Ruth in 1920, in New York Yankees uniform
|Outfielder / Pitcher|
February 6, 1895|
|Died: August 16, 1948
New York City
|Batted: Left||Threw: Left|
|July 11, 1914 for the Boston Red Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 30, 1935 for the Boston Braves|
|Runs batted in||2,213|
|Earned run average||2.28|
|Career highlights and awards|
George Herman "Babe" Ruth, Jr. (February 6, 1895 – August 16, 1948), nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat", was an American professional baseball outfielder and pitcher who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), from 1914 to 1935. Beginning his career as a stellar left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, Ruth achieved his greatest fame as a slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees. He established many batting (and some pitching) records, including career home runs (714), slugging percentage (.690), runs batted in (RBIs) (2,213), bases on balls (2,062), and on-base plus slugging (OPS) (1.164), some of which have been broken. One of the most prolific hitters in baseball history, Ruth was one of the first five players to be elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.
At age seven, Ruth was sent to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory where he learned life lessons and baseball skills from Brother Matthias Boutlier, the school's disciplinarian and a capable baseball player. In 1914, Ruth was signed to play minor-league baseball for the Baltimore Orioles. Soon traded to the Red Sox, he was initially used infrequently but by 1916 had built a reputation as an outstanding pitcher who sometimes hit long home runs, the latter a feat unusual in the pre-1920 dead-ball era. Although Ruth twice won 20 games as a pitcher and was a member of three World Series championship teams with Boston, he believed his talents were best used as an everyday player, a view he convinced Red Sox management of by 1919 after breaking the MLB single-season home run record.
After the 1919 season, Ruth was controversially sold by Red Sox owner Harry Frazee to the Yankees. In his 15 years with New York, Ruth helped the Yankees win seven pennants and four World Series championships. Moreover, his hitting prowess helped change baseball by ushering in the "live-ball era"; his big swing led to escalating home run totals that not only drew fans to the ballpark and boosted the sport's popularity but also evolved baseball from a low-scoring game of strategy to a sport where the home run was a major factor. As part of the Yankees' vaunted lineup "Murderer's Row", in 1927, Ruth hit 60 home runs, extending the MLB single-season record to a mark that would stand until 1961. He retired in 1935 after a short stint with the Boston Braves. During his career, Ruth led the league in home runs during a season twelve times, slugging percentage and OPS thirteen times each, runs scored eight times, and RBIs six times. Each of those totals represents a modern record.
Ruth's legendary power and charismatic personality made him a larger-than-life figure in the "Roaring Twenties". During his career, he was the target of intense press and public attention for his baseball exploits and off-field penchants for drinking and womanizing. His often reckless lifestyle was tempered by a willingness to do good that often took him to visit children at hospitals and orphanages. Denied a job in baseball for most of his retirement, Ruth made many public appearances, especially in support of American efforts in World War II. In 1946, he became ill with cancer; he died in 1948. Ruth is regarded as one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture, and is considered by many to be the greatest baseball player and hitter of all time.
- 1 Early years
- 2 Major League career
- 3 MLB retirement
- 4 Radio and films
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Contemporary impact
- 7 Legacy
- 8 MLB all-time ranks
- 9 Baseball awards and honors
- 10 Memorial and museum
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes and references
- 13 Bibliography
- 14 External links
George Herman Ruth, Jr., was born at 216 Emory Street in Pigtown, a rough neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. Ruth's parents, George Herman Ruth, Sr., and Katherine (Schamberger) Ruth, were both German-American. George Ruth, Sr., had a series of jobs, including as a lightning rod salesman and on Baltimore's streetcars, before working as a counterman in a combination grocery and saloon on Frederick Street, which was owned by relatives. George Jr. was born in the house of his maternal grandfather, Pius Schamberger, a German immigrant and trade unionist. Only one of Ruth's seven siblings, his sister Mamie, survived infancy.
Many things are unknown about the circumstances of Ruth's childhood; even the date of his parents' marriage is undiscovered. Few other personal details regarding his parents are extant. The family moved to 339 South Goodyear Street, not far from the rail yards, when young George was a toddler; by the time he was six, his father had a saloon with an upstairs apartment at 426 West Camden Street. Details of why he was sent, at the age of seven, to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory and orphanage, are similarly scanty. Babe Ruth, as an adult, suggested that not only was he running the streets and rarely attending school, he was drinking beer when his father was not looking. Stories exist that after a violent incident at the saloon, the city authorities decided the environment was unsuitable for a small child. At St. Mary's, which he entered on June 13, 1902, he was recorded as "incorrigible"; he would spend much of the next twelve years there.
Although St. Mary's inmates were educated, a substantial amount of time was devoted to work, especially once the boys turned 12. Ruth became a shirtmaker while at St. Mary's, and was also proficient as a carpenter. As a baseball player, making a large salary, he would adjust the collars of his shirts himself, rather than having a tailor do it. The boys, aged 5 to 21, did most work around the facility, from cooking to shoemaking; when St. Mary's was renovated in 1912, the work was done by the residents. The food was simple, and the Xaverian brothers who ran the place insisted on strict discipline; corporal punishment was omnipresent. Ruth's nickname among the boys was "Niggerlips", as he had large facial features and was darker than most boys at the all-white reformatory.
Ruth was sometimes allowed to rejoin his family, or was placed at St. James's Home, a supervised residence with work in the community, but he was always returned to St. Mary's. George rarely was visited by his family; his mother died when he was 12 and by some accounts, he was permitted to leave St. Mary's only to attend the funeral. How Ruth came to play baseball there is uncertain; by one account one of the misdeeds that led to his placement at St. Mary's was repeated breaking of Baltimore's windows with long hits while playing street ball; by another, he was told to join a team on his first day by the school's athletic director, Brother Herman, becoming a catcher although left-handers rarely play that position. During his time there he would also play third base and shortstop, again unusual for a left-hander, and forcing him to wear mitts and gloves made for righties. He was encouraged in his pursuits by the school's Prefect of Discipline, Brother Matthias Boutlier, a native of Nova Scotia. A large man, Brother Matthias was greatly respected by the boys both for his strength and for his fairness. For the rest of his life, Ruth would praise Brother Matthias, and his running and hitting styles would closely resemble his teacher's. Ruth stated, "I think I was born as a hitter the first day I ever saw him hit a baseball." The older man became a mentor and role model to George, whose biographer Robert W. Creamer commented on the closeness between the two:
Ruth revered Brother Matthias ... which is remarkable, considering that Matthias was in charge of making boys behave and that Ruth was one of the great natural misbehavers of all time. ... George Ruth caught Brother Matthias' attention early, and the calm, considerable attention the big man gave the young hellraiser from the waterfront struck a spark of response in the boy's soul ... [that may have] blunted a few of the more savage teeth in the gross man whom I have heard at least a half-dozen of his baseball contemporaries describe with admiring awe and wonder as "an animal."
The school's influence remained with Ruth in other ways: a lifelong Catholic, he would sometimes attend Mass after an all-night bender, and he became a well-known member of the Knights of Columbus. He would visit orphanages, schools, and hospitals throughout his life, often avoiding publicity. He was generous to the school as he became famous, donating money and his presence at fundraisers, and spending $5,000 to buy Brother Matthias a Cadillac in 1926—and then replacing it when it was destroyed in an accident. Nevertheless, his biographer Leigh Montville suggests that many of the off-the-field excesses of Ruth's career were driven by the deprivations of his time at St. Mary's.
Most of the boys at St. Mary's played baseball, with organized leagues at different levels of proficiency. Ruth later estimated that he played 200 games a year as he steadily climbed the ladder of success there. Although he played all positions at one time or another (including infield positions generally reserved for right-handers), he came to star as a pitcher. According to Brother Matthias, Ruth was standing to one side laughing at the bumbling pitching efforts of fellow students, and Matthias told him to go in and see if he could do better. He not only became the best pitcher at St. Mary's, but by 1913 at age 18 was allowed to leave the premises to play weekend games on teams drawn from the community. He received several newspaper mentions, for both his pitching prowess and an ability to hit long home runs.
In early 1914, Ruth was signed to a professional baseball contract by Jack Dunn, owner and manager of the minor-league Baltimore Orioles, an International League team. How it was that Dunn signed Ruth cannot be stated with certainty, with historical fact obscured by stories that cannot all be true. By some accounts, Dunn was urged to attend a game between an all-star team from St. Mary's and one from another Xaverian facility, Mount St. Mary's College. Some versions have Ruth running away before the eagerly-awaited game, to return in time to be punished, and to then pitch St. Mary's to victory as Dunn watched. Others have Washington Senators pitcher Joe Engel, a Mount St. Mary's graduate, pitching in an alumni game after watching a preliminary game between the college's freshmen and a team from St. Mary's, including Ruth. Engel watched Ruth play, then told Dunn about him at a chance meeting in Washington. Others involve Brother Gilbert, baseball coach at Mount Saint Mary's, said to have told Dunn about Ruth to appease him after a Gilbert-coached prospect refused to leave school to join the Orioles. Ruth, in his autobiography, stated that he worked out for Dunn for a half-hour, and was signed. Dunn also became his guardian. According to Ruth biographer Kal Wagenheim, there were legal difficulties to be straightened out as Ruth was supposed to remain at the school until he turned 21. Ruth was to receive a salary of $250 per month.
