Babe Ruth and the Birth of Modern Cancer Treatment

The greatest figure the world of sport has ever known has passed from the field. Game called on account of darkness. Babe Ruth is dead. - sportswriter Grantland Rice



Y/M/D Description Place
1942/12/00 Alfred Gilman at Yale School of Medicine test nitrogen mustard, a chemical weapon related to the Mustard gas used as a weapon in WW I, in a human. Government secrecy rules prevented publication until 1946, after several hundred patients had been treated. New Haven, CT, Connecticut
1946/09/00 Babe Ruth's voice becomes raspy and he experiences headaches and terrible pain behind his left eye.
1946/11/00 Ruth enters the French Hospital where doctors diagnose sinusitis caused by infected teeth. After pulling 3 teeth, Ruth's face swells, closing his left eye. Unable to swallow food, doctors treat him with radiation, causing his hair to fall out in chunks. French Apartments, New York City
1946/12/00 Surgeons operate on Ruth's neck, tieing off the external carotid artery because the cancer had wrapped itself around it. The cancer pressed on nerves, partly paralyzing muscles controlling his voice, causing hoarseness and difficulty swallowing. French Apartments, New York City
1947/02/06 Ruth spends his 52nd birthday in the hospital, secluded and allowed few visitors. "I often felt so alone that the tears would run helplessly down my cheeks," Ruth wrote.
1947/02/15 Babe Ruth is released from French Hospital. Babe and his wife, actress and model Claire Merritt Hodgson, lived at 100 Riverside Drive at 82nd St. He went to Florida to recuperate. Riverside Drive-West 80th-81st Streets Historic District, New York City
1947/06/00 Dr Richard Lewisohn leads researchers at the Mount Sinai Hospital NYC on experimenting on rats with teropterin, an anti-cancer, folic acid antagonist drug extracted from brewers yeast.
1947/06/29 Over the objections of team members, Dr Lewisohn's begins Ruth on daily injections of teropterin for 6 weeks. Ruth knew teropterin had rarely been used on humans, but asking no questions and apparently did not sign formal consent, as is required today.
1947/08/00 Dr Lewisohn's teammates leave Mount Sinai because the hospital refused to support further research on teropterin.
1947/09/00 In September, Dr Lewisohn reports Ruth's case study, without using his name, at a scientific meeting in St Louis. Word leaks that Ruth had received the innovative therapy. French Apartments, New York City
1947/09/11 Citing success on an unidentified famous figure, The Wall Street Journal reports that scientists were about to cure cancer.
1948/06/05 A gaunt and hollowed out Ruth visits Yale University to donate a manuscript of 'The Babe Ruth Story' to the school's library.
1948/06/13 At Yankee Stadium, Ruth watches 16 from the 1923 team play a 2 inning game and speaks to the sold-out crowd, "Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen, You know how bad my voice sounds. Well, it feels just as bad."
1948/06/13 As the stadium filled with "Auld Lang Syne", Nat Fein of the New York Herald Tribune, gets a feeling, walks behind Ruth and takes a picture of the Great Bambino at home plate leaning on a bat facing "Ruthville" (right field).
1948/06/25 Ruth is admitted to Memorial Hospital (now Memorial-Sloan Kettering Hospital) in New York City. Mr Ruth ask his doctor: "Doc, this is Memorial. Memorial is a cancer hospital. Why are you bringing me here?"
1948/07/26 Babe Ruth leaves Memorial Hospital to attend the premiere of the film The Babe Ruth Story, starring Williams Bendix as Ruth. He leaves before the film is over and returns to Memorial Hospital.
1948/07/29 Babe's Picture is taken at Memorial Hospital, is believed to be the last picture of the baseball idol. With him is Steve Broidy of Allied Artists movie studio, who is presenting Ruth with a check for the Ruth Foundation for underprivileged children.
1948/08/16 George Herman Ruth dies of pneumonia at Memorial Hospital (now Memorial-Sloan Kettering Hospital) 1275 York Ave, between 67th and 68th Streets, in Manhattan. Upper East Side,
1948/08/16 An autopsy of George Herman Ruth reveals a rare cancer, naso-pharyngeal, that arose in the air passages in the back of his nose and mouth. the cancer that began in his nose and mouth had spread widely through his body.
1948/08/18 On August 17, an estimated 50,000 fans pass Babe Ruth lying in state in the rotunda at Yankee Stadium, an estimated that 55,000 viewed the open coffin on the 18th.
1948/08/19 Cardinal Francis Spellman leads 6,000 mourners in a special prayer at the end of the solemn 1 hour requiem mass and funeral for the George H Ruth at St Patrick's Cathedral. 75,000 people waited outside the Cathedral in the pouring rain. St Patrick's Cathedral, New York City
1948/08/19 Over 100,000 people lined the route in silence from Manhattan to Westchester as the Babe Ruth's cortege drives to Gate of Heaven Cemetery.
1948/08/19 6,000 people attend as Babe Ruth is place into a receiving vault at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York. The family will later select a site for burial. Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, Mount Pleasant, NY
1949/00/00 Nat Fein's photo of Babe Ruth standing near home plate wins the first Pulitzer Prize awarded to a sports photographer.
2017/00/00 Symptoms of naso-pharyngeal cancer are nose bleeds, lumps in the neck and hearing loss in one ear. Usually treated with radiation and chemotherapy, 40 percent of patients with advanced naso-pharyngeal cancer survive at least five years.

Shopping on Amazon

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Google Ad

Google Ad