NEBRASKAland April 2017

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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hen New York Yankee sluggers Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig came to Omaha for an exhibition game in October 1927 following the Yankees' victory in the World Series, the "Bambino" met the "Babe Ruth" of the poultry world. The chicken, officially named "Lady Norfolk" and belonging to A. R. Lander of Norfolk, Nebraska, had just set a world record with 166 days of continuous egg-laying. The hen had been fed on "Amco Egg Mash" produced by Omaha's American Milling Company, which sponsored the egg-laying contest. Company Superintendent George Danforth had the record-setting egg No. 166 carefully wrapped in a jewel case and airmailed to President Calvin Coolidge at the White House to be served for breakfast. After establishing the record, more eggs were forthcoming from Lady Norfolk, whose prowess had earned her the nickname "Babe Ruth." Eggs No. 170 and 171 coincided with the real Babe Ruth's visit to Omaha. Naturally the American Milling Company could not pass up an opportunity to gain even more publicity for the chicken and the feed supposedly responsible for her prolific output. The Omaha Bee-News of October 17, 1927, gave the meeting of the two "Babes" front page coverage. "It was a sight for sore eyes when Babe Ruth, king of the bat, and Babe Ruth, queen of nonstop egg-laying hens of the entire world, shook hands, exchanged compliments, and smiled at each other in the backyard of the American Milling Company at 11 a.m. Sunday ... When the Babe arrived at the roosts, a crowd of several hundred persons gathered around the milling company grounds to see the world champs. "The first item of this formal affair, at which Ruth and Gehrig were bedecked in their ball togs, was the introduction of the latest egg to both players by E. L. Altrock and Frank Robinson, managers of the company. But this was all routine to the Babe – he wanted to meet the little hen herself. 'The chick! The chick!' Babe exclaimed when he spotted Superintendent George Danforth with the 'Babe' in his arms. At this point the crowd was tense. "'May I introduce Babe Ruth (the hen), champion of the world as far as eggs are concerned,' said Mr. Robinson to 'Mr. Babe Ruth, famous home run king.' 'Howdy chick,' said the Babe with one of his largest and most inviting smiles. 'Cut, cut, cut, cut' clucked 'Babe Ruth,' flapping her wings wildly. The hen was excited and the crowd was cheering. 'I'll bet this chicken won't lay any more eggs after this, and I sure want her to,' said the Babe, with the smile now changed to a worried expression. But Mr. Robinson assured the Babe that it was all right for she had already established a record for the world and that was enough." After the exhibition baseball game held that afternoon, egg No. 170 was presented to Babe Ruth in front of a crowd of 4,500 fans. It was in a jewel box inscribed, "From the Queen of Eggs to the King of Hitters." The article noted that the egg would be sent to New York and there drained and preserved so Ruth "can keep a souvenir of his namesake." ■ Visit the Nebraska State Historical Society's website at A Brief History The "Babe" of Baseball Meets the "Babe" of Hens C r t G i a a h s h w s s h c t n a e N 4 " H b p n NSHS RG3882-52-59 12 NEBRASKAland • APRIL 2017 Lou Gehrig and "Babe" Ruth flank an unidentified man in this photo by Omaha photographer Nathaniel Dewell, which may have been taken during the Ruth-Gehrig visit in October 1927. An unidentified man holding Lady AMCO of Norfolk, April 10, 1927. By the Nebraska State Historical Society NSHS RG3882-3-927 W An unidentified man holding Lady AMCO of NSHS NSHS NSHS NSHS NSHS RG3 RG3 RG3 RG3 RG3882 882- 882- 882 882 3 92 3-92 3-92 3 92 3 927

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