,
“Big Reception to
accompaniment of vociferous
applause, "Babe" Ruth was next introduced. From all appearances, this home run
artist is a champion social hub as well a diamond celebrity. In characteristic
vein, he said he had been present at 17 functions during the past week and was
pretty well tired out.
He spoke of his
associations with Bros. Clarence, Herman, Peter and Aquinas at St. Mary's
Industrial school in Baltimore, which he attended 22 years ago and where he
leaned the fundamentals of the national pastime of Bro. Herman, now stationed at
St. Patrick's here. "I regret to say," said the Babe, "that I have succeeded in
becoming a better player than Bro. Herman." I remember distinctly when Bro.
Herman and I banged balls round the lot at St. Mary's. By the way, I never
understood why they called that an industrial school, but anyway, 16 or 17 years
ago, we played together. He showed me a lot of stuff, not only in baseball, but
in football, too. O, yes, we used to play the rugby game. On a rocky field,
too. I recall being knocked “cold” in a scrimmage once.”
Ruth then recounted
several experiences at St. Mary’s. He went there 22 years ago next month, he
said. Though it was hard at first, but he learned its value in later years. “I
had my own ideas when I was a kid,” he added. “I never smoked a cigarette until
I was 19 years old. I went direct from school to baseball, joining the
Baltimore club with Ben Egan and Ernie Shore. Our first jump was to North
Carolina and I was at a loss to know how we would sleep on the train. I had
never heard of a sleeping car.”
The Babe in
concluding, gave some good advice, asking the men to encourage baseball among
the younger talent and to give them an example of clean living. He was accorded
a wonderful demonstration as he left the hall to keep another engagement with
the Knights of Columbus. Outside the building his progress to his waiting
automobile was barricaded with groups of kids anxious to get just one look at
the man they had read so much about. As his machine sped away, youthful throats
shouted an envious "Good-bye, Babe," and he was gone.”
Brother Herman also
claimed that the Babe took his name for his confirmation name. Brother Herman
taught 7th grade at St. Patrick’s. He died in 1956.
discovered Ruth at St. Mary’s School. He is credited with getting him signed
with the Orioles. He was also a teacher at Keith Academy in Lowell. He died in
1947 and his funeral was at St. Peter’s on Gorham Street. His memoirs were
published in 1999 and are available on amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Young-Babe-Ruth-Baseball-Industrial/dp/0786406526