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Old 08-15-2008, 05:56 PM
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Default Interesting Article On Ruth's Death

Posted By: David Vargha

Sorry if somebody already posted this . . .

Rare cancer took Ruth, dentist says

By Robert Marchant The Journal News August 4, 2008

Everybody who knows anything about baseball history and the lore of the Yankees knows about the death of Babe Ruth and his bittersweet farewell to the Yankee faithful.

Stooped and frail, the Yankee legend came to the Bronx ballpark in 1948 wearing his pinstripe uniform to hear the cheer of the crowd one more time. He died two months later at age 53, reportedly of throat cancer, brought on in part by a fondness for tobacco and liquor.

But that's all wrong, says an Ossining dentist who spent a year researching the circumstances of Ruth's death.

Dr. William Maloney uncovered little-known information about the experimental treatment that the doomed baseball titan agreed to take part in, the way Ruth conducted himself during his final days and the rare form of cancer he actually died from, nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

"In all his biographies, they completely skip over his illness, and they got it all wrong," said Maloney, 41, a Scarsdale resident. "They all said he had throat cancer -an easy conclusion, because he was well-known for drinking, smoking and using tobacco. In fact, he died of a very rare cancer. And what I found out was that this larger-than-life celebrity was a pioneer in early cancer research."

Maloney, a longtime Yankee fan, was familiar with the Ruth legend, and after a trip last year to the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore, he resolved to find out more about Ruth's final days. A love of history and sports - combined with his professional interest in mouth disease as an assistant professor at the NYU College of Dentistry - sent him into the archives for a year.

What he found out surprised even Ruth's descendants, including Babe Ruth's granddaughter Linda Ruth Tosetti of Durham, Conn.

"I was stunned," she wrote in a recent e-mail. "It was the first I was reading, that my grandfather did not have throat cancer. My mother, Dorothy, always thought it was throat cancer, so did the whole country."

She was pleased to learn from Maloney that the kind of cancer her grandfather died from is not likely to be related to tobacco and alcohol. That Ruth willingly took part in an experimental treatment without any promise of success and showed kindness to the medical staff during a difficult illness were positiive notes.

"I want people to know that he was an humanitarian as well as the greatest slugger in baseball history. He gave to the very end!" she said.

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma causes less than 1 percent of the cancer deaths in the U.S., though the cancer is far more prevalent in parts of Southeast Asia and northern Africa. The nasopharynx is a small area inside the head, above the soft palate and leading to the sinus.

Maloney wrote an article, co-authored with an NYU colleague, that came out last month in the Journal of the American Dental Association, a work he may re-format for a general audience. It was a fascinating intersection of American history, Maloney said, where medical ethics and celebrity culture came together. (Maloney's research about Ruth's death is not entirely new. It was the subject of an article by a group of San Francisco doctors who turned up his autopsy results in 1998, which were reported in The New York Times.)

Ruth was the first person to try a new chemotherapy drug developed by oncologist Richard Lewisohn, over the objections of colleagues who said it was too unproven to try on humans.

Ruth essentially agreed to be a "human guinea pig," Maloney said, in an age when medical experimentation was far less regulated.

The use of the new drug, teropetrin, worked well for Ruth for a short time. It also laid the groundwork for a whole range of more successful chemotherapy treatments.

A Yankee historian who has written extensively about Babe Ruth said the new information seemed like a valuable addition to his story.

"It's amazing how people keep finding out things about these old topics," said Jim Reisler, an Irvington resident. People never lose interest in some of those "old topics," either, as evidenced by the sale last month of a cap worn by Babe Ruth for $328,000, a record.

"Ruth was such an irresistible personality, with the accomplishments to back it up, and he endures today in all kinds of ways," Reisler said.

Maloney, whose memorabilia-crammed office resembles a sports bar with a dentist chair stuck inside it, also came away with renewed respect for Ruth.

"I used to see him as a giant on the field; now I see him as a giant off the field," he said.


