|Name||George Herman "Babe" Ruth|
Baltimore, Maryland , United States
|| February 06, 1895
|Died||August 16, 1948
Nov 17, 2018 12:54am
Caucasian - German - Married - Widowed - Cancer - Catholic - Straight -
|Info||Early Life |
George Herman Ruth, Jr. was born on February 6, 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland. His parents were Kate Schamberger Ruth and George Herman Ruth, Sr., who tended bar and eventually ran his own tavern. The Ruths had eight children total, however only two survived past infancy: a daughter, Mamie, and the boy who would grow up to be an American hero.
Babe did not have a happy childhood. Both of his parents worked long hours in the tavern, leaving their son to take care of himself much of the time. Eventually, when Babe was seven years old, his father took him to St. Mary�s Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory and orphanage. There he signed custody over to the Xaverian brothers, Catholic missionaries who ran the school.
During his 12 years at St. Mary�s, Babe rarely saw his family. They did not come to visit on holidays or on the one Sunday per month when family could visit the boys at the school, and Babe rarely stayed with them. Babe was an unruly student, famously classified as �incorrigible.� This was in part because the environment was much more regimented and structured than his parents� home had been.
Estrangement from his parents led Babe to find a father figure in another man, Brother Matthias. Considering Babe�s reputation for unruliness, it is interesting that the man who would be so important in his life was the prefect of discipline at St. Mary�s School. Brother Matthias, a very large, muscular man, became an inspiration to Babe in baseball as well as in other aspects of his life. Brother Matthias� batting skills inspired Babe to become a better hitter during his teenage years playing baseball at St. Mary�s. More generally, Brother Mathias provided support, guidance and encouragement to Babe.
Jack�s Newest Babe
Babe�s talent was apparent at an early age. During his years at St. Mary�s, he continued to play various positions on the school baseball teams. He played catcher most often during those years, until he tried pitching around age 15. Babe excelled at pitching immediately, and was alternated as both a catcher and pitcher on St. Mary�s varsity team.
When Babe was 19, Jack Dunn, owner and manager of the Baltimore Orioles, recognized the young man�s talent and signed him to a contract. Jack had been known for finding promising young players and helping them into careers in the major leagues. When the other players saw Babe, they referred to him as �Jack�s newest babe.� George was known as the �Babe� ever since.
After only five months with the Baltimore Orioles, Babe graduated to the major leagues and became a member of the Boston Red Sox. He pitched left and played outfield for the Red Sox for the next six years. The Babe became famous for his batting skills and personal charisma. He was also a first-rate pitcher. Babe broke records in the 1918 World Series, pitching 29 innings without runs against him, a record that stood for 43 years. In 1919, Babe shattered the home run records previously held by Gabby Kraveth and set the new record with 29 home runs that year.
�The House That Ruth Built�
Although Babe had proven himself to the Red Sox and was quickly making a name for himself in the Major Leagues, in December 1919 the Boston Red Sox sold him to the New York Yankees. The Yankees paid the Red Sox $125,000 and loaned them another $350,000 for the star.
Babe played outfield for the Yankees, and shocked many when he literally shattered his home run record. In 1920, he slammed an astounding 54 home runs over the fence, nearly double his previous record of 29. When Babe joined the Yankees, the team had no home stadium of its own and was forced to share the New York Giants� Polo Grounds. Babe�s sensational home run hitting and celebrity status drew so many crowds that the team could afford to build Yankee Stadium, which they did in 1923. People nicknamed the stadium �The House that Ruth Built.� Fittingly, he hit a home run on its opening day. That same year, the Yankees won their first World Series.
Babe�s personal life during this period was turbulent. He had married 17-year-old waitress Helen Woodford in October 1914. By 1919, Babe made enough money for the couple to buy a country house in Sudbury, Massachusetts, in addition to their New York City home. In 1921, they adopted a baby girl, Dorothy. Unfortunately, the couple grew apart and were officially separated by 1925. After the separation, however, Helen and Babe remained married because their religious beliefs prevented divorce. Tragically, in 1929 Helen was killed in a house fire. Dorothy, who had been living with her mother, came to stay with Babe. He married actress and model Claire Hodgson a few months later in April 1929, the day before the Yankees� opening game against the Boston Red Sox. Babe hit a homer out of Yankee Stadium for his new bride on his first at-bat.
