Thousands of people came from all around the county to see the Great Bambino swat some home runs for the New York hometown crowd in Yankee stadium. The great Babe Ruth steps to the plate, the number three on his back facing the stands. The crowd is silent in awe. The Babe points to center field confidently. Babe Ruth is calling his shot. The next pitch is delivered and the greatest baseball legend ever clouts a home run over the center field fence and into the bleachers. The crowd erupts into cheers as he rounds the bases. The atmosphere in Yankee Stadium that day was a clear example of the great impact Babe Ruth had on baseball and other sports in the 1920s. Babe Ruth’s impact on baseball in the 1920s not only set the standard for what is known to be the first baseball superstar, but also was the first athlete to give the fans a reason to watch by redefining the game of baseball and adding an entertaining and energetic atmosphere to the game.
George Herman Ruth Jr. was born on February 6, 1895 in the house of his grandparents in Baltimore, MD. George Jr. was the first born of eight to Katherine and George Herman Ruth Sr. Unfortunately, for little George, he would find out that only he and his sister Mamie would live out a full life. When George was only seven years old his parents decided they could no longer take care of him so on June 13, 1902, George’s father brought him to St. Mary’s Industrial School for boys. George Sr. not only enrolled the future baseball star into the school but also signed over the custody papers to the Xaverian Brothers, who ran the Catholic school St. Mary’s.
Brother Mathis, the main disciplinarian at St. Mary’s, became the closest thing to a father figure to young George. Brother Mathis helped give George the feeling of love that his parents were unable to give during his childhood. Brother Mathis helped George through the basics of life; he even helped him learn to play the game of baseball. Thanks to the love the Mathis Brothers showed George, George grew up loving children.
It was clear at a young age that George Ruth had a gift in the game of baseball. He played all aspects of the game well including both hitting and pitching. By the time Ruth entered his late teens he had been identified as a baseball prospect. On February 27, 1914, age 19, George Herman Ruth Jr. was signed by Jack Dunn of the Baltimore Orioles, as a pitcher. At the time, the Baltimore Orioles were a minor league baseball team. As a result of the contract signing, Jack Dunn, the Orioles manager, had to become George’s legal guardian to accommodate George Sr.’s custody agreement for George Jr. to stay in school until the age of 21. The other Orioles teammates found it funny that Jack the manager was George’s ‘father’. One day one of the players were cracking jokes and said, “Well, here’s Jack’s newest Babe.” From that day forward the players began on referring to him as “Babe” Ruth.
The days of Babe Ruth as an Oriole were short lived, after about five months of baseball with the Orioles he was sold to the Boston Red Sox and he made his major league debut in his home field of Fenway Park on July 11, 1914.
On October 17, 1914 The Babe married Helen Woodford. Helen didn’t like all the media attention that followed George everywhere he went so Helen Stayed back and relaxed in the farm they owned in their hometown of Boston. In 1921, George and Helen decided to adopt a baby girl named Dorothy. In 1929 Babe’s wife Helen died from suffocation in a fire. On April 17, 1929 Babe married his second wife, Claire Hodgson, who already had a girl Julia. The two of them eventually decided to adopt each other’s children.
As a Boston Red Sox pitcher from 1914-1918 he was able to accomplish a lot. He managed to win 89 games and strike out 483 batters. He won 20 games twice and even led the league in ERA in 1916. Not bad for a player who is known for his hitting, not his pitching. Babe Ruth also led the Red Sox to 3 world championships in 6 years.
Following the 1919 season the owner of the Boston Red Sox sold Babe Ruth’s contract to the New York Yankees. It would be 85 years before the Red Sox would win another World Series. This awful drought is said to be due to ‘the curse of the Bambino’. The Yankees welcomed Babe Ruth with open arms. However, the Yankees started using him as an outfielder because they realized that his ability to hit was far to valuable to waste. This decision proved to be a very smart move. In Babes first year as a Yankee outfielder he clouted 54 home runs to set by far a new major league record. He went on to break his own record two more times.
He set the standard for smacking home runs by regularly hitting around 50 homeruns a season for over ten years. He alone hit more home runs in a season than what some whole teams could accomplish. He and Lou Gehrig were together able to out homer every team in the baseball but one.
The records Babe Ruth broke are endless. Before Babe Ruth not many people kept track of career statistics. “The Great Bambino” set career records in home runs (714) and RBIs (2,213), both of which were eventually broke by Hank Aaron. Babe also set several World Series records and other post-season records. Babe Ruth set the offensive standard for baseball with his many records and achievements.
Babe Ruth gave the Yankees a name and made them what they are even today, the most dominant dynasty in all of sports. During the 1920s everyone came to see Babe Ruth play and hit his home runs. He led the Yankees to seven pennants and four world championships between 1920 and 1934.
Finally, on May 30, 1935 Babe Ruth played his last game for the Boston Braves and announced his retirement on June 2, 1935. After retiring he showed an extreme interest in managing. He tried desperately to find a managing job for a ball club but no club would hire him because of his temper and lack of managing skills. When the Baseball Hall of Fame opened in 1936 Babe Ruth was inducted along with the opening class of inductees which included himself as well as Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson.
The many legends of the “Sultan of Swat” lives on through the different eras of baseball and still clearly stands out as the best baseball player of all time. Without Babe Ruth, baseball would be nowhere near the American pastime that it is today.
Article by George Reitsma