During Game 3 of an ancient and otherwise unremarkable World Series, Babe Ruth either pointed to the flagpole beyond the center field wall at Wrigley Field or at the bench jockeys in the Chicago dugout who were giving him a hard time. Then he hit the next pitch from the Cubs’ Charlie Root directly at that flagpole.
The history books, at least most of them, will have you believe the “The Bambino” called the shot.
As he rounded second base, the Yankee legend gestured with great animation toward the Chicago bench. You could almost see his ample midsection roll and ripple, even in the grainy black-and-white newsreel.
The date was Oct. 1, 1932.
It was exactly 85 years before a madman opened fire on a concert ground in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more at the Route 91 Harvest festival.
One of those killed — the second-youngest — was 20-year-old Quinton Robbins of Henderson. Quinton was best friends with J.D. Ebert, the older brother of a 15-year-old softball slugger named Jordyn Ebert. His favorite number was 3 — Babe Ruth’s number.
On Friday before the first game of the Summer Sendoff girls’ 16-under tournament in St. George, Utah, Jordyn Ebert and her teammates drew a No. 3 in the dirt in front of their dugout to honor Quinton Robbins’ memory.
In a few hours, she would drive a ball into the Utah night that landed beyond the chain-link fence in left-center field.
It was her third home run of the tournament.
As she rounded second base, she raised three fingers to the sky and began to weep. Jordyn Ebert held the face mask on her batting helmet and shook her head in disbelief.
It had nothing to do with the distance the ball had traveled or the game situation.
“She’s rounding second base and she’s gonna hit third and she’s holding up a 3,” said Eric Paiva, coach of the Las Vegas Little Rebels. “She was crying.”
As he told the story, Paiva got emotional, too.
The next batter asked him why Jordyn was crying. He said he was unsure. Maybe she was just excited she had hit another home run.
“What she told her mom on the way to the tournament was that she was going to hit three home runs for Quinton this weekend,” Paiva said. “I wasn’t aware of the dedication until after the game.”
Sound too dramatic to be true? Listen to the video. As Jordyn Ebert crosses home plate, she locates her mother Pam, sitting in the stands. “I told you … three,” you can hear through sobs.
“She shared it with me on the way up there,” her mother said. “It was a personal thing. It wasn’t really something she planned on. It was her personal goal to try to do something positive (by which to remember Quinton).
“For her to come up with a goal like that and actually achieve it …”
Pam McCullough didn’t finish the sentence.
She didn’t have to.
“It was a such a tough time when Quinton passed away,” Jordyn Ebert’s mother said. “We think about him all the time. He was so special and his family was so loved. We’re going to feel his loss for a long time.”
Those three balls that went flying over the fence in Utah won’t bring Quinton back, but Jordyn Ebert said they sure felt good with him so front and center on her and teammates’ minds.
“I actually hit five (home runs) over the weekend,” she said sheepishly. “But the third one was definitely the best one.”
The softball made a loud noise when it jumped off her bat. So did the spectators sitting in the bleachers. Then the floodgates opened.
“I didn’t think I was going to start crying,” said the high school sophomore who attends Henderson’s Basic Academy. “Obviously, (Quinton’s death) has always been emotional. But I thought I would get to the point where I just couldn’t cry anymore.
“But as I hit my third home run I was rounding second and pointing to the sky and I was just like saying, ‘This is for you.’ And then when I was running home I saw my mom and I held up the three (fingers) and I said that was for Quinton. And I started crying. I just couldn’t hold it back.”
Like Babe Ruth, Jordyn Ebert had called her shot.
Some home runs come from deep within the belly.
Others come straight from the heart.