In 1996, Matt Dahlgren made a promise to his late grandfather. When Babe Dahlgren passed away, he left behind a nearly completed manuscript. He wanted more than anything to tell his story. Matt used this manuscript as a compass on his quest to uncover the truth.
And so begins the endearing story between a grandfather and his grandson. From the time Matt was a little boy, he had the privilege of spending priceless days with his grandfather. Through the years, he heard stories not only about Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx or Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams but also the rumored story that haunted and eventually wrecked a man.
In many ways, Rumor in Town is a love story: a love a boy had for his grandpa and, in turn, a love Babe Dahlgren had for baseball in spite of how badly the game treated him.
Rumor in Town is more than just a journey throughout a fascinating career in baseball. It’s a captivating look at Babe Dahlgren’s life, from tragedy and poor beginnings in San Francisco where, by the age of 6, he set his sights on a dream. It is a look at his days in the Pacific Coast League striving to get to the other side of the country to that dream —the Big Leagues.
There are stories from the many dugouts, clubhouses, and trains that blazed across America—stories about Hall of Fame players and managers; and the historic day he replaced his boyhood idol, Lou Gehrig. But it’s more than that. It is about the failures of Kenesaw Mountain Landis and Albert “Happy” Chandler to punish the likes of Joe McCarthy and Branch Rickey for spreading a rumor throughout baseball while Babe played under a cloud of suspicion.
Rumor in Town uncovers moments where a bond was fostered between a boy and his grandpa. Etched in Matt’s memory are true stories from the greatest era the game has ever seen. So too are the frozen moments in time shared with Babe when he passed these stories down. How Matt watched him speak highly with boyish smiles of the game he held so dear, yet cry over the painful scars it left behind because of a rumor that he ultimately took to his grave. A wrong Matt promised to right.