The train journey to spring training in Fayetteville, North Carolina in early March was likely Ruth's first outside the Baltimore area. The rookie ballplayer was the subject of various pranks by the veterans, who also most likely gave him his famous nickname. There are various accounts of how Ruth came to be called Babe, but most center around him being referred to as "Dunnie's babe" or a variant. "Babe" was at that time a common nickname in baseball, with perhaps the most famous to that point being Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher and 1909 World Series hero Babe Adams, who appeared younger than he was.
Babe Ruth's first game as a professional ballplayer was an intersquad game on March 7, 1914. Ruth played shortstop, and pitched the last two innings of a 15–9 victory. In his second at bat, Ruth hit a long home run to right, which was locally said to be longer than a legendary shot hit in Fayetteville by Jim Thorpe. His first appearance against a team in organized baseball was an exhibition against the major-league Philadelphia Phillies; Ruth pitched the middle three innings, giving up two runs in the fourth, but then settling down and pitching a scoreless fifth and sixth. The following afternoon, Ruth was put in during the sixth inning against the Phillies and did not allow a run the rest of the way. The Orioles scored seven runs in the bottom of the eighth to overcome a 6–0 deficit, making Ruth the winning pitcher.
Once the regular season began, Ruth became a star pitcher who was also dangerous at the plate. The team performed well, but received almost no attention from the Baltimore press. A third major league, the Federal League, had begun play, and the local franchise, the Baltimore Terrapins, restored that city to the major leagues for the first time since 1902. Few fans visited Oriole Park, where Ruth and his teammates labored in relative obscurity. Ruth may have been offered a bonus and a larger salary to jump to the Terrapins; when rumors to that effect swept Baltimore, giving Ruth the most publicity he had had to date, a Terrapins official denied it, stating it was their policy not to sign players under contract to Dunn.
The competition from the Terrapins caused Dunn to sustain large losses. Although by late June the Orioles were in first place, having won over two-thirds of their games, the paid attendance dropped as low as 150. Dunn explored a possible move by the Orioles to Richmond, Virginia as well as the sale of a minority interest in the club. These possibilities fell through, leaving Dunn with little choice than to sell his best players to major league teams to raise money. He offered Ruth to the World Series champions, Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics, but Mack had his own financial problems. The Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants expressed interest in Ruth, but Dunn sold his contract, along with those of pitchers Ernie Shore and Ben Egan, to the Boston Red Sox on July 4. The sale price was announced as $25,000 but various later stories lower the amount to half that, or possibly $8,500 plus the cancellation of a $3,000 loan. Ruth remained with the Orioles for several days while the Red Sox completed a road trip, and reported to the team in Boston on July 11.
Major League career
Boston Red Sox (1914–1919)
Ruth arrived in Boston on July 11, 1914, along with Egan and Shore. Ruth later told of meeting the woman he would first marry, Helen Woodford, that morning—she was then a 16-year-old waitress at Landers Coffee Shop, and Ruth related that she served him when he had breakfast there. Other stories, though, suggest the meeting happened on another day, and perhaps under other circumstances. Regardless of when he began to win his first wife, he won his first game for the Red Sox that afternoon, 4–3, over the Cleveland Naps (as the Indians were still nicknamed). He pitched to catcher Bill Carrigan, who was also the Red Sox manager. Shore was given a start by Carrigan the next day, and won that and his second start and thereafter was pitched regularly. Ruth lost his second start, and was thereafter little-used. As a batter, in his major-league debut, Ruth went 0-for-2 against left-hander Willie Mitchell, striking out in his first at-bat, before being removed for a pinch hitter in the seventh inning. Ruth was not much noticed by the fans, as Bostonians watched the Red Sox's crosstown rivals, the Braves, begin a legendary comeback that would take them from last place on the Fourth of July to the 1914 World Series championship.
Egan was traded to Cleveland after two weeks on the Boston roster. During his time as a Red Sox, he kept an eye on the inexperienced Ruth, much as Dunn had in Baltimore. When he was traded, no one took his place as supervisor. Ruth's new teammates considered him brash, and would have preferred him, as a rookie, to remain quiet and inconspicuous. When Ruth insisted on taking batting practice despite his being both a rookie who did not play regularly, and a pitcher, he arrived to find his bats sawn in half. His teammates nicknamed him "the Big Baboon", a name the swarthy Ruth, who had disliked the nickname "Niggerlips" at St. Mary's, detested. Ruth had received a raise on promotion to the major leagues, and quickly acquired tastes for food, liquor, and women, among other temptations.
Manager Carrigan allowed Ruth to pitch two exhibition games in mid-August; Ruth won both against minor-league competition, but was not used otherwise. Although Shore was initially the more effective pitcher, it is uncertain why Carrigan used Ruth so little. There are legends—filmed for the screen in The Babe Ruth Story—that the young pitcher had a habit of signaling his intent to throw a curve ball by sticking out his tongue slightly, and that he was easy to hit until this changed. Creamer pointed out that it is common for young pitchers to display such habits, and the need to break Ruth of his would not constitute a reason to not use him at all. The biographer suggested that Carrigan was unwilling to use Ruth due to poor behavior by the rookie.
On July 30, 1914, Boston owner Joseph Lannin had purchased the minor-league Providence Grays, members of the International League. The Providence team had been owned by several people associated with the Detroit Tigers, including star hitter Ty Cobb, and as part of the transaction, a Providence pitcher was sent to the Tigers. To soothe Providence fans upset at losing a star, Lannin announced that the Red Sox would soon send a replacement to the Grays. This was intended to be Ruth, but his departure for Providence was delayed when Cincinnati Reds owner Garry Herrmann claimed him off waivers. After Lannin wrote to Herrmann explaining that the Red Sox wanted Ruth in Providence so he could develop as a player, and would not release him to a major league club, Herrmann allowed Ruth to be sent to the minors. Carrigan later stated that Ruth was not sent down to Providence to make him a better player, but to help the Grays win the International League pennant.
Ruth joined the Grays on August 18, 1914. What was left of the Baltimore Orioles after Dunn's deals had managed to hold onto first place until August 15, but continued to fade thereafter, and the pennant race was between Providence and Rochester. Ruth was deeply impressed by Providence manager "Wild Bill" Donovan, a star with a 26–4 record for Detroit in 1907; in later years, he credited Donovan with teaching him much about pitching. Ruth was called upon often to pitch, in one stretch starting (and winning) four games in eight days. On September 5 in Toronto, Ruth pitched a one-hit 9–0 victory, and hit his first professional home run, his only one as a minor leaguer, off Ellis Johnson. Recalled to Boston after Providence finished the season in first place, he won a game for the Red Sox against the New York Yankees on October 2, getting his first major league hit, a double. Ruth finished the season with a 2–1 record as a major league and 23–8 in the International League (for Baltimore and Providence). Once the season concluded, Ruth married Helen in Ellicott City, Maryland. Creamer speculated that they did not marry in Baltimore, where the newlyweds boarded with George Ruth, Sr., to avoid possible interference from those at St. Mary's—both bride and groom were not yet of age and Ruth remained on parole from that institution until his 21st birthday, which he mistakenly believed was in February 1915.
Ruth reported to his first major league spring training in Hot Springs, Arkansas in March 1915. Despite a relatively successful first season, he was not slated to start regularly for the Red Sox, who had two stellar left-handed pitchers already, the established stars Dutch Leonard, who had broken the record for the lowest earned run average in a single season and Ray Collins, a 20 game winner in both 1913 and 1914. Ruth was ineffective in his first start, taking the loss in the third game of the season. Injuries and ineffective pitching by other Boston pitchers gave Ruth another chance, and after some good relief appearances, Carrigan gave Ruth another chance, and he won a rain-shortened seven inning game. Ten days later, the manager had him start against the New York Yankees at the Polo Grounds. Ruth took a 3–2 lead into the ninth inning, but lost the game 4–3 in thirteen innings. Ruth, hitting ninth as was customary for pitchers, hit a massive home run into the upper deck in right field off of Jack Warhop. At the time, home runs were rare in baseball, and Ruth's massive shot awed the crowd. The winning pitcher, Warhop, would in August 1915 conclude a major league career of eight seasons, undistinguished but for being the first major league pitcher to give up a home run to Babe Ruth.
Carrigan was sufficiently impressed by Ruth's pitching to give him a spot in the starting rotation. Ruth finished the 1915 season 18–8 as a pitcher; as a hitter, he batted .315 and had four home runs. The Red Sox won the pennant, but with the pitching staff healthy, Ruth was not called upon to pitch in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Boston won in five games; Ruth was a pinch hitter in Game Five, but grounded out against Phillies ace Grover Cleveland Alexander. Despite his success as a pitcher, Ruth was acquiring a reputation for long home runs; at Sportsman's Park against the St. Louis Browns, a Ruth hit soared over Grand Avenue, breaking the window of a Chevrolet dealership.
In 1916, there was attention focused on Ruth for his pitching, as he engaged in repeated pitching duels with the ace of the Washington Senators, Walter Johnson. The two met five times during the season, with Ruth winning four and Johnson one, though Ruth had a no decision in Johnson's victory. Two of Ruth's victories were by the score of 1–0, one in 13 innings. Of the 1–0 shutout decided without extra innings, American League President Ban Johnson stated, "That was one of the best ball games I have ever seen." For the season, Ruth went 23–12, with a 1.75 ERA and nine shutouts, both of which led the league. Ruth's nine shutouts in 1916 set an AL record for lefthanders that would remain unmatched until Ron Guidry tied it in 1978. The Red Sox won the pennant and World Series again, this time defeating the Brooklyn Superbas (as the Dodgers were then known) in five games. Ruth started Game 2, and won it, 2–1, in fourteen innings. Until another game of that length was played in 2005, this was the longest World Series game, and Ruth's pitching performance is still the longest postseason complete game victory.