The Sultan of Swat
Between 1920 and 1934, Babe�s performance as a batter for the New York Yankees set records that stood for decades. In 1927, he hit 60 home runs during a 154-game stretch. This record stood until 1961, when it was broken by Roger Maris. Considering that in 1919 Babe had broken the previous record of 24 home runs hit in one season, the fact that every year between 1920 and 1933 he exceeded it again was phenomenal. He still holds the record for his .847 slugging average in 1920. Major League Baseball had never seen a hitter like Babe. Writers attempted to capture a sense of his greatness by giving him nicknames from The Great Bambino to the Sultan of Swat. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Babe and teammate Lou Gehrig were a dynamic duo of home run sluggers. The pair�s combined home run records towered over the totals of every other team in 1927 except one.
After the death of Yankees manager Miller Huggins in 1929, Babe expressed an interest in managing the team. Joe McCarthey, former Chicago Cubs manager, was chosen instead. Babe and McCarthey did not get along well, and Babe still harbored hopes to manage a Major League team, while continuing as the most popular player of all time. After 15 years in professional baseball, Babe had begun to slow down, but he was not finished yet.
Perhaps the most famous moment of Babe�s career and baseball history came during 1932 World Series against the Chicago Cubs. It was the fifth inning of game three, and Babe had already hit one home run. Babe was up to bat, and the count was two balls and two strikes. Before Cubs pitcher Charlie Root hurled the next pitch, amid the heckling of Cubs fans, Babe pointed to the center field bleachers. Then he slammed the longest home run ever to be hit out of Wrigley Field, directly above the spot where he had pointed. This story has reached mythic proportions, although it is much debated. Did he really call his shot, or was he simply pointing at the pitcher? The world will never know, but to many this moment symbolizes the golden age of baseball. The Yankees went on to win the 1932 World Series, their third sweep in four years.
In 1935, Babe announced that he was retiring as a player for the Yankees in the hope that he would become a team manager. He was never offered a Major League management position, however, and he turned down an offer to manage the Yankees� minor league farm team, the Newark Bears. In 1935, Babe signed on as an assistant manager and player for the Boston Braves because he was falsely led to believe that he would be hired as manager the following year. Babe was aging, and could not perform in the batter�s box or on the field as well as he used to. On May 25, 1935, Babe hit his last home runs. He hit three home runs during that game, and while it might have seemed that his magic had returned, Babe retired from professional baseball the next week.
Babe spent his post-baseball years giving talks on the radio or in orphanages and hospitals, and served as a spokesperson for United States War Bonds during World War II. After over two decades as a player in Major League Baseball, Babe never realized his dream of becoming a manager. His legendary status as a player was acknowledged when he was among the first five inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936, along with Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson and Honus Wagner.
In the fall of 1946, Babe was diagnosed with throat cancer and spent three months in the hospital. Babe�s voice was impaired from the operations he received and he grew weak and frail. The following year, April 27 was declared Babe Ruth Day. Babe�s health continued to decline, and on June 13, 1948 he made his last appearance at the stadium where his legend had been born, on the 25th anniversary of its opening. The Yankees retired his number 3 jersey, and that day was the last time Babe ever wore it.
Babe Ruth died on August 16, 1948 at Memorial Hospital in New York City at 53 years old. His body lay in state at the entrance of Yankee Stadium on August 17 and 18, and it is estimated that over 100,000 people came to see him. Thousands of fans surrounded New York�s St. Patrick�s Cathedral and the route to the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York on the day of his funeral, as the world mourned the passing of Babe Ruth.
Of all the players in baseball history, none has ever reached the mythic status of Babe Ruth. Since his death, Babe has continued to be formally recognized for his accomplishments. Among his other honors, The Associated Press named Babe Athlete of the Century in 1999 and The Sporting News has named him the Greatest Player of All-Time. These awards, along with many others Babe has received, reflect Babe�s prominence as one of the greatest athletes in American history.