DavidVargha@hotmail.com

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Old 08-15-2008, 07:11 PM
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Default Interesting Article On Ruth's Death

Posted By: barrysloate

Tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of Ruth's death.

Edited to correct an error.

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Old 08-15-2008, 07:18 PM
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Default Interesting Article On Ruth's Death

Posted By: Richard Dwyer

Have a history teacher explain this----- if they can.


Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.

Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.

Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.
Both wives lost their children while living in the White House.

Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
Both Presidents were shot in the head

Now it gets really weird.

Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy.
Kennedy's Secretary was named Lincoln .

Both were assassinated by Southerners.
Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln , was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln , was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939.

Both assassins were known by their three names.
Both names are composed of fifteen letters.

Now hang on to your seat.

Lincoln was shot at the theater named 'Ford.'
Kennedy was shot in a car called ' Lincoln ' made by 'Ford.'

Lincoln was shot in a theater and his assassin ran and hid in a warehouse.
Kennedy was shot from a warehouse and his assassin ran and hid in a theater

Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.

And here's the kicker...

A week before Lincoln was shot, he was in Monroe , Maryland
A week before Kennedy was shot, he was with Marilyn Monroe.


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Old 08-15-2008, 07:58 PM
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Default Interesting Article On Ruth's Death

Posted By: Joseph

I seem to remember knowing about this, but couldn't recall where I'd read/heard about it.

Then I remembered! The almost god-awful William Bendix "Babe Ruth Story" ends with Ruth being wheeled into
an operating room to undergo some experimental treatment so that future sufferers of the disease might benefit
from the Bambino's heroism. Stupid me! I'd always thought it was Hollywood hogwash.

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Old 08-15-2008, 08:15 PM
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Posted By: cmoking

Too bad Lincoln had a beard and liked big hats while Kennedy didn't.

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Old 08-15-2008, 08:17 PM
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Default Interesting Article On Ruth's Death

Posted By: jdrum

Fascinating. I really wondered where you were heading with that last line.

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Old 08-15-2008, 11:31 PM
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Default Interesting Article On Ruth's Death

Posted By: Jodi Birkholm

Very interesting article. Thanks for sharing it, and keep it up!

What's with two mentions of Ossining, New York in one day?!

And, for Richard:

Lincoln suffered from Marfan's syndrome
Kennedy suffered from an unquenchable libido

Both men were succeeded by a man named Johnson
Kennedy's Johnson got him in trouble

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Old 08-16-2008, 12:25 AM
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Posted By: JP

Why was Kennedy with Marilyn Monroe's year old corpse a week before he died?

Also, Lincoln only had two secretaries, Nicoly and Hay. He did not have a secretary named Kennedy.

Lincoln was also not concerned with civil rights. He didn't want the issue to divide our country, but civil rights themselves wasn't a major concern of his. He is quoted as saying he would "have allowed the institution of slavery to remain intact and die a slow death"

Booth was not a southerner, he was from Maryland, a Union state. And he was born in 1838, not 1839.

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Old 08-16-2008, 08:21 AM
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Default Interesting Article On Ruth's Death

Posted By: howard

Of course Linclon was concerned w/civil rights. However, until the Civil War his overriding concern was to avoid war and preserve the Union. A predominant theme of his speeches from the time he entered politics until the war began was that he was vehemently opposed to slavery and that he was convinced that slavery would die off on it's own. To Lincoln this was preferable to a war in which several hundred thousand people died. Your quote fragment is consistent w/this belief.

Howard



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Old 08-16-2008, 08:39 AM
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Default Interesting Article On Ruth's Death

Posted By: Jodi Birkholm

"Why was Kennedy with Marilyn Monroe's year old corpse a week before he died?"

JP, that's the funniest thing I've read on this board in ages!!! I didn't pick up on that until you mentioned it, likely due to the late hour at which I initially read this thread, coupled with the cursory read-through of said.

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