Carrigan retired as player and manager after 1916, returning to his native Maine to be a businessman. Ruth, who played under four managers who are enshrined in the Hall of Fame, always maintained that Carrigan, who is not, was the best skipper he ever played for. There were other changes in the Red Sox organization that offseason, as Lannin sold the team to a three-man group headed by New York theatrical promoter Harry Frazee. Frazee hired Jack Barry as manager.
Emergence as a hitter
Ruth went 24–13 with a 2.01 ERA and six shutouts in 1917, and hit .325. But the Sox finished second in the league, nine games behind the Chicago White Sox. On June 23 at Washington, Ruth made a memorable pitching start. When the home plate umpire called the first four pitches as balls, Ruth threw a punch at him, and was ejected from the game and later suspended for ten days. Ernie Shore was called in to relieve Ruth, and was allowed eight warm-up pitches. The runner was caught stealing, and Shore retired all 26 batters he faced to win the game. Shore's feat was listed as a perfect game for many years; in 1991, Major League Baseball's Committee on Statistical Accuracy caused it to be listed as a combined no-hitter. In 1917, Ruth was used little as a batter, other than his plate appearances while pitching, and hit .325 with two home runs.
The United States's entry into World War I occurred at the start of the season, and overshadowed the sport. Conscription was introduced in September 1917, and most baseball players in the big leagues were of draft age. This included Barry, who was a player-manager, and who joined the Naval Reserve in an attempt to avoid the draft, only to be called up after the 1917 season. Frazee hired International League President Ed Barrow as Red Sox manager. Barrow had spent the previous thirty years in a variety of baseball jobs, though he never played the game. With the major leagues shorthanded due to the war, Barrow had many holes in the Red Sox lineup to fill. Ruth also noticed these vacancies in the lineup, and, dissatisfied in the role of a pitcher, appearing every four or five days, wanted to play every day at another position. Barrow tried Ruth at first base and in the outfield during the exhibition season, but as the team moved towards Boston and the season opener, restricted him to pitching. At the time, Ruth was possibly the best left-handed pitcher in baseball; allowing him to play another position was an experiment that might backfire.
Inexperienced as a manager, Barrow had player Harry Hooper advise him on baseball game strategy. Hooper urged his manager to allow Ruth to play another position when he was not pitching. arguing to Barrow, who had invested in the club, that the crowds were larger on days when Ruth played, attracted by his hitting. Barrow gave in early in May; Ruth promptly hit home runs in four consecutive games (one an exhibition), the last off of Walter Johnson. For the first time in his career (disregarding pinch-hitting appearances), Babe Ruth was allowed a place in the batting order higher than ninth.
Although Barrow predicted Ruth would beg to return to the mound the first time he hit a batting slump, that did not occur. Barrow used Ruth primarily as an outfielder in the war-shortened 1918 season. Ruth hit .300, with 11 home runs, enough to secure him a share of the major league home run title, shared with Tillie Walker of the Philadelphia Athletics. He was still used now and then as pitcher, and had a 13–7 record with a 2.22 ERA.
The Red Sox won their third pennant in four years, and faced the Chicago Cubs in the 1918 World Series, beginning on September 5, the earliest in history. The season was shortened as the government had ruled that baseball players eligible for the military would have to be inducted or work in critical war industries, such as armaments plants. Ruth pitched Game One for the Red Sox, a 1–0 shutout. Before Game Four, Ruth injured his left hand in a fight; he pitched anyway. He gave up seven hits and six walks, but was helped by outstanding fielding behind him and by his own batting efforts, as a fourth-inning triple by Ruth gave his team a 2–0 lead. The Cubs tied the game in the eighth inning, but the Red Sox scored to take a 3–2 again in the bottom of that inning. After Ruth gave up a hit and a walk to start the ninth inning, he was relieved on the mound by Joe Bush. To keep Ruth and his bat in the game, he was sent to play left field, but Bush retired the side to give Ruth his second win of the Series and the third and last World Series pitching victory of his career, against no defeats, in three pitching appearances. Ruth's effort gave his team a 3–1 lead in games, and the Red Sox won the Series, their third in four years, two days later, four games to two. Before allowing the Cubs to score in Game Four, Ruth pitched 29⅔ consecutive scoreless innings, a record for the World Series that stood until broken, after Ruth's death, by Whitey Ford in 1961. Ruth was prouder of that record than he was of any of his batting feats.
With the World Series over, Ruth made himself exempt from conscription by accepting a nominal position with a Pennsylvania steel mill—many industrial establishments took pride in their baseball teams and sought to engage major leaguers. The end of the war in November set Ruth free to play baseball without such contrivances.
During the 1919 season, Ruth pitched in only 17 of his 130 games, compiling a 8–5 record as Barrow used him on the mound mostly in the early part of the season, when the Red Sox manager still had hopes of a second consecutive pennant. By late June, the Red Sox were clearly out of the race, and Barrow had no objection to Ruth concentrating on his hitting, if only because it drew people to the ballpark. Ruth had hit a home run against the Yankees on Opening Day, and another during a monthlong batting slump that soon followed. Relieved of his pitching chores, Ruth began an unprecedented spell of slugging home runs, which gave him huge public and press attention. Even his failures were seen as majestic—one sportswriter noted, "When Ruth misses a swipe at the ball, the stands quiver".
Two home runs by Ruth on July 5, and one in each of two consecutive games a week later, raised his total to 11, tying his career best from 1918. The first record to fall was the American League mark of 16, set by Ralph "Socks" Seybold in 1902. Ruth matched that on July 29, then pulled ahead toward the major league record of 24, set by Buck Freeman in 1899. Ruth reached this on September 8, by which time, writers had discovered that Ned Williamson of the 1884 Chicago White Stockings had hit 27—though in a ballpark where the distance to right field was 215 feet (66 m). On September 20, "Babe Ruth Day" at Fenway Park, Ruth won the game in the bottom of the ninth, tying Williamson's record. He broke it four days later against the Yankees at the Polo Grounds, and hit one more against the Senators to finish with 29. The home run at Washington made Ruth the first major league player to hit a home run at all eight ballparks in his league.In spite of Ruth's hitting heroics, the Red Sox finished sixth, 20½ games behind the league champion White Sox.
Sale to New York
As an out-of-towner, from New York City, Frazee had been regarded with suspicion by Boston's sportswriters and baseball fans when he bought the team. He won them over with success on the field and a willingness to build the Red Sox by purchasing or trading for players. He offered the Senators $60,000 for Walter Johnson, but Washington owner Clark Griffith was unwilling. Even so, Frazee was successful in bringing other players to Boston, especially as replacements for players in the military. This willingness to spend for players helped the Red Sox secure the 1918 title. The 1919 baseball saw record-breaking attendance, and Ruth's home runs for Boston made him a national sensation. Nevertheless, on December 26, 1919, Frazee sold Ruth's contract to the New York Yankees.
Not all of the circumstances of how it was Frazee sold his best player to the Yankees are known, but the most common version involves the New York team's principal owner, brewer and former congressman Jacob Ruppert asking Yankee manager Miller Huggins what the team needed to be successful. "Get Ruth from Boston", Huggins supposedly stated, noting that Frazee was perennially in need of money to finance his theatrical productions. The transaction was not without precedent in the Frazee era in Boston: when Boston pitcher Carl Mays left the Red Sox in a 1919 dispute, the matter was settled by selling the player to the Yankees, though over the opposition of American League President Johnson.
According to one of Ruth's biographers, Jim Reisler, "just why Frazee needed cash in 1919—and large infusions of it quickly—is still, more than 80 year later, a bit of a mystery". The often-told story is that Frazee needed money to finance the musical No, No, Nanette, which was a major hit and brought Frazee financial security. That play did not open until 1925, by which time Frazee had sold the Red Sox. Montville points out that the story may be true in essence: No, No, Nanette was based on a Frazee-produced play, My Lady Friends, which opened in 1919.
There were other financial pressures on Frazee, despite his team's success. Ruth, fully aware of baseball's popularity in the 1919 season and his role in it, wanted to renegotiate his contract, signed before the 1919 season for $10,000 per year through 1921. He demanded that his salary be doubled, or he would sit out the season and cash in on his popularity through other ventures. Additionally, Frazee still owed Lannin as much as $125,000 from the purchase of the club
Although Ruppert and his co-owner, Colonel Tillinghast Huston, were both wealthy, and had, to build a winner, aggressively purchased and traded for players in 1918 and 1919, Ruppert faced losses in his brewing interests as Prohibition was implemented, and if the team left the Polo Grounds, where the Yankees were the tenants of the New York Giants, building a stadium in New York would be expensive. Nevertheless, when Frazee, who moved in the same social circles as Huston, hinted to the colonel that Ruth was available for the right price, the Yankees owners quickly pursued the purchase.
Frazee sold the rights to Babe Ruth for $100,000, the largest sum ever paid for a baseball player. The deal also involved a $350,000 loan from Ruppert to Frazee, secured by a mortgage on Fenway Park. Once it was agreed, Frazee informed Barrow, who, stunned, told the owner that he was getting the worse end of the bargain. Cynics have suggested that Barrow may have played a larger role in the Ruth sale, as less than a year after, he became the Yankee general manager, and in the following years made a number of purchases of Red Sox players from Frazee. The $100,000 price included $25,000 in cash, and notes for the same amount due November 1 in 1920, 1921 and 1922; Ruppert and Huston assisted Frazee in discounting the loans.
