- P, 1B, OF
- The Bambino, The Sultan Of Swat
- February 6, 1895
- 6' 2"
- 215 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 7-11-1914 with BOS
- Allstar Selections:
- 1923 MVP
- Hall of Fame:
The Babe in action!
Quotes About Babe Ruth
"I stopped telling people stories about how great he was, because I realized no one believed me." — Hall of Fame pitcher and Ruth teammate Waite Hoyt.
Babe Ruth hit the first home run in All-Star Game history, at Chicago's Comiskey Park in 1933.
When Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs in 1927, he hit 14% of all home runs in his league that year. For a player to hit 14% of all home runs today, he would have to hit over 300 home runs in one season.
On May 6, 1915, Babe Ruth hit his first major league home run off Jack Warhop, who pitched, ironically enough, for the Yankees.
The Ruth channel on You Tube
Jail Stripes to Pinstripes
On the morning of June 8, 1921, Ruth was arrested for speeding in New York City. Sitting in jail while he arranged for his release, Ruth was allowed to change into his uniform in his cell. He arrived at Yankee Stadium in time to play in New York's 4-3 victory over Cleveland.
Three home runs in a World Series game twice... The Babe hit 340 solo home runs, 252 two-run shots, and 98 three-run taters. He also slugged 16 Grand Slams... 51% of his homers came with a man or men on base... He hit 16 homers in extra-innings, 10 inside-the-park variety, and one as a pinch-hitter (in 1916 with the Red Sox)... 459 of his career regular season homers came against right-handed pitchers, or 64%. 219 times he blasted a circuit blow off a lefty... In six seasons with the Red Sox he hit 49 homers, 11 in Fenway Park, 38 on the road. With the Yankees in 15 seasons, he slugged 659 long blows, 334 at home, 325 on the road... Ruth hit at least one home run in 12 different ballparks... 72 times, Ruth slugged a pair of homers in a game, a major league record that still stands. He connected for three homers on May 21, 1930, with New York, and with the Braves on May 25, 1935, including the final homer of his career, off Pirate Guy Bush... His 686 home runs as an outfielder are the most by any player at any position. He hit 15 long balls as a pitcher... Collected RBI in 11 consecutive games in 1931... Stole home 10 times... Won two legs of the Triple Crown seven times (1919, 1920-1921, 1923-1924, 1926, 1928)... First player to hit three home runs in a single game in the AL and NL... 11 consecutive games with at least one extra-base hit (August 28 to September 8, 1921) the second longest streak in major league history... Holds the all-time single season record for most total bases (457 in 1921) and times reached base (375 in 1923)... Three times he had 4 extra-base hits in a game... Ruth had six five-hit games in his career... Scored five runs in a game twice... On April 20, 1926, he drove in eight runs, his career high... Collected more RBI than games played in six seasons. (1921-27-29-30-31-32).
Most Walk-Off Home Runs, Career
The Curse of the Bambino
Babe Ruth may have become the greatest player in Boston Red Sox history, if not for the greed and short-sightedness of one man. In 1917 the team was purchased by H. Harrison Frazee, a high-living, hard-drinking theatrical producer who loved baseball but loved Broadway more. He saw the Red Sox as a means of financing his theatrical operations, and began selling off all of his best players to Colonel Jacob Ruppert, owner of the New York Yankees, to raise cash for a number of Broadway ventures. Ruth became victim to this practice in 1920, when Frazee sold him to Ruppert for $125,000 and the promise of a $300,000 personal loan with which to finance his plays. Fenway Park was put up as security for the loan. The Red Sox have never recovered from the loss of Ruth. They had won five of the first fifteen World Series, but would not play in another for 28 years, and did not win the title again until 2004. Red Sox fans refer to this as "The Curse of The Bambino."
Credit Where Credit is Due
Most historians give the credit for Ruth's move to everyday outfield status to Boston manager Ed Barrow. In fact, the idea was first mentioned seriously by Red Sox Hall of Fame outfielder Harry Hooper, who saw the value in the Babe's bat and glove in the outfield on a regular basis. Barrows does deserve the credit for going through with the switch.
Like many players of his era, Ruth was extremely superstitious. He believed in the power of four-leaf clovers, horseshoes and rabbit's feet. He also kept a mascot with him for several years, batboy Eddie Bennett.
