NORFOLK, Neb. -- Existing records stood no chance in 1927. By the end of September, Babe Ruth had eclipsed his own home run record, hitting his 60th dinger of the season. By that point, it was just the second major record broken, as a hen in Madison County had already laid her claim to history just days earlier.
Ruth had overcome several fits and starts to hit the 60-homer plateau. After a slow start to the season, it appeared unlikely that he would come anywhere close to matching his single-season mark of 59 home runs set six years prior, having hit just four home runs by the end April 29th.
It was that same day, April 29th, that the pursuit of a different record began over 1,300 miles away from Yankee Stadium, and this one would require avoiding any off days.
Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, a hen named Lady AMCO, who was named after the brand of feed she ate, began her quest for the world record of consecutive egg laying.
And while every season after 1921 carried some anticipation that Babe Ruth might smack 60 homers, a type of expectation Lady AMCO didn't carry with her, the national media grabbed ahold of both stories.
The white leghorn hen owned by A.R. Landers was dubbed the "Babe Ruth of Hens". On September 24th, when Ruth hit his 56th home run of the season, Lady AMCO laid an egg for the 149th straight day, tying the record set by Arkansas hen Lady Lindy earlier in the year.
Just as fans celebrated the human Babe Ruth's home runs in Yankee Stadium, United Press reported that “a shout went up from those watching the little hen" after Lady AMCO laid the record-tying egg. The facility had been fielding calls from news outlets from across the country throughout the day checking in on the hen's progress.
Back in Yankee Stadium, Babe Ruth held up his end of the bargain, hitting two home runs against the Washington Senators on September 29th to tie his record, before breaking the record on the final day of the regular season.
After the Yankees beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series, Ruth swung through Omaha in October as part of a barnstorming tour, finally getting the chance to meet the famed hen people were comparing to him. And fittingly, he brought along his Yankees teammate Lou Gehrig, whose eventual record of 2,130 consecutive games played more closely resembled Lady AMCO's feat of consistency and longevity.
Ruth greeted Lady AMCO with a shake of the foot, while Ruth was gifted with her 167th egg. Ruth was present for her 168th consecutive egg, and Landers even facilitated a conversation between the two.
According to United Press, Landers translated Lady AMCO's clucks to say, "The honor's all mine, big fellow."
For her part, Lady AMCO continued to perform in October like the most clutch baseball players. It wasn't until October 19th that Lady AMCO wrapped up her historic run, bringing her streak to an end after 173 consecutive days of egg-laying.
Like Babe Ruth, Lady AMCO's record eventually fell, with both feats being eclipsed by high-level performers aided by science. Ruth's record fell to Mark McGwire in 1998, an accomplishment that was eventually proven to have been assisted by performance enhancing drugs, while a Missouri hen shattered Lady AMCO's record after a University of Missouri scientist discovered he could alter chickens' internal body clocks by manipulating light-dark cycles.
But Ruth and Lady AMCO will forever be linked by that one historic year of shared headlines and accomplishments. And they've got the picture to prove it.