Tampa Bay Sports Day

Looking Like The Babe: Ruth Doppelgängers Hit New York

He may not drink prodigious amounts of beer and eat dozens of hot dogs at a sitting (apparently he prefers whiskey and a nice steak), but when it comes to channeling the image of baseball’s all-time greatest player, Willis Gardner has it down.

The Oberlin, Ohio, resident (far left in photo above) defended his title on Monday night at the Babe Ruth Look-Alike Contest at Gallagher’s Steak House, in celebration of the restaurant’s 85th anniversary (which happens to be the Babe’s most famous season, 1927, when he hit a then-record 60 homers).  He first earned the crown as top Colossus of Clout in a similar contest in 2007.

Gardner was joined on Monday by three locals who also greatly resembled the Sultan of Swat, all in full uniform and playing the part to the max:  Michael Sellazzo of Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., Tommy Shine of Bayonne, N.J., and Kevin Tracy of Brooklyn.

A blue ribbon panel led by Harold Lederman, the “unofficial ringside judge” for HBO Sports, Julie Lederman, professional champion boxing judge, Otis Livingston, CBS 2′s weekday sports anchor, and Marc Malusis, WFAN Radio and SNY Television personality ultimately selected Gardner as winner again.  The event also saluted Broadway and area business.