In 1921, Columbia University had Ruth undergo a series of tests to determine his athletic and psychological capability. Here are some of their findings, from an article by sportswriter Hugh Fullerton in Popular Science Monthly:
The tests revealed the fact that Ruth is 90 per cent efficient compared with a human average of 60 per cent. That his eyes are about 12 per cent faster than those of the average human being. That his ears function at least 10 per cent faster than those of the ordinary man. That his nerves are steadier than those of 499 out of 500 persons. That in attention and quickness of perception he rated one and a half times above the human average. That in intelligence, as demonstrated by the quickness and accuracy of understanding, he is approximately 10 per cent above normal.
The Bambino,The Sultan Of Swat
Also known as "The Colossus of Clout," "The Wali of Wallop," "The Wazir of Wham," "The Maharajah of Mash," "The Rajah of Rap," "The Caliph of Clout," and "The Behemoth of Bust." Ruth was first called "Babe" by teammates on the Baltimore Orioles, because of his boyish face and his young age.
6/23/1917: For BOS (A) vs. WAS (A), 4-0 at BOS. 0 innings pitched.
The Pitches He Threw
Ruth's first professional catcher, Ben Egan, had this to say about Babe the pitcher: "Babe knew how to pitch the first day I saw him. I didn't have to tell him anything. He knew how to hold runners on base, and he knew how to work on the hitters, so I'd say he was a pretty good pitcher on his own.
Egan caught the Babe with the Baltimore Orioles in 1914.
Ruth holds the record for the longest complete game victory in World Series history. In 1916, Ruth went 14 innings to defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers... Babe and the Yankees were back in the World Series in 1932, playing the Chicago Cubs. There was no love lost between the Babe and Chicago fans. They jeered and spat upon him and his wife as they entered and left their hotel. As the Series progressed into its third game, the stage was set for one of the most remembered events in baseball history. In the first inning, Ruth hit a three-run homer off pitcher Charlie Root. When he came to bat again in the fifth, the crowd and the Chicago bench released a torrent of abuse upon him. Babe waved his arm and shouted something, though due to the loud noise, no one heard exactly what he said. Whether he was gesturing toward the Cubs bench, to Root or the fence beyond is anyone's guess. But what happened next is beyond doubt. On Root's next pitch, Ruth swung mightily and connected with a home run over the center field fence, farther than any home run had ever been hit at Wrigley Field. Had he really called his shot? He was evasive when questioned, responding with, "Why don't you read the papers? It's all right there." Years later a film of the event showed that the Babe was probably not signaling to the bleachers, but rather to his tormenters – the Cubs bench. Nevertheless, the legend of "The Called Shot" remains.
Awards and Honors
1923 AL MVP
- September 24, 1920: 100th HR...
- May 12, 1923: 200th HR...
- September 8, 1925: 300th HR...
- September 2, 1927: 400th HR...
- August 11, 1929: 500th HR... Off Willis Hudlin, in the 5,801st at-bat of his career.
- August 21, 1931: 600th HR...
- July 13, 1934: 700th HR...
- October 11, 1923: 2 HR in WS Game...
- October 6, 1926: 3 HR in WS Game...
- September 30, 1927: 60th HR...
- October 9, 1928: 3 HR in WS Game...
- May 21, 1930: 3 HR...
- October 1, 1932: 2 HR in WS Game...
Injuries and Explanation for Missed Playing Time
Early in the 1920 season, Ruth was filming a movie titled Headin' Home. During the shooting on location in New York, Ruth was stung by an insect and his wrist swelled. A physician had to make an incision to drain fluid and reduce the swelling. Ruth missed six games. This information comes from SABR member Jim McLauchlin.
26 games (1921)
Sold by Boston Red Sox to New York Yankees (January 3, 1920).
Home Run Facts
In 10 seasons together, Ruth and Lou Gehrig homered in the same game 72 times, and in the same inning 19 times. The two combined as teammates for 783 homers (434 for Babe, 349 for Lou), the highest total ever, until Henry Aaron and Eddie Mathews… 1919 (4), 1922 (1), 1925 (1), 1926 (1), 1927 (2), 1929 (3), 1930 (1), 1931 (1), 1932 (1), 1934 (1). (16 total) In 1927 he hit a grand slam in consecutive games, September 27th and 28th.
Hall of Fame Artifacts
The Hall of Fame has Babe Ruth's bowling ball, shoes and bag. They also have his jersey, several of his bats, his locker from Yankee Stadium, and his spikes. Also in the Museum's collection are products endorsed or featuring Ruth, including underwear that were sold in the 1920s.