The deal was contingent on Ruth signing a new contract, which was quickly accomplished. The deal was announced on January 6, 1920. The New York Times suggested presciently, "The short right field wall at the Polo Grounds should prove an easy target for Ruth next season and, playing seventy-seven games at home, it would not be surprising if Ruth surpassed his home run record of twenty-nine circuit clouts next Summer." According to Reisler, "The Yankees had pulled off the sports steal of the century."
The sale of Ruth by the Red Sox to the Yankees marked a profound change of direction for both teams. The Red Sox, winners of five of the first sixteen World Series, those played between 1903 and 1919[a] would not win another pennant until 1946, or another World Series until 2004, a drought attributed in baseball superstition to Frazee's sale of Ruth and sometimes dubbed the "Curse of the Bambino". The Yankees, on the other hand, had not won a pennant prior to their acquisition of Ruth. They won seven pennants and four World Series with Ruth, and lead baseball with 40 pennants and 27 World Series titles in their history.
New York Yankees (1920–1934)
After moving to the Yankees, Ruth's transition from a pitcher to a power-hitting outfielder became complete. In his fifteen-year Yankee career, consisting of over 2,000 games, Ruth re-wrote the record books in terms of his hitting achievements, while making only five widely scattered token appearances on the mound, winning all of them.
In 1920, his first year with the Yankees, Ruth hit 54 home runs and batted .376. His .847 slugging average was a Major League record until 2001. Aside from the Yankees, only the Philadelphia Phillies managed to hit more home runs as a team than Ruth did as an individual, slugging 64 in hitter-friendly Baker Bowl.
In 1921, Ruth improved to arguably the best year of his career, hitting 59 home runs, batting .378 and slugging .846 (the highest with 500+ at-bats in a single season) while leading the Yankees to their first league championship. On July 18, 1921, Babe Ruth hit career home run No. 139, breaking Roger Connor's record of 138 in just the eighth year of his career. During a 6–0 shutout against the St. Louis Browns on July 28, Ruth started 26 game hitting streak, the longest of his career, which lasted until August 26.
Ruth's name quickly became synonymous with the home run, as he led the transformation of baseball strategy from the "inside game" to the "power game", and because of the style and manner in which he hit them. His ability to drive many of his home runs in the 450–500 foot range and beyond resulted in the lasting adjective "Ruthian", to describe any long home run hit by any player. Probably his deepest hit in official game play (and perhaps the longest home run by any player), occurred on July 18, at Detroit's Navin Field, in which he hit one to straightaway center, over the wall of the then-single-deck bleachers, and to the intersection, some 575 feet (175 m) from home plate.
The Yankees had high expectations when they met the New York Giants in the 1921 World Series, and the Yankees won the first two games with Ruth in the lineup. However, Ruth badly scraped his elbow during Game 2, sliding into third base (he had walked and stolen both second and third). After the game, he was told by the team physician not to play the rest of the series. Although he did play in Games 3, 4 and 5, and pinch-hit in Game 8 of the best-of-9 Series, his productivity was diminished, and the Yankees lost the series. Ruth hit .316, drove in five runs and hit his first World Series home run. (Although the Yankees won the fifth game, Ruth wrenched his knee and did not return to the Series until the eighth [last] game.)
Ruth's appearance in the 1921 World Series also led to a problem and triggered another disciplinary action. After the series, Ruth and teammates Bob Meusel and Bill Piercy participated in a barnstorming tour throughout the Northeast. A rule then in force prohibited World Series participants from playing in exhibition games during the off-season, the purpose being to prevent Series participants from "restaging" the Series and undermining its value. Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis suspended the trio for the first seven weeks of the 1922 season. Landis had made his point about adhering to the letter of the rules, but he also recognized that the rule was no longer needed, and rescinded it.
Despite his suspension, Ruth was named the Yankees' new on-field captain prior to the 1922 season. However, five days after he returned from his suspension, he was ejected from a game for throwing dirt on an umpire, and climbing into the stands to confront a heckler; Ruth was subsequently fined and stripped of the captaincy. In his shortened season, Ruth appeared in 110 games, batted .315, with 35 home runs and drove in 99 runs, but compared to his previous two dominating seasons, the 1922 season was a disappointment for Ruth. Despite Ruth's off-year, Yankees managed to win the pennant to face the New York Giants for the second straight year in the World Series. In the series, Giants manager John McGraw instructed his pitchers to throw Ruth nothing but curveballs, and Ruth never adjusted. Ruth had just two hits in seventeen at-bats, and the Yankees lost to the Giants for the second straight year by 4–0 (with one tie game).
In 1923, the Yankees moved from the Polo Grounds, where they had sublet from the Giants, to their new Yankee Stadium, which was quickly dubbed "The House That Ruth Built". Ruth hit the stadium's first home run on the way to a Yankees victory over the Red Sox. Ruth finished the 1923 season with a career-high .393 batting average and major-league leading 41 home runs. For the third straight year, the Yankees faced the Giants in the World Series. Rebounding from his struggles in the previous two World Series, Ruth dominated the 1923 World Series. He batted .368, walked eight times, scored eight runs, hit three home runs and slugged 1.000 during the series, as the Yankees won their first World Series title, four games to two.
Ruth narrowly missed winning the Triple Crown in 1924. He hit .378 for his only American League batting title, led the major leagues with 46 home runs, and batted in 121 runs to finish second to Goose Goslin's 129. Ruth's on-base percentage was .513, the fourth of five years in which his OBP exceeded .500. However, the Yankees finished second, two games behind the Washington Senators, who went on to win their only World Series while based in D.C. Ruth enlisted in the New York Army National Guard for three years and served in the 52nd Field Artillery Brigade, 104th Field Artillery Regiment, 27th Infantry Division
During spring training in 1925 concern over Ruth's weight was a major topic of discussion. While playing in Hot Springs, Arkansas, he developed a mild case of influenza, but felt well enough to travel with the team to Asheville, North Carolina. On his arrival at the team hotel he collapsed in front of Yankees main scout Paul Krichell. A local physician attributed the fainting episode to flu, and recommended that Ruth return to New York to rest. News of his illness quickly spread among the sports journalism community. A rumor circulated that he had died, prompting British newspapers to print a premature obituary. In New York, Ruth collapsed again and was found unconscious in his hotel bathroom. He was taken to a hospital where he suffered multiple convulsions. After sportswriter W. O. McGeehan wrote that Ruth's illness was due to binging on hot dogs and soda pop before a game, it became known as "the bellyache heard 'round the world". However, the exact cause of his ailment has never been confirmed and remains a mystery. Playing just 98 games, Ruth had what would be his worst season as a Yankee; he finished with a .290 average and 25 home runs. The Yankees finished next to last in the American League with a 69–85 mark, their last season with a losing record until 1965.
Babe Ruth performed at a much higher level during 1926, batting .372 with 47 home runs and 146 RBIs. The Yankees won the AL pennant and advanced to the World Series, where they were defeated by Rogers Hornsby and the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. In Game 4, he hit three home runs, the first time any player achieved this in a World Series game. Despite his batting heroics, he is also remembered for a costly base running blunder. Ruth had a reputation as a good but overaggressive base runner (he had 123 stolen bases, including ten steals of home, but only a 51% career percentage). With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning of the decisive seventh game and with the Yankees trailing 3–2, Ruth tried to steal second base. However, he was thrown out by ten feet, ending the game and the Series. (Yankee team president Ed Barrow later called this the only on-field boner Ruth ever made in his career.) This remains the only time that the final out of a World Series was a "caught stealing".
Ruth was the leader of the famous 1927 Yankees, also known as Murderer's Row because of the strength of its hitting lineup. The team won a then AL-record 110 games, took the AL pennant by 19 games, and swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series.
With the race long since decided, the nation's attention turned to Ruth's pursuit of his own home run mark of 59. Early in the season, Ruth expressed doubts about his chances: "I don't suppose I'll ever break that 1921 record. To do that, you've got to start early, and the pitchers have got to pitch to you. I don't start early, and the pitchers haven't really pitched to me in four seasons. I get more bad balls to hit than any other six men ... and fewer good ones." Ruth was also being challenged for his slugger's crown by teammate Lou Gehrig, who nudged ahead of Ruth's total in midseason, prompting the New York World-Telegram to anoint Gehrig the favorite. But Ruth caught Gehrig (who would finish with 47), and then had a remarkable last leg of the season, hitting 17 home runs in September. His 60th came on September 30, in the Yankees' next-to-last game. Ruth was exultant, shouting after the game, "Sixty, count 'em, sixty! Let's see some son-of-a-bitch match that!" In later years, he would give Gehrig some credit: "Pitchers began pitching to me because if they passed me they still had Lou to contend with." In addition to his career-high 60 home runs, Ruth batted .356, drove in 164 runs and slugged .772.
The following season started off well for the Yankees, who led the AL by 13 games in July. But the Yankees were soon plagued by some key injuries, erratic pitching and inconsistent play. The Philadelphia Athletics, rebuilding after some lean years, erased the Yankees' big lead and even took over first place briefly in early September. The Yankees, however, took over first place for good when they beat the A's three out of four games in a pivotal series at Yankee Stadium later that month.
Ruth's play in 1928 mirrored his team's performance. He got off to a hot start and on August 1, he had 42 home runs. This put him ahead of his 60 home run pace from the previous season. But Ruth was hobbled by a bad ankle the latter part of the season, and he hit just twelve home runs in the last two months of the regular season. His batting average also fell to .323, well below his career average. Nevertheless, he ended the season with 54 home runs, which would be the fourth (and last) time he hit 50 home runs in a season.
