Dempsey and Ruth, Kings of Two Big Realms, Contrast

Damon Runyon

Buffalo Courier/February 25, 1923

Damon Runyon Sees Much Similarity, But Jack is Quieter, More Polished.

Hot Springs, Ark, Feb. 24. Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey are the kings of their respective realms of sport. A king is always an interesting study. Two kings are consequently doubly interesting.

King Babe and King Jack have many characteristics, one in particular, that of great restlessness. Neither has the quality of repose. They must be constantly on the go. This is partly due to their energy and partly to the fact that they lack the faculty of physical and mental relaxation through some such channel as rests more highly educated men who get a lot less money than the kings.

Of the two, King Babe can probably sit longer in one seat than King Jack. The other night King Babe played cards continuously for several hours. King Jack could not do that on a bet.

Fighter is the Gentler One

Strange though it may seem, King Jack, the fighter, is the gentler of the two, in talk and in general.

King Jack has a soft voice and a shy manner. King Babe has a deep thundering vocal tone and is almost truculent in his approach.

King Babe is a talker. King Jack is a listener. King Babe will converse at length on his favorite topic, which is baseball. King Jack talks little on any topic and hardly at all on boxing.

King Babe is a couple of years older than King Jack but the latter gives the impression of greater youthfulness, yet at the same time an impression of greater seriousness.

King Jack smiles more than King Babe, but King Jack’s smile strikes one as politely perfunctory, rather than a smile of joyfulness. King Jack seems to have a deeper sense of responsibility toward life than King Babe.

Both kings like a tinge of roughness to their fun. A practical joke that might strike the average person as being rather tumultuous gets a “kick” out of these monarchs of professional sports.

They started out in life with little advantage, so to speak. King Jack has improved his opportunities in the acquirement of polish more than his brother king perhaps, but King Babe when he desires can glow with the shine of politeness and manners.

King Babe is a spendthrift. He tosses his money around freely. King Jack spends his money with a lavish hand in his own living and in providing for his family, but he is no sticker with it. Babe has bet as much as $20,000 on a horse race. King Jack wouldn’t bet you that much money that the sun will rise tomorrow.

King Babe loves to speculate. The element of chance is the breath of life in his nostrils. King Jack rarely gambles, then only for small amounts.

The two kings are alike in that they love the good things of this existence. They favor good food, good hotels, good clothes, they are both fond of social matters to the extent of having plenty of company around them.

They both like children and outdoor life. King Babe has his farm in Massachusetts and dreams of cows and chickens. King Jack has visions of a fine ranch some day out west.

One lesson both these kings have learned, and learned well, and that is the fickleness of their respective publics. King Babe will tell you that he knows quite well the minute he stops hitting home runs, that minute he is a dead cock in the pit. King Jack often remarks that the instant some young chap hits him pump on the chin, the crowds will stop following him.



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