Ruth blasted A's hurler Rube Walberg for 17 home runs in his career, one of 216 different pitchers he victimized.
When did Babe Ruth star in the movies?
According to SABR member Rob Edelman: In 1920, Babe Ruth played a character known simply as "Babe" in HEADIN' HOME. Back then, Ruth could be cast as a clean-living, mother-loving all-American boy. The "Babe" in HEADIN' HOME is a character who, off the field at least, is quite unlike the man who played him: a simple, humble chap, residing with his mother and kid sister in a small town. Babe passes his spare time chopping down trees and fashioning them into baseball bats. He prefers quiet evenings enjoying his mother's home cooking to attending town socials. His shyness prevents him from expressing his feelings to the girl he loves.
In other words, the "Babe" played by Ruth in HEADIN' HOME is a mythical all-American boy-hero.
By 1927, Ruth's real-life off-the-field carousing had become such public knowledge that NEW YORK TIMES sportswriter/columnist John Kieran could casually refer to him as the "Playboy of Baseball" in a piece written the day after the Bambino hit his record-setting 60th home run. So he could be caricatured as egocentric (in SLIDE, KELLY, SLIDE) and as boisterous (in CASEY AT THE BAT). I would say that the SLIDE, KELLY, SLIDE character is derisive; while the CASEY AT THE BAT character is far less harsh, his interest in beer and chorus girls does not fit that of an all-American "hero."
Also in 1927, the Bambino starred in a second feature film, a comedy titled BABE COMES HOME. Here, his character's name is lengthened to "Babe Dugan." He enacts a role that is more reflective of the real Bambino: a baseball star with an affinity for dirtying his uniform with tobacco stains. Unfortunately, this film is lost; I would love to see it. Anyway, according to plot synopses of the film, "Babe Dugan" becomes engaged to Vernie (Anna Q. Nilsson), the laundress who cleans his uniforms. She sets out to reform him. He gives up tobacco in the name of love, but slumps badly and is benched. After coming to understand her beloved's need for tobacco, Vernie relents and gives the big guy a plug of the stuff during an important game. Babe is revitalized, just as Popeye the Sailor is after chugging down a can of spinach, and he wins the contest with a homer. There is a point to all this: If the Babe were not allowed to be, well, the Babe, he just might not have been able to belt all those real-life homers.
Finally, the WARMING UP citation comes from a lengthy, mostly negative review of the film, published in VARIETY on June 27, 1928. (This film also is lost.) Here is the full paragraph: "The (storyline) concerns the trials and tribulations of Bee Line Tolliver (Mr. Dix), a rube pitcher who wanders onto the ball grounds where the Yanks are training in Florida. McRae, the slugger for the Yanks, supposed to be a prototype of Babe Ruth, and whose only resemblance to the immortal Bamb is under the arms, decides to trick the rube with the 'iodine' bit. This is a goofy invention of the author whereby the rooky is tricked into thinking he has beaned the batter. The latter takes a prop fall and the players sneak a dab of iodine on his forehead."
As the story plays itself out, Tolliver is the hero and McRae is his nemesis. Later on in the review, McRae is referred to as the film's "heavy." "Mr. Dix" is Richard Dix, the film's star.
Worst Stolen Base Percentage, All-Time
(Minimum 200 attempts)
Lou Gehrig… 50.2% (102-for-203)
Babe Ruth… 51.3% (123-for-240)
Greg Gagne… 52.9% (108-for-204)
Charlie Jamieson… 54.4% (131-for-241)
Pete Rose… 57.1% (198-for-347)
Well, you have to be a pretty good player to attempt 200 steals. Ruth was known for his hubris - he thought he was faster than he was. Gehrig was said to be quick, but for whatever reason he stole bases at a poor clip. The other three players: Gagne, Jamieson and Rose, couldn't afford to be poor base stealers as much as Babe and Lou could. Had Rose never tried to steal a single base in his career, he may have scored the 80 or so runs he needed to catch Ty Cobb on the all-time list.
Links and Sources:
- BabeRuth.com – Official site
- Babe Ruth – Baseball Hall of Fame Member biography
- 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 Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Babe Ruth: Rare and Unpublished - slideshow by Life magazine
- Babe Ruth: Totally Random Trivia - slideshow by Life magazine
- 1916 World Series, 1918 World Series, 1923 World Series, 1927 World Series, 1932 World Series, Babe Ruth, Boston Braves, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Hank Aaron, Kenesaw Landis, New York Yankees, The Bambino, The Sultan Of Swat