The Yankees had a 1928 World Series rematch with the St. Louis Cardinals, who had upset them in the 1926 series. The Cardinals had the same core players as the 1926 team, except for Rogers Hornsby, who was traded for Frankie Frisch after the 1926 season. Ruth batted .625 (the second highest average in World Series history), including another three-home run game (in game 4), Gehrig batted .545, and the Yankees demolished the Cardinals in four games. The Yankees thus became the first major league team to sweep their opponents in consecutive World Series.
In 1929, the Yankees failed to make the World Series for the first time in four years, and it would be another three years before they returned. Although the Yankees had slipped, Ruth led or tied for the league lead in home runs each year during 1929–1931. At one point during the 1930 season, as a stunt, Ruth was called upon to pitch for the first time since 1921, and he pitched a complete-game victory.
Also in 1929, the Yankees became the first team to use uniform numbers regularly (the Cleveland Indians had used them briefly in 1916). Since Ruth normally batted third in the order (ahead of Gehrig), he was assigned number 3 (to Gehrig's 4). The Yankees retired Ruth's number on June 13, 1948; however, it was kept in circulation prior to that.
In 1930, Ruth was asked by a reporter what he thought of his yearly salary of $80,000 ($1,129,402 in current dollar terms) being more than President Hoover's $75,000 ($1,058,815 in current dollar terms). His response was, "I know, but I had a better year than Hoover." Three years later, Ruth would make a public appearance with the ex-President at a Stanford – USC football game. Ruth led the league in home runs with 49, but the Yankees finished a distant third in the standings, 16 games behind the Athletics. As a response, owner Jacob Ruppert fired manager Bob Shawkey, who Ruth had a friendly relationship with. After the season ended, Ruth approached Ruppert and Barrow about the managerial position. He volunteered to offer his services as a player-manager, claiming that they had a history of winning pennants. Ruppert gave little consideration, asking Ruth, "how can you manage a team when you can't manage yourself?". When Joe McCarthy was selected as the Yankees new manager, Ruth took it as an insult. McCarthy had recently been fired by the Chicago Cubs.
The Yankees faced Gabby Hartnett's Chicago Cubs in the 1932 World Series. The Yankees swept the Cubs and batted .313 as a team. During Game 3 of the series, after having already homered, Ruth hit what has now become known as Babe Ruth's Called Shot. During the at-bat, Ruth supposedly gestured to the deepest part of the park in center-field, predicting a home run. The ball he hit traveled past the flagpole to the right of the scoreboard and ended up in temporary bleachers just outside Wrigley Field's outer wall. The center field corner was 440 feet away, and at age 37, Ruth had hit a straightaway center home run that was perhaps a 490 foot blow. It was Ruth's last Series homer (and his last Series hit), and it became one of the legendary moments of baseball history.
Ruth remained productive in 1933, as he batted .301, with 34 home runs, 103 RBIs, and a league-leading 114 walks. He was selected to play right field by Athletics manager Connie Mack in the first Major League Baseball All-Star Game, held on July 6, 1933, at Comiskey Park in Chicago. He hit the first home run in the game's history, a two-run blast against Bill Hallahan during the third inning, which helped the American League win the game 4–2. During the final game of the 1933 season, as a publicity stunt organized by his team, Ruth was called upon and pitched a complete game victory against the Red Sox, his final appearance as a pitcher. Despite unremarkable pitching numbers, Ruth had a 5–0 record in five games for the Yankees, raising his career totals to 94–46.
In 1934, Ruth had his last complete season. By this time, years of high living were starting to catch up with him. His conditioning had deteriorated to the point that he could no longer field or run. Nonetheless, he could still handle a bat, recording a .288 batting average with 22 home runs, statistics that were stated as "merely mortal". He was selected to the American League All-Star team for the second consecutive year. During the game, New York Giants pitcher Carl Hubbell struck out Ruth and four other victims in consecutive fashion, each of whom were later elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. On September 30, 1934, in what turned out to be his last game at Yankee Stadium, Ruth went 0 for 3 in front of only about 2,500 fans. By this time, he had reached a personal milestone of 708 home runs and was ready to retire.
After the 1934 season, Ruth went on a baseball barnstorming tour in the Far East. Players such as Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Gomez, Earl Averill, Charlie Gehringer, and Lou Gehrig were among fourteen players who played a series of 22 games, with many of the games played in Japan. Ruth was popular in Japan, as baseball had been popular in Japan for decades. Riding in a motorcade, Ruth was greeted by thousands of cheering Japanese. The tour was considered a great success for further increasing the popularity of baseball in Japan, and in 1936 Japan organized its first professional baseball league.
Boston Braves (1935)
Although Ruth knew he was nearly finished as a player, he desired to remain in baseball as a manager. He was often spoken of as a possible candidate as managerial jobs opened up, but in 1932, when he was mentioned as a contender for the Red Sox position, stated that he was not yet ready to leave the field. Ruth was spoken of as likely to be hired each time when the Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Detroit positions became available. He received none of them.
Just before the 1934 season, Ruppert offered to make Ruth manager of the Yankees' top minor-league team, the Newark Bears, but he was talked out of it by his wife, Claire, and his business manager. Early in the 1934 season, Ruth began openly campaigning to become manager of the Yankees. However, the Yankee job was never a serious possibility. Ruppert always supported McCarthy, who would remain as Yankees manager for another 12 seasons. Ruth and McCarthy had never gotten along, and Ruth's managerial ambitions further chilled their relations. By the end of the season, Ruth hinted that he would retire unless Ruppert named him manager of the Yankees. For his part, Ruppert wanted his slugger to leave the team without drama and hard feelings when the time came.
During the 1934–1935 offseason, Ruth circled the world with his wife, including a barnstorming tour of the Far East. At his final stop before returning home, in the United Kingdom, Ruth was introduced to cricket by Australian player Alan Fairfax, and after having little luck in a cricketer's stance, stood as a baseball batter and launched some massive shots around the field, destroying the bat in the process. Although Fairfax regretted that he could not have the time to make Ruth a cricket player, Ruth had lost any interest in such a career upon learning that the best batsmen made only about $40 per week.
Also during the offseason, Ruppert had been sounding out the other clubs in hopes of finding one that would be willing to take Ruth as a manager and/or a player. However, the only teams that seriously considered hiring Ruth were the Philadelphia Athletics and Detroit Tigers. A's owner/manager Connie Mack gave some thought to stepping down as manager in favor of Ruth, but later dropped the idea, saying that Ruth's wife would be running the team in a month if Ruth ever took over.
While the barnstorming tour was underway, Ruppert began negotiating with Boston Braves owner Judge Emil Fuchs, who wanted Ruth as a gate attraction. Although the Braves had enjoyed modest recent success, finishing fourth in the National League in both 1933 and 1934, the team performed poorly at the box office. Unable to afford the rent at Braves Field, Fuchs had considered holding dog races there when the Braves were not at home, only to be turned down by Landis. After a series of phone calls, letters, and meetings, the Yankees traded Ruth to the Braves on February 26, 1935. Ruppert stated that he would not release Ruth to go to another team as a player. For this reason, it was announced that in addition to playing, Ruth would become a team vice president and would be consulted on all club transactions. He was also made assistant manager to Braves skipper Bill McKechnie. In a long letter to Ruth a few days before the press conference, Fuchs promised Ruth a share in the Braves' profits, with the possibility of becoming co-owner of the team. Fuchs also raised the possibility of Ruth succeeding McKechnie as manager, perhaps as early as 1936. Ruppert called the deal "the greatest opportunity Ruth ever had".
There was considerable attention as Ruth reported for spring training. He did not hit his first home run of the spring until after the team had left Florida, and was beginning the road north in Savannah. He hit two in an exhibition against the Bears. Amid much press hoopla, Ruth played his first home game in Boston in over 16 years. Before an opening-day crowd of over 25,000, including five of New England's six governors, Ruth accounted for all of the Braves' runs in a 4–2 defeat of the New York Giants, hitting a two-run home run, singling to drive in a third run and later in the inning scoring the fourth. Although age and weight had slowed him, he made a running catch in left field which sportswriters deemed the defensive highlight of the game.
Although Ruth had two hits in the second game of the season, the season soon settled down to a routine of Ruth performing poorly when he played at all, and the Braves losing most games. As the spring progressed, Ruth's deterioration became even more pronounced. He remained productive at the plate early on, but could do little else. His conditioning had deteriorated to the point that he could do little more than trot around the bases. His fielding had become so poor that three Braves pitchers threatened not to take the mound if he was in the lineup. Before long, Ruth stopped hitting as well. He grew increasingly annoyed that McKechnie ignored most of his advice. (McKechnie later said that Ruth's presence made enforcing discipline nearly impossible.)
Ruth soon realized that Fuchs had deceived him, and had no intention of giving him off-the-field responsibility or the manager's job. He later stated that his duties as vice president consisted of making public appearances and autographing tickets. Ruth also found out that rather than give him a share of the profits, Fuchs wanted him to invest some of his money in the team in a last-ditch effort to improve its balance sheet. As it turned out, both Fuchs and Ruppert had known all along that Ruth's non-playing positions were meaningless.
By the end of the first month of the season, Ruth believed he was finished even as a part-time player. As early as May 12, he asked Fuchs to let him retire. Ultimately, Fuchs persuaded Ruth to remain at least until after the Memorial Day doubleheader in Philadelphia. In the interim was a western road trip, at which the rival teams had scheduled days to honor him. In Chicago and St. Louis, Ruth performed poorly, and his batting average sank to .155, with only three home runs. In the first two games in Pittsburgh, Ruth had only one hit, though a long fly caught by Paul Waner probably would have been a home run in any other ballpark besides Forbes Field.
