Babe Ruth may be best remembered for his batting average, but he also scored high points for his scrupulous fashion sense. ”He was a very dapper dresser,” says April Ferry, costume designer for The Babe. ”He was trained as a tailor, so he knew how good clothes ought to look.” John Goodman’s distinguished wardrobe in the movie — notable for his colorful waistcoats and glamorous ’30s-style suits — was designed entirely from scratch.
Ferry also paid particular attention to the film’s 15 baseball club uniforms, which were meticulously copied from old team pictures. To ensure authenticity, Sportsrobe, an L.A.-based costume house that specializes in athletic uniforms, ordered a special fabric. ”In those days uniforms were made of wool,” says Ferry, ”so there was a dilemma about whether we should make them authentic and make John sweat.” (The costumers settled on a light wool.)
Goodman’s baseball breeches also observe the voluminous cut of uniforms from the ’20s and ’30s. ”Uniforms now are quite different,” says Ferry. ”The guys wear them so tight they’re like workout clothes.” Despite this added material, Goodman’s fluctuating weight — he lost 60 pounds for the role but had trouble maintaining his new size — created a continuing challenge. The real pinch hitter on the project was tailor Tommy Velasco. Says Ferry, ”He certainly had to make some adjustments.”