06 Feb 1895 1
Baltimore, Maryland 2
16 Aug 1948 2
Aug 1948 1
New York, New York 2

Related Pages


Pictures & Records (49)

Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth
Babe & Claire Ruth's Grave.JPG
Babe & Claire Ruth's Grave.JPG
25th Reunion of 1923 Champion New York Yankees
25th Reunion of 1923 Champion New York Yankees
Haines, Hoyt, Pipgras, Bush, Roettger, Ruth, Dugan, Meusel, Pipp, Smith Jones, Schang, Mays, Witt, Hoffman, McNally
First Hall Of Fame Class
First Hall Of Fame Class
Back row: Honus Wagner, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Tris Speaker, Nap Lajoie, George Sisler, Walter Johnson; Front row: Eddie Collins, Babe Ruth, Connie Mack, Cy Young
Ruth Babe Plaque_NBL.png
Ruth Babe Plaque_NBL.png
Babe Ruth, Bill Carrigan, Jack Barry, & Vean Gregg, Boston AL (baseball).jpg
Babe Ruth, Bill Carrigan, Jack Barry, & Vean Gregg, Boston AL (baseball).jpg
Ruth Red Sox.jpg
Ruth Red Sox.jpg
Babe Ruth Photo 51.jpg
Babe Ruth Photo 51.jpg
Dorothy and Dad.jpg
Dorothy and Dad.jpg
Dorothy Helen Ruth Pirone.jpg
Dorothy Helen Ruth Pirone.jpg
George Ruth is on the far right. The Babe is in the middle..jpg
George Ruth is on the far right. The Babe is in the middle..jpg
Duke & Babe.jpeg
Duke & Babe.jpeg
Babe &Claire Ruth, Herb Hunter and wife, Gov Lawrence Judd, Raymond C Brown, Duke.jpg
Babe &Claire Ruth, Herb Hunter and wife, Gov Lawrence Judd, Raymond C Brown, Duke.jpg
Duke Kahanamoku and Babe Ruth ·.jpg
Duke Kahanamoku and Babe Ruth ·.jpg
Brother Matthias and Babe.jpg
Brother Matthias and Babe.jpg
1918 wsprogram.jpg
1918 wsprogram.jpg
1916 wsprogram.jpg
1916 wsprogram.jpg
Cobb, Ruth Speaker.jpeg
Cobb, Ruth Speaker.jpeg
1915 wsprogram.jpg
1915 wsprogram.jpg
Ruth and Ruppert.jpeg
Ruth and Ruppert.jpeg
1928 World Series Yankees.jpeg
1928 World Series Yankees.jpeg

Add a photo or record for George Ruth

Show More

Personal Details

Full Name:
George Herman Ruth Jr 3
Also known as:
Babe, Bambino, Sultan Of Swat 3
Full Name:
George Ruth 1
Also known as:
Babe Ruth 2
06 Feb 1895 1
Baltimore, Maryland 2
Male 2
16 Aug 1948 2
Aug 1948 1
New York, New York 2
Cause: Cancer 2
Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne NY 3
Physical Description:
Height: 6' 2" 3
Weight/Build: 215 / Heavy 3
Eye Color: Brown 3
Hair Color: Dark Brown 3
Mother: Katherine (Schamberger) Ruth 3
Claire Merritt Hodgson 3
17 Apr 1929 3
Helen Woodford 3
17 Oct 1914 3
Boston MA 3
Spouse Death Date: 11 Jan 1929 3
Don't let the fear of striking out hold you back 3
Every Strike Brings Me Closer To My Next Homerun 3
It's Hard To Beat A Person Who Never Gives Up 3
Shirt Maker, Baseball Player 3
Catholic 3
Race or Ethnicity:
German 3
Employer: Boston Braves 2
Position: Baseball Player 2
Place: Boston, MA 2
Start Date: 1935 2
End Date: 1935 2
Employer: Boston Red Sox 2
Position: Baseball Player 2
Place: Boston, MA 2
Start Date: 1914 2
End Date: 1919 2
Employer: New York Yankees 2
Position: Baseball Player 2
Place: New York, New York 2
Start Date: 1920 2
End Date: 1934 2
Social Security:
Social Security Number: ***-**-3983 1

Looking for more information about George Ruth?

Search through millions of records to find out more.


99 Cool Facts About Babe Ruth

Growing Up

1. His real name was George Herman Ruth, as was his father’s. He is the only player with that last name in major league history.

2. His birth date is now widely accepted as Feb. 6, 1895, but Ruth lived his entire life convinced that he was born on Feb. 7, 1894. The birth certificate with that date was for an unnamed male child in the Ruth family. Ruth’s parents lost six children in infancy, including two pairs of twins, with only George and his sister Mary Margaret, known as Mamie, surviving.

3. Ruth lived for a time on the site of what is now Oriole Park at Camden Yards, above one of his father’s string of saloons.

4. Before he turned eight, Ruth had already chewed tobacco and drank whiskey for the first time. He was sent to live at St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, a Catholic reform school, and listed as incorrigible.