Ruth played in the third game of the Pittsburgh series on May 25, 1935, and added one more tale to his playing legend. Ruth went 4-for-4, including three home runs, though the Braves lost the game 11–7. The last two were off Ruth's old Cubs nemesis, Guy Bush. The final one, both of the game and of Ruth's career, sailed over the upper deck in right field and out of the ballpark, the first time anyone had hit a fair ball completely out of Forbes Field. Ruth was urged to make this his last game, but he had given his word to Fuchs and played in Cincinnati and Philadelphia. The first game of the doubleheader in Philadelphia—the Braves lost both—was his final major league appearance. On June 2, after an argument with Fuchs, Ruth retired. He finished 1935 with a .181 average—easily his worst as a full-time position player—and the final six of his 714 home runs. The Braves, 10–27 when Ruth left, finished 38–115, at .248 the worst winning percentage in modern National League history. Fuchs gave up control of the Braves before the end of the season, insolvent like his team; the National League took over the franchise at the end of the year.
Although Fuchs had given Ruth his unconditional release, no major league team expressed an interest in hiring him in any capacity. Ruth still hoped to be hired as a manager if he could not play anymore, but only one managerial position, Cleveland, became available between Ruth's retirement and the end of the 1937 season. Asked if he had considered Ruth for the job, Indians owner Alva Bradley replied in the negative. Ruth played much golf and in a few exhibition baseball games, demonstrating a continuing ability to draw large crowds. This was a major factor in his hiring, as first base coach by the Dodgers in 1938. Brooklyn general manager Larry MacPhail made it clear when Ruth was hired that he would not be considered for the job if manager Burleigh Grimes retired at the end of the season as expected. Although much was said about what Ruth could teach the younger players, in practice, Ruth's duties were to appear on the field in uniform and encourage base runners—he was not called upon to relay signs. He got along well with everyone except team captain Leo Durocher, who was hired as Grimes' replacement at season's end. Ruth returned to retirement, never again to work in baseball. Ruth's lifestyle was seen as a reason for denying him a managerial job; Barrow said of him, "How can he manage other men when he can’t even manage himself?"
On July 4, 1939, Ruth spoke on Lou Gehrig Day at Yankee Stadium as members of the 1927 Yankees and a sellout crowd turned out to honor the first baseman, forced into premature retirement by a disease which would kill him in two years and which is often called by his name. The next week, Ruth went to Cooperstown, New York, for the formal opening of the Baseball Hall of Fame—he had been one of the first five players elected three years previously. As radio broadcasts of baseball became popular, he sought a job in that field, arguing that his celebrity and knowledge of baseball would assure large audiences, but he was made no offers. During World War II, he made many personal appearances to advance the war effort, including his last appearance as a player at Yankee Stadium, in a 1943 exhibition for the Army-Navy Relief Fund. He hit a long fly ball off Walter Johnson; the blast left the field, curving foul, but Ruth circled the bases anyway. In 1946, he made a final effort at a job in baseball, contacting new Yankees boss MacPhail, but was sent a rejection letter.
Cancer and death (1946–1948)
As early as the war years, doctors had cautioned Ruth to take better care of his health, and he grudgingly followed their advice, limiting his drinking and not going on a proposed trip to support the troops in the South Pacific. In 1946, Ruth began experiencing severe pain over his left eye, and had difficulty swallowing. In November 1946, he entered French Hospital in New York for tests, that revealed Ruth had an inoperable malignant tumor at the base of his skull and in his neck. His name and fame gave him access to experimental treatments, becoming one of the first cancer patients to receive both drugs and radiation treatment simultaneously. He was discharged from the hospital in February, having lost 80 pounds (36 kg), and went to Florida to recuperate. He returned to New York and Yankee Stadium after the season started. The new commissioner, Happy Chandler (Judge Landis had died in 1944), proclaimed April 27, 1947, Babe Ruth Day around the major leagues, with the most significant observance to be in the Bronx. A number of teammates and others spoke in honor of Ruth, who briefly addressed the crowd of almost 60,000.
Around this time, developments in chemotherapy offered some hope, and Ruth, who had not been told he had cancer out of his family's fear he might do himself harm, was put on teropterin, a folic acid derivative, and may have been the first human subject. He showed dramatic improvement during the summer of 1947, so much so that his case was written up by his doctors, without using his name. He was able to travel around the country, doing promotional work for the Ford Motor Company on American Legion baseball. He appeared again at another day in his honor at Yankee Stadium in September, but was not well enough to pitch in an old-timers game as he had hoped.
The improvement was only a temporary remission, and by late 1947, Ruth was unable to help with the writing of his autobiography, The Babe Ruth Story, which was almost entirely ghostwritten. In and out of the hospital in New York, he left for Florida in February, doing what activities he could, and returned to New York after six weeks to appear at a book-signing party. He also went to California to witness the filming of the book.
|Babe Ruth's number 3 was retired by the New York Yankees in 1948.|
On June 5, 1948, a "gaunt and hollowed out" Ruth visited Yale University to donate a manuscript of The Babe Ruth Story to the school's library; the gift was accepted by the captain of the Yale baseball team, George Bush, who would later become President of the United States. On June 13, he visited Yankee Stadium for the final time in his life, appearing at the 25th anniversary celebrations of "The House that Ruth Built". By this time he had lost much weight and had difficulty walking. Introduced along with his surviving teammates from 1923, Ruth used a bat as a cane. The photo of Ruth taken from behind, standing near home plate and facing "Ruthville" (right field) became one of baseball's most famous and widely circulated photographs, and won the Pulitzer Prize.
Ruth made one final trip on behalf of American Legion baseball, then entered Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center, where he would die. He was never told he had cancer, but before his death, had surmised it. He was able to leave the hospital for a few short trips, including a final visit to Baltimore. On July 26, 1948, Ruth left the hospital to attend the premiere of the film The Babe Ruth Story, a biopic about his own life. William Bendix portrayed Ruth. Shortly thereafter, Ruth returned to the hospital for the final time. He was barely able to speak. Ruth's condition gradually became worse; only a few visitors were allowed to see him, one of whom was National League president and future Commissioner of Baseball Ford Frick. "Ruth was so thin it was unbelievable. He had been such a big man and his arms were just skinny little bones, and his face was so haggard", Frick said years later.
Thousands of New Yorkers, including many children, stood vigil outside the hospital in Ruth's final days. On August 16, 1948, at 8:01 p.m., Babe Ruth died in his sleep at the age of 53. Instead of a wake at a funeral home, his casket was taken to Yankee Stadium, where it remained for two days; 77,000 people filed past to pay him tribute. His funeral Mass took place at St. Patrick's Cathedral, outside of which a crowd estimated at 75,000 waited. Ruth rests with his second wife, Claire, on a hillside in Section 25 at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York.
Radio and films
Ruth made many forays into various popular media. He was heard often on radio in the 1930s and 1940s, both as a guest and on his own programs with various titles: The Adventures of Babe Ruth was a 15-minute Blue Network show heard three times a week from April 16 to July 13, 1934. Three years later, he was on CBS twice a week in Here's Babe Ruth which was broadcast from April 14 to July 9, 1937. That same year he portrayed himself in "Alibi Ike" on Lux Radio Theater. His Baseball Quiz was first heard Saturdays on NBC June 5 to July 10, 1943 and then later that year from August 28 to November 20 on NBC, followed by another NBC run from July 8 to October 21, 1944.
His first film appearance unofficially occurred in 1920, when a newly formed company called Educational Pictures decided to take advantage of Ruth's growing popularity by creating a series of "educational films" based on Ruth. Ruth never committed to the project or compensated for the series, and decided to take Educational Pictures to court. However the judge cited with the company stating that Ruth was a "public figure", and anybody were allowed to film Ruth without requiring permission. The matter was dropped when the series did poorly at the box office. However the case convinced Ruth to sign a film contract as the star of the silent movie Headin' Home, also made in 1920. His film roles included a cameo appearance as himself in the Harold Lloyd film Speedy (1928). He made numerous other film appearances in the silent era, usually either playing himself or playing a ballplayer similar to himself. For his final film, an out of shape Ruth was contacted to appear as himself in the 1942 biopic about Lou Gehrig, Pride of the Yankees, in which he lost 40 pounds for the role.
Ruth met Helen Woodford, by some accounts, in a coffee shop in Boston where she was a waitress, and they were married on October 17, 1914. They adopted a daughter, Dorothy, in 1921. Ruth and Helen separated c. 1925 reportedly due to his repeated infidelities. Their last public appearance together came during the 1926 World Series. Helen died in a fire in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1929, in a house owned by Edward Kinder, a dentist with whom she had been living as "Mrs. Kinder". Kinder identified her body as being that of his wife, then went into hiding after Helen's true identity was revealed; Ruth was forced to get authorities to issue a new death certificate in her legal name, Margaret Helen Woodford Ruth. In her book, My Dad, the Babe, Dorothy claimed that she was Ruth's biological child by a girlfriend named Juanita Jennings. She died in 1989.
On April 17, 1929, Ruth married actress and model Claire Merritt Hodgson and adopted her daughter, Julia. Despite his marriages, Ruth stated when Colonel Huston asked him to tone down his lifestyle, "I'll promise to go easier on drinking and to get to bed earlier, but not for you, fifty thousand dollars, or two-hundred and fifty thousand dollars will I give up women. They're too much fun."
