By Jim Haas

Harriet Rogers, the great-great granddaughter of Simeon Goble and Abigail Conger, lived in New York and died of breast cancer in 1926, age 51. She is also the great grandmother of Jim Haas. A few years after her death, her husband, Joseph T. Carter, on May 19, 1929, decided to take in a ballgame at Yankee Stadium hoping to see Babe Ruth hit number 477 of his eventual 714 homers and watch Lou Gehrig add to his seemingly endless string of consecutively played ballgames. The Yankees were playing the Boston Red Sox’s and Joseph took his seat in that section of the right field bleachers known as "Ruthville" because it was there where Babe Ruth had hit so many of his homeruns. It was a fateful decision.

The May 20, 1929 edition of The New York Times put it this way. ""Ruthville," yesterday afternoon, was filled. The Stadium altogether held about 50,000 persons, the bleachers, more than 9,000 and more than half of the latter sat in the desirable location. They wore straw hats and summer clothes, for at the beginning of the first game of the scheduled New York Yankee-Boston doubleheader the sun was out."

Ruth and Gehrig hit back-to-back homeruns in the third inning. Ruth's ball went to the stop where Joseph sat while Gehrig's ball went to the left. The skies began to darken. Before the start of the fifth inning, the umpires decided to continue playing the game in spite of the threatening weather. After Ruth grounded out to the first baseman making the second out of the inning, Gehrig started from the dugout to the plate. At that moment a tremendous deluge began and the patrons of "Ruthville" ran for the exit.

The headline read, "Two Killed, 62 Hurt in Yankee Stadium as Rain Stampedes Baseball Crowd; Victims are Crushed at Bleacher Exit." One of the two dead was Joseph T. Carter, age 59. The other was a 17-year-old Hunter College student named Eleanor Price. The tragedy was the lead story in every New York newspaper and in many around the country.

Often in the writing of my family history I have lamented that so little is known about each of the individuals I've discovered except for the names of spouses and children, birth, marriage and death dates. Joseph, who at the time of his death was a truck driver and lived in a rooming house on East 128th Street, was described by other roomers as "a quiet man who kept to himself much of the time, who got up early every morning and went to a nearby garage for his truck and returned from work late at night".

Joseph is buried in a grave at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx interred with his brother Benjamin. Joseph’s son, also named Joseph, took care of the arrangements. Family lore has it that during the wake at Dockrell's Funeral Parlor in the Bronx, Babe Ruth offered Joseph Jr. a baseball signed by the members of the 1929 Yankees. He chose not to accept the offering saying that it would be inappropriate. More family lore seems to indicate he regretted that decision.

Permission to reprint or use the material contained is granted providing attribution as taken from the Haas Family History.

James Edward (13) Haas, William Joseph (12) Haas, Mary Francis (11) Carter, Harriet (10) Rogers, Julia E. (9) Graham, John M. (8) Graham, Sarah/Sally Ann (7) Charlot, Sarah/Sally (6) Goble, Simeon (5), Robert (4), Daniel/David (3), Daniel (2), Thomas (1), Willmi (William) Goble.


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