By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Sometimes you just stumble into memories that last a life time.

For Jerry Slawik, of St. Paul, it all happened in Florida on a family vacation in 1948.

“He walked out of a door, and there was this big guy,” Slawik said. “He said, ‘Hi, kid. How are ya?’ And, of course, I knew it was Babe Ruth.”

That’s right, Babe was his next door neighbor. The two struck up a friendship – one that included fishing with Babe and some of his friends.

“He was very nice, he mixed with the guys,” Slawik said. “It wasn’t a rehearsed deal or anything.”

The two would talk by the beach.

“We’d sit and talk just like, you know, a good relationship,” Slawik said. “He was a good person.”

At the time, the Bambino was just months away from his death.

Slawik said that having known Babe made his passing all the more difficult.

“It was hard,” Slawik said. “He was the real deal, a good friend.”

Before his death, Babe gave Slawik autographed pictures and baseballs. Seventy years later, Slawik still treasures them.


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