Ruth was the first baseball star to be the subject of overwhelming interest by the public. Baseball had seen star players before, such as Cobb and "Shoeless Joe" Jackson, but both men had uneasy relations with fans, in Cobb's case sometimes marked by violence. Ruth's biographers agree that he benefited from the timing of his ascension to "Home Run King", with an America hit hard by both the war and the 1918 flu pandemic longing for something to help put these traumatic events behind it. He also resonated in a country which felt, in the aftermath of the war, that it took second place to no one. Montville notes that as a larger-than-life figure capable of unprecedented athletic feats in what was the nation's largest city, Ruth became an icon of the significant social changes which marked the early 1920s. He became such a symbol of the United States that during World War II, Japanese soldiers yelled in English "To hell with Babe Ruth" to anger American soldiers. (Ruth replied that he hoped that "every Jap that mention[ed] my name gets shot".)
According to Creamer, "Babe Ruth transcended sport, moved far beyond the artificial limits of baselines and outfield fences and sports pages". Wagenheim stated, "He appealed to a deeply rooted American yearning for the definitive climax: clean, quick, unarguable." Reisler notes that recent sluggers who surpassed Ruth's 60 home run mark, such as Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds, generated much less excitement than when Ruth repeatedly broke the single-season home run record in the 1920s; Ruth dominated a relatively small sports world, while Americans of the present era have many sports to choose to watch.
According to sportswriter Grantland Rice, a contemporary, only two sports figures of the 1920s approached Ruth in popularity—boxer Jack Dempsey and racehorse Man o' War. One of the factors that caused Ruth to gain his broad appeal was the uncertainty that surrounds his early life and his family. It allowed Ruth to exemplify the American success story, that even an uneducated, unsophisticated youth, without any family wealth or connections, can do something better than anyone else in the world. Montville notes that "the fog [surrounding his childhood] will make him forever accessible, universal. He will be the patron saint of American possibility." Similarly, the fact that Ruth played when a relatively small portion of his fans had the opportunity to see him play in the era before television coverage of baseball allowed his legend to grow through word of mouth and the hyperbole of sports reporters.
Ruth's penchant for hitting home runs altered how baseball is played. Prior to 1920, home runs were unusual, and managers tried to win games by building a run by getting a runner on base, and bring him around to score through such means as the stolen base, the bunt, and the hit and run. Advocates of what was dubbed "inside baseball", such as Giants manager McGraw, disliked the home run, considering it a blot on the purity of the game. According to sportswriter W. A. Phelon after that season, Ruth's breakout performance in 1920 and the public response in excitement and attendance, "settled, for all time to come, that the American public is nuttier over the Home Run than the Clever Fielding or the Hitless Pitching. Viva el Home Run and two times viva Babe Ruth, exponent of the home run, and overshadowing star." While a few, such as McGraw and Cobb, decried the passing of the old-style play, teams quickly began to seek and develop sluggers.
One long-term survivor of the craze over Ruth may be the Baby Ruth candy bar. Although the original company to market the confectionary, the Curtis Candy Company, maintained that the bar was named after Ruth Cleveland, daughter of former president Grover Cleveland, Ruth Cleveland had died in 1904 and the bar was first marketed in 1921, at the height of the Ruth craze. The slugger later sought to market candy bearing his name; he was refused a patent because of the existence of the Baby Ruth bar. Corporate files from 1921 are no longer extant; the brand has changed hands several times and is now owned by the Nestlé company. Due to a marketing arrangement, in 2005, the Baby Ruth bar became the official candy bar of Major League Baseball.
Creamer termed Ruth "a unique figure in the social history of the United States". Ruth has even entered the language: a dominant figure in a field, whether within or outside sports, is often referred to as "the Babe Ruth" of that field. Similarly, "Ruthian" has come to mean, "colossal, dramatic, prodigious, magnificent; with great power." Montville noted in 2006 that more books have been written about Ruth than about any other member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. At least five of these books (including Creamer's and Wagenheim's) were written in 1973 and 1974, timed to capitalize on the increase in public interest in Ruth as Henry Aaron approached his career home run mark, which he broke on April 8, 1974. Aaron stated as he approached Ruth's record, "I can't remember a day this year or last when I did not hear the name of Babe Ruth."
Montville suggests that Ruth is probably even more popular today than he was when his career home run record was broken by Aaron. The longball era which Ruth started continues in baseball, to the delight of the fans. Owners build ballparks to encourage home runs, which each evening during the season are featured on SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight. The questions of performance enhancing drug use which have dogged recent home run hitters such as McGwire and Bonds do nothing to diminish Ruth's reputation; his overindulgences with beer and hot dogs seem part of a simpler time.
Ruth has been named the greatest baseball player of all time in various surveys and rankings. In 1998, The Sporting News ranked him number one on the list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players". In 1999, baseball fans named Ruth to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. In 1969, he was named baseball's Greatest Player Ever in a ballot commemorating the 100th anniversary of professional baseball. In 1993, the Associated Press reported that Muhammad Ali was tied with Babe Ruth as the most recognized athletes in America. In a 1999 ESPN poll, he was ranked as the second-greatest U.S. athlete of the century, behind Michael Jordan.)
Reisler suggests that the poor quality of film depictions of Ruth, both in the 1948 The Babe Ruth Story (starring William Bendix) and the 1992 film, The Babe, (starring John Goodman) have perpetuated fictions about Ruth, and in the case of the latter film, the impression that Ruth was overweight throughout his career, rather than just in the later part of it. Montville noted the continuing relevance of Babe Ruth in American culture, over three-quarters of a century after he last swung a bat in a major league game:
The fascination with his life and career continues. He is a bombastic, sloppy hero from our bombastic, sloppy history, origins undetermined, a folk tale of American success. His moon face is as recognizable today as it was when he stared out at Tom Zachary on a certain September afternoon in 1927. If sport has become the national religion, Babe Ruth is the patron saint. He stands at the heart of the game he played, the promise of a warm summer night, a bag of peanuts, and a beer. And just maybe, the longest ball hit out of the park.
MLB all-time ranks
- 1st in career slugging % with .690
- 1st in career OPS with 1.164
- 1st in career OPS+ with 206
- 2nd in career on-base % with .474
- 2nd in career RBIs with 2,213
- 3rd in career home runs with 714
- 3rd in career bases on balls with 2,062
- 4th (tied) in career runs with 2,174
- 6th in career total bases with 5,793
- 9th (tied) in career batting average with .342
Baseball awards and honors
- For records and achievements, see List of career achievements by Babe Ruth
- The Babe Ruth Award is an annual award given to the Major League Baseball (MLB) player with the best performance in the World Series. The award, created by the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) in honor of Babe Ruth, was first awarded in 1949, one year after Ruth's death.
- The Babe Ruth Home Run Award is an annual award presented to the leading home run hitter in MLB. It is usually presented to the recipient by Ruth's daughter, Julia Ruth Stevens, or her son, Tom Stevens.
- The Babe Ruth League is named in Babe Ruth's honor.
Memorial and museum
Yankee Stadium, "The House that Ruth Built", survived until 2009, replaced after the 2008 season by a new Yankee Stadium, across the street from the old. The site of the stadium in which Ruth played is today a park at which youth baseball is played. Moved from old stadium to new were the tributes to Ruth housed in Monument Park, which remains in center field in the new ballpark, as it was in the old. Ruth's uniform number 3 is among those of Yankee greats who have had their numbers retired; he is one of five Yankees players or managers to have a granite monument erected to him there. Until the renovation of the old Yankee Stadium in the 1970s, the monument was in play together with similar tributes to Huggins and Gehrig, and a flagpole.
Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum The Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum is located at 216 Emory Street, a Baltimore row house where Ruth was born and is located three blocks west of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, where the American League's Baltimore Orioles play. The property was restored and opened to the public in 1973, by the non-profit Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation, Inc. Ruth's widow, Claire, his two daughters, Dorothy and Julia, and his sister, Mamie, helped select and install exhibits for the museum.
- List of career achievements by Babe Ruth
- Babe Ruth Award
- DHL Hometown Heroes
- List of Major League Baseball home run records
- List of Major League Baseball runs batted in records
Notes and references
- There was no World Series in 1904 or 1994.
- "Most Times Leading League". Baseball-Reference.com. Archived from the original on September 24, 2008. Retrieved October 22, 2008.
- Creamer, pp. 24–25.
- Smelser pp. 5–8.
- Smelser, pp. 7–9.
- Creamer, p. 11.
- Wagenheim, pp. 13–14.
- Creamer, pp. 29–31.
- Montville, pp. 8–11
- Montville, pp. 19–23.
- Creamer, pp. 39–40.
- Wagenheim, p. 14.
- Creamer, p. 32.
- Creamer, pp. 35–37.
- Montville, pp. 24–26.
- Creamer, p. 37.
- Reisler, p. 22.
- Montville, pp. 28–29.
- Montville, pp. 26–28.
- Wagenheim, p. 17
- Montville, pp. 32–34.
- Wagenheim, pp. 18–21.
- Creamer, pp. 48–51.
- Wagenheim, pp. 19.
- Creamer, p. 52.
- Wagenheim, pp. 20–21.
- Montville, p. 36.
- Wagenheim, p. 22.
- Creamer, pp. 61–62.
- Creamer, pp. 66–67.
- Creamer, pp. 72–77.
- Montville, pp. 38–40.
- Creamer, pp. 78–80.
- Wagenheim, p. 26.
- Montville, pp. 40–41.
