Inside his office, a.k.a. Pinstripe Alley, Buck displays a poster from a celebration of Babe Ruth’s birthday held February 6, 2009, at the old Mickey Mantle’s restaurant off Central Park in New York City. It was signed by Ruth’s granddaughter, Linda Ruth Tosetti.
Pelicans outfielder Josh Richmond, who was featured in South Carolina Living’s July cover story about the team, accepts a copy of the magazine from Buck, an Horry Electric member. Richmond, who wears No. 3, plans to sign Buck’s petition for MLB to retire Babe Ruth’s number—which would mean he, and every other player, would have to give up the number for good.
has met many of his heroes, from Pete Rose to Andy Pettitte. There’s one player Buck, a native New Yorker, never got to meet but whom he reveres above all others: George Herman “Babe” Ruth.
A New York Yankees fanatic, he and his wife, Dottie, stamp their mail as “The Bucks #1 Yankees Fans.” He has a corner room/office in his Murrells Inlet home designated as Pinstripe Alley. It’s decorated with photos and signatures of his idols. A retired New York law enforcement officer, as is his wife, during his career Buck was able to work security for pro players during publicity events in and around New York and was able to rub shoulders with many current and former major leaguers, including Pettitte.
Buck’s primary passion, however, is Babe Ruth; particularly, seeing his No. 3 retired from professional baseball. (It already has been retired by the Yankees.)
Widely regarded as the best player of all time due to his unprecedented success as both a hitter and a pitcher, Ruth’s contributions to the game, Buck says, also include his advocacy for opening the game to minorities and his role in keeping the sport going during the destructive Chicago “Black Sox Scandal” of 1919. His accomplishments are more than worthy for baseball’s ultimate honor, that only one other player—Jackie Robinson, No. 42—has been awarded, Buck believes.
“I think there’s no question that number should be retired so everyone will know and appreciate Babe Ruth’s accomplishments, know what I mean,” says Buck in his rapid-fire staccato New York accent, peppering the statement with that last phrase, as he often does.
6,000 and counting
An Horry Electric Cooperative member for several years now, he’s made a lot of friends down South—many of them fellow retired law enforcement officers who band together in the Coastal Carolina Shields, a fraternal and social organization. A superfan of sorts, Buck’s well known at the Myrtle Beach Speedway and at Pelicans Ballpark. He stays on the go, moving almost as fast as he talks. To date Buck has collected approximately 6,000 signatures in person from fans and another 200 or so from current and former professional athletes, including Pete Rose and Duke Snyder as well as many Pelicans players.
Buck holds weekender tickets to the Pelicans’ home games during the season, and for him, it’s a way to be around the sport he’s loved since he was a child and share his passion for baseball and, naturally, Ruth.
Larger than life
“I tell these guys about what Ruth did, and it’s just amazing when you look at it,” Buck says. “People argue that Hank Aaron was a better player because he took the home run record from Ruth, but when you break things down like I have done, you see the differences. Ruth had 3,965 fewer at-bats than Aaron. He played in 795 fewer games. Ruth hit .342 to Aaron’s .305. It goes on and on.“But what made him great was he was a larger-than-life hero who loved everybody, not like the money-hungry players of today. People like Babe Ruth made baseball, and I think he’s deserving to have his memory honored in that way and recognized for all he did for people from all walks of life.”
To sign Buck’s petition, visit TheTrueBabeRuth.com.