The Babe or the Baby?


You decide.

After I blogged about my new found candy cravings (Losing it ), a friend laughed about the Curtiss Candy Baby Ruth ad I posted. He went on to ask me if I knew that the Baby Ruth candy bar was named for the baby in the White House named Ruth?

I don’t believe that story for a New York Yankee minute.

Here are the facts about the Baby Ruth candy bar. You decide how you believe.

Curtiss Candy Company always claimed they named their candy bar after President Grover Cleveland’s first born daughter, Ruth. That was their story and they stuck with it as long as they owned the candy company, 70 plus years.

Curtiss Candy was right down the street from Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs. In 1921 the world of baseball was abuzz. In the second year of his contract with the Yankees, Babe Ruth hit 59 home runs with a .378 average. No one could imagine anyone doing what he did at the bat.

Also in 1921, Curtiss Candy Company decided their candy bar, called Kandy Kake, was losing money.

Kandy Kake
They changed the name to Baby Ruth. Threats of lawsuits and name infringements were reigning down on them. They said…no, no, you guys have it all wrong. We are naming this in honor of President Cleveland’s daughter, Ruth. Baby Ruth.   Ahhhhh, how sweet it is.

Could this be true?  Well, President Cleveland certainly had a daughter, Ruth. She was born in 1892 and died in 1904.

So, Curtiss Candy Company decided to name their candy bar after a baby that had been dead for seventeen years.

I don’t think so…but guess what?  It worked. Babe Ruth and his lawyers couldn’t contest the name and the Curtiss Candy Company sold Baby Ruth bars as fast as they could make them. The profits allowed them to follow up with another top seller, Butterfinger.

Curtiss sold their company to Standard Brands in 1964. Standard merged with Nabisco in ’81 and then Nabisco sold the Curtiss brands to Nestle in 1990.

One more memory: My dad and I sat in the bleachers at Wrigley Field many times and I remember staring out to center field and seeing the Baby Ruth sign. I always thought it was Babe Ruth’s candy bar.
Curtiss Baby Ruth signIt was, he just didn’t make any money from it.

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About bakoheat

Writer/Musician
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2 Responses to The Babe or the Baby?

  1. fiddlrts says:

    Baby Ruth was always my mother’s favorite. Might be because her middle name is Ruth.

    This is also a classic example of how to almost, but not quite, infringe on a copyright…

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