- Montville, pp. 41–44
- Creamer, p. 87
- Montville, pp. 43–44
- Wagenheim, pp. 27–29
- Creamer, pp. 52–55
- Creamer, pp. 89–90
- Montville, p. 44
- Creamer, pp. 92–93
- Corcoran, Cliff (July 11, 2013). "99 cool facts about Babe Ruth". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
- Creamer, pp. 99–100
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- Schlueter, Roger. "Verlander's 2011 was epic". MLB.com. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
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- Creamer, pp. 138–140
- Montville, p. 59
- Wagenheim, pp. 273–274
- Montville, pp. 67–69
- Creamer, p. 153
- Wagenheim, p. 42
- Creamer, pp. 153–170
- Creamer, pp. 170–181
- Montville, pp. 78–80
- Creamer, pp. 196–197
- Montville, pp. 88–90
- Creamer, p. 203
- Reisler, pp. 4–5
- Creamer, pp. 204–205
- Reisler, pp. 2–3
- Reisler, p. 3
- Reisler, p. 5
- Creamer, p. 20
- Montville, pp. 101–102
- Creamer, pp. 205–207
- Reisler, p. 1
- Creamer, pp. 208–209
- Reisler, p. 2
- "Ruth Bought By New York Americans For $125,000, Highest Price in Baseball Annals". The New York Times. January 6, 1920.
- Spatz, Steinberg, pp. 202, 222.
- Spatz, Steinberg, p. 355.
- Montville, pp. 142–144.
- Montville, p. 145.
- "Ruth Made Captain; Roth Is Suspended; Babe Chosen to Fill Vacancy Caused by Transfer of Peckinpaugh to Boston. Roth's Ban Is Indefinite; Yankees' Veteran Outfielder Severely Penalized for Violation of Training Rules". New York Times. March 15, 1922. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
- "Many Fans Think Ruth Was Lucky; Majority of Local Baseball Men Call Sentence by Johnson a Light One". The New York Times. May 27, 1922. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
- "HUGGINS MAY STAY AS YANKS' MANAGER; Present Leader Can Keep Position if He Wants It, Declares Colonel Ruppert. THOROUGH SHAKE UP LIKELY. Belief Exists That Several Stars Will Be Missing Next Year-- Players Divide Spoils". The New York Times. October 10, 1922. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- Henry McLemore (April 20, 1934). "The Sport Parade". The Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
- "Yanks Break Even and Fail To Advance; Drop Second Game to Senators, 7–2, After Pennock Pitches Shut-Out in First, 2–0.", The New York Times, July 6, 1924. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
- "Babe Ruth Enlists in the National Guard". Ghosts of DC. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
- Montville, pp. 199–201.
- Montville, p. 202.
- Montville, p. 203.
- Robert McCoppin (September 11, 2008). "Freak sports injuries: Now that's a bad break!". Daily Herald. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
- Montville, p. 204.
- Thomas, Robert McG., Jr. "Johnny Sylvester, the Inspiration For Babe Ruth Heroics, Is Dead", The New York Times, January 11, 1990. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- Devin Clancy (July 10, 2008). "Top 10 games in Yankee Stadium's rich history". USA Today. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
- Norman Chad (September 27, 2004). "Just a Little History". Washington Post. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
- Montville, pp. 302–303.
- Montville, p. 303
- "1932 New York Yankees Batting, Pitching, Fielding Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com.
- "Babe Ruth Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
- as per Bill Jenkinson's book
- Creamer, p. 371
- Creamer, pp. 371–372
- Neyer, Rob (200). Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Blunders. New York City: Fireside. ISBN 0-7432-8491-7.
- Reisler, p. 256.
- Montville, pp. 322–323.
- Powers, Jimmy (October 9, 1934). "Ruth to Quit Unless Given Manager Job". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
- Montville, p. 336.
- Montville, pp. 337–339.
- Montville, p. 339.
- Creamer, p. 393.
- Montville, p. 340.
- Creamer, pp. 388–390.
- Creamer, pp. 395–397
- Creamer, pp. 396–400
- Montville, p. 344.
- Creamer, pp. 399–405.
- Wagenheim, pp. 247–249.
- Montville, pp. 355–356.
- Wagenheim, pp. 252–253.
- Montville, pp. 357–358.
- Creamer, pp. 418–419.
- Creamer, pp. 418–420.
- Montville, p. 360.
- Montville, pp. 361–362.
- Malafronte, Chip (September 19, 2012). "NEW HAVEN 200: Babe Ruth meets future President George H.W. Bush in 1948 at Yale Field". New Haven register (New Haven, CT). Retrieved November 20, 2013.
- Wagenheim, pp. 267–268.
- Creamer, pp. 423–424
- Montville, pp. 366–367.
- Reisler, p. 167.
- Creamer, pp. 403–404.
- Creamer, pp. 84, 100.
- Creamer, p. 281.
- Creamer, p. 336.
- Montville p. 282–286.
- Pirone, Dorothy; Chris Martens (1988). My Dad, The Babe: Growing up with an American Hero. Boston: Quinlan Press. p. 250. ISBN 1-55770-031-1. OCLC 17652057.
- "NY times story". New York Times. May 20, 1989. Retrieved September 21, 2009.
- "Dorothy R. Pirone, 68, Babe Ruth's Daughter (obituary)". The New York Times. May 20, 1989.
- Wiessner, Christian (September 22, 2008). "Baseball says goodbye as Yankee Stadium retired". Thomson Reuters. Reuters. Archived from the original on November 9, 2011.
- Lieb, Fred (1977). Baseball As I Have Known It. New York: Cowar, McCann and Geoghagen. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-8032-7962-9.
- Reisler, pp. xii–xiii.
- Montville, pp. 106–107.
- Schwartz, Larry. "Loveable Ruth was Everyone's Babe". ESPN. Archived from the original on December 21, 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2007.
- Bullock, Steven R. (2004). Playing for Their Nation: Baseball and the American Military during World War II. University of Nebraska Press. p. 4. ISBN 0-8032-1337-9.
- Creamer, p. 16.
- Wagenheim, p. 6.
- Reisler, p. xv.
- Reisler, p. 200.
- Montville, pp. 13–14.
- Wagenheim, pp. 6–7.
- Reisler, p. 18.
- Reisler, p. 236.
- Reisler, pp. 237–239.
- Smelser, p. 208.
- Sandomir, Richard (June 6, 2006). "Baseball adopts a candy, whatever it's named for". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
- Dickson, Paul (June 13, 2011). The Dickson Baseball Dictionary (3rd ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Co. p. 731. ISBN 9780393073492.
- Montville, pp. 1–6.
- Montville, pp. 4–5.
- The Sporting News list of Baseball's 100 Greatest Players (1998) provided by Baseball Almanac
- "All-Century Team final voting". ESPN. Associated Press. October 23, 1999. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
- Wilstein, Steve (May 17, 1993). "Retton, Hammill most popular American athletes". Associated Press.
- "ESPN: Top North American Athletes of the Century". ESPN SportsCentury. ESPN.com. September 14, 1999. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
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- Montville, p. 367.
- Lelinwalla, Mark (June 21, 2008). "A-Rod gets award from Babe Ruth's family at Stadium". Daily News. Archived from the original on November 8, 2011.
- Shlimbaum, Gus (July 4, 2008). "A-Rod receives third Babe Ruth Award". The Patriot Ledger. Archived from the original on November 9, 2011.
- Wedge, Dave (October 25, 2009). "Yes we can ... borrow slogans". Boston Herald. Archived from the original on October 29, 2009. "The award is usually given by Ruth's grandson or daughter."
- "Retired numbers". New York Yankees. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
- Coffey, Wayne (February 25, 2009). "Babe Ruth, other monuments, settle in new Yankee Stadium home". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
- Sandomir, Richard (September 21, 2010). "Everyone agrees: Steinbrenner's plaque is big". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 8, 2013. (subscription required)
- History: Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum webpage. Official website of the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum and the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards. Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation, Inc. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
- Locations webpage. Official website of the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum and the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards. Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation, Inc. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
- Creamer, Robert W. (1992) . Babe: The Legend Comes to Life (First Fireside ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-76070-X.
- Montville, Leigh (2006). The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. New York: Broadway Books. ISBN 978-0-7679-1971-5.
- Reisler, Jim (2004). Babe Ruth: Launching the Legend. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-143244-2.
- Smelser, Marshall (1975). The Life That Ruth Built. New York: Quadrangle/New York Times Book Co. ISBN 0-8129-0540-7.
- Spatz, Lyle; Steinberg, Lyle (2010). 1921: The Yankees, The Giants, & The Battle For Baseball Supremacy in New York. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-3999-9.
- Wagenheim, Kal (1974). Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend. New York: Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-275-19980-0.
- Weintraub, Robert (2011). The House That Ruth Built: A New Stadium, the First Yankees Championship, and the Redemption of 1923. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-08607-3.
|Find more about Babe Ruth at Wikipedia's sister projects|
|Media from Commons|
|Quotations from Wikiquote|
|Database entry Q213812 on Wikidata|
- BabeRuth.com – Official site
- Babe Ruth on the Open Directory Project
- Babe Ruth at the Baseball Hall of Fame
- baberuthmuseum.com Ruth Museum
- Babe Ruth at the Internet Movie Database
- Works by or about Babe Ruth in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- In March 2011, the VOA Special English service of the Voice of America broadcast a 15-minute program on Babe Ruth. A transcript and MP3 of the program, intended for English learners, can be found at Babe Ruth,1895–1948: America's Greatest Baseball Player
|Awards and achievements|
June 23, 1917
|Career home run record holder
|Single season home run record holder
|New York Yankees team captain
May 20, 1922 – May 25, 1922