Prune prices vied with Babe Ruth for headlines

Whenever a Los Gatan returned from a trip to New York City, which was rare in the 1920s and ’30s, the first thing that friends and the press asked was: “Did you see Babe Ruth play baseball and what were prunes selling for back there?”

Remember, this was long before air travel, and transcontinental trips by train were rare. This was also before computers and the world of electronics, and the orchards of Santa Clara Valley, The Valley of Hearts’ Delight, were the economic mainstay of the world’s greatest fruit basket.

The economy was such that if the fall crop had to be harvested late, local school openings were delayed so that students could help in the picking. During the summer, most youngsters earned money picking fruit; the orchards were that close to town borders.

Notice that in today’s breakfast menu from the old Hotel Lyndon, prunes with cream were 25 cents. If New York hotels were charging 75 cents for breakfast prunes, that was big news.

For The Bambino to take a Los Gatos headline from the price of prunes, he would have had to hit a home run for our local traveler.

This column is from the Los Gatos Weekly-Times archives. © Metro Publishing, Inc.

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