The Search for Babe Ruth’s Piano — 1918: Babe Ruth and the WoirldChampion Boston Red Sox by Allan Wood

The Search for Babe Ruth’s Piano

Restoration Project 

February 9, 2003

Nature Takes Its Curse
If Ruth’s piano is salvaged from New England pond, will Red Sox win again?
David Wharton, Los Angeles Times

SUDBURY, Mass — The divers who ventured into Willis Pond found themselves in water thick with algae, red as well-steeped tea. Even on a sunny afternoon, dim light beneath the surface toyed with perceptions of depth and distance. When the searchers reached bottom, a dozen feet down, they hit a blanket of silt that forced them to dig blindly with their hands. … They were looking for a ghost. The ghost of Babe Ruth.

November 15, 2002

Pond Searched for Babe Ruth’s Piano
Associated Press

The search is on for Babe Ruth’s piano, thought to be at the bottom of a pond … John Fish of American Underwater Search and Survey combed the surface of Willis Pond on Friday with an advanced magnetometer, which can detect metal and pinpoint its location. He got “seven or eight” hits on objects that could be the piano the Babe is said to have pitched into the pond, said Eloise Newell of the Restoration Project in Sudbury, which is sponsoring the search. Fish will analyze the data, along with topographical information about the pond bottom, and determine which objects are most likely the piano. …

Fish, who is looking for the Babe’s piano for free, has taken on projects with far more importance, including the search for pieces of TWA Flight 800 after the plane crashed off New York in 1996. He also assisted in the search at Ground Zero for the black boxes of American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175.

November 13, 2002

Searcher may hold the key to finding the Babe’s piano
Stacey Hart, MetroWest Daily News

The end is near in the search for Babe Ruth’s piano in Willis Pond. The legend will soon be proved or disproved by expert John Fish. Using sonar equipment and a magnetometer, which detects variations in the earth’s magnetic field caused by masses of metal, Fish is scheduled to scour the pond tomorrow for the famous piano. This will be the third search of the one-mile-wide Willis Pond since February. …

Baseball slugger Ruth vacationed at a cabin on Willis Pond during the winter of 1918. According to legend, while drunk at one of his many parties, Ruth threw a piano into the pond as a display of his Herculean strength. Another version of the story says Ruth was hosting a singalong for children and the cabin became too crowded with children who came from miles away to see him. Ruth and the children then pushed the piano down the hill and onto the winter-frozen pond, and the singalong continued. After the singalong, he left the piano there, where it eventually sank to the bottom of the pond.

October 1, 2002

Cape Cod expert to try to help find Babe Ruth piano
Kay Lazar, Boston Herald

A Cape Cod expert who is nationally known for unearthing submerged parts from airline crashes has agreed to help locate Babe Ruth’s piano, which many believe was lodged deep under the muck of Willis Pond in Sudbury in 1918 – the last year the Red Sox won the World Series. … Using a boat with sophisticated sonar equipment, [John] Fish will slowly troll the one-mile-wide pond and be able to create a detailed picture of the bottom that can instantly be beamed to monitors on the boat.

April 14, 2002

Dive team strikes out: Babe Ruth’s piano as elusive as Loch Ness monster in Willis Pond
Matthew Fisher, MetroWest Daily News

The “Curse of the Bambino” remained intact yesterday after divers again failed to find a piano baseball legend Babe Ruth may have pitched into a the murky waters of a Sudbury pond 84 years ago. Armed with high-tech sonar equipment, the South Shore Neptune Dive Club searched Willis Pond for six hours near the dock where Ruth supposedly hurled the piano during a party in the winter of 1918.

April 3, 2002

The Babe’s biggest pitch? — The myth of the Bambino leads leads to a pond, a diving quest, and a piano that may be underwater
Irene Sege, Boston Globe

On the lazy afternoon of July 4, 2001, when the Red Sox were half a game behind the Yankees, Kevin Kennedy organized a pickup baseball game at Haskell Field. Pitching easy balls to his 8-year-old son’s ”sweet spot” just like his father used to pitch to him, Kennedy thought Babe Ruth would have loved a day like this. Then he remembered a tale, perhaps a tall tale, he had heard as a Boy Scout, that the Babe once pushed a piano into a Sudbury pond. Thus began the search for Babe Ruth’s piano.

March 24, 2002

Babe piano plays for pay
Matthew Fisher, MetroWest Daily News

According to legend, Ruth was vacationing at a cabin on Willis Pond in 1918 and, while drunk, threw the piano into the lake as a display of his Herculean strength. … Ruth was not drunk and did not perform super-human feats of strength. Instead, Ruth pushed the piano, with help, down a hill to a frozen Willis Pond. He then dragged it over the ice to the center of the pond and had a party complete with singing and dancing on the lake while his wife, Helen, played the piano. …[W]hen it was time to move the piano back, it was too heavy to push up the hill. So, the Babe simply left the expensive instrument on the ice, where it eventually sank to the lake’s bottom. … If divers find the Bambino’s lost piano in Willis Pond, it will cost more than $200,000 to restore it, Restoration Project Director Eloise Newell said. … Divers are heading back to Willis Pond on April 13 to search for the piano, this time armed with high-tech equipment. It will be the first search since late February.

March 3, 2002

Piano pushed, not thrown: Sudbury historian gets to the bottom of Babe Ruth legend that prompted pond search
Matthew Fisher, MetroWest Daily News

Many have said no man, not even the larger-than-life slugger Babe Ruth, could lift an upright piano and hurl it into a nearby pond. Sudbury historian Lee Swanson said such critics are right – but the piano might still be in the pond anyway. “He pushed it out the door, on to the porch and then onto the ice,” Swanson said. … Swanson said in his new version of the legend, the Babe was not drunk and did not perform super-human feats of strength. Nevertheless, he was the life of the party.

February 24, 2002

Divers search for Babe Ruth’s piano in Sudbury pond
Matthew Fisher, MetroWest Daily News

Divers struck out yesterday in their first attempt to recover a piano Babe Ruth is said to have pitched into a Sudbury pond 83 years ago. A six-man dive team – volunteers from the Quincy Police Search and Rescue Team – used scuba gear and underwater video cameras, but found no evidence of the piano after searching the freezing-cold Willis Pond for four hours yesterday. The baseball great, then a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox, allegedly threw the piano into the pond during a drunken outburst while staying at a Sudbury cottage in 1918.