5. Each boy was supposed to learn a trade for a possible career. Ruth’s was to be a shirt maker.

6. Ruth was still living at St. Mary’s when he signed with the Baltimore Orioles of the International League in Feb. 1914. He would be in the major leagues less than five months later.

Early Years in Baseball

7. He hit his first professional home run on March 7, 1914, in Fayetteville, N.C., during an intrasquad game in which he played shortstop.

8. It was while with the Orioles, a veteran team populated by numerous former major leaguers, that Ruth was given his famous nickname. No one knows who first called him Babe.

9. The Orioles sold Ruth to the Boston Red Sox on July 9, 1914 along with two other players as part of a fire sale by team owner Jack Dunn, who found himself in financial straits when the presence of a Baltimore franchise in the new Federal League obliterated the Orioles’ attendance.

10. Ruth made his major league debut at Fenway Park on July 11, 1914 as a starting pitcher. He pitched seven innings for the win but was 0-for-2 for at the plate, striking out against Cleveland lefty Willie Mitchell in his first major league at-bat.

11. Ruth’s first official professional home run came on Sept. 5, 1914 for the Providence Grays of the International League, where he had been sent by the Red Sox for more seasoning the month before.

12. Ruth’s first major league hit was a double off the Yankees’ Leonard Cole at Fenway Park on Oct. 2, 1914 in a game he started and won.

13. On Oct. 17, 1914, less than two weeks after his rookie season ended, Ruth married Helen Woodford, a 16-year-old coffee shop waitress he had met on his first day in Boston.

14. Ruth was a sidearming power pitcher who made 127 appearances on the mound before appearing at any other position in the field.


15. In Ken Burns’ documentary Baseball, noted journalist and author Dan Okrent said Ruth was “the best lefthanded pitcher of the 1910s, without question, in the American League.” Indeed, among AL lefties with at least 1,000 IP in the decade, Ruth had the lowest ERA (2.19) and highest winning percentage (.659) while ranking fourth in wins, tied for fourth in shutouts and ninth in strikeouts.

16. In 1916, he went 23-12 and led the American League with nine shutouts and a 1.75 ERA in 323 2/3 innings.

17. In 1917, he went 24-13 with a 2.01 ERA in 326 1/3 innings and led the AL with 35 complete games.

18. In six seasons with Ruth, the Red Sox won three World Series titles. In 107 seasons without him they have won four.

19. Ruth’s first World Series appearance came in 1915. He grounded out to first base as a pinch-hitter and did not pitch in Boston’s five-game win over the Phillies.

20. In Game 2 of the 1916 World Series, Ruth pitched 14-inning complete game to beat the Dodgers 2-1. It is still the most innings ever thrown by one pitcher in a single postseason game.

21. Ruth posted a 0.87 ERA in three World Series starts and his record of 29 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in the Fall Classic stood from 1918 until Whitey Ford broke it in 1961.

22. On June 23, 1917 at Fenway Park, Ruth was ejected by home plate umpire Brick Owens for arguing balls and strikes after walking the first batter of a game against the Senators. Ernie Shore replaced him. The baserunner, Senators second baseman Ray Morgan, was caught stealing, and Shore then retired all 26 men he faced in a 4-0 Red Sox win. Officially, Ruth is credited for participating in a combined no-hitter, but Shore is not credited with pitching a perfect game.

23. Ruth’s first major league home run came against the Yankees at the Polo Grounds on May 6, 1915. Exactly three years later, in the same ballpark, Ruth hit a home run in his first start at a position (1B) other than pitcher.

24. Soon after that first appearance as a position player, Ruth began to refuse to pitch, leading to tension with Red Sox manager Ed Barrow. In early July, Ruth attempted to leave the team and join a shipyard team in Chester, Pa., to avoid a fine from Barrow. Ruth quickly caved to the threat of legal action by Red Sox owner Harry Frazee and rejoined the Red Sox without playing for the shipyard team.

25. Ruth led the American League in home runs for the first time in 1918, tying the A’s Tillie Walker with 11 in the war-shortened season. He also led the league in strikeouts (58), slugging (.555) and OPS (.966).

26. Ruth is the only player since the turn of the 20th century to lead his league in Triple Crown categories as both a hitter and a pitcher and he did it in the span of three years.

27. Ruth held out in spring training in 1919, ultimately landing a three-year contract worth $10,000. He threatened a hold out again after the 1919 season, saying he was worth twice the salary he had agreed to before that season. Frazee, still in debt from his purchase of the Red Sox three years earlier, responded by selling Ruth to the Yankees on Jan. 3, 1920, for $100,000 and a $300,000 loan secured by a mortgage on Fenway Park.

28. Apocrypha, Part I: Contrary to popular belief, Frazee’s successful production of the play No, No Nanette – which featured the song “Tea For Two” – had nothing to do with Ruth or the money the Yankees sent to the Red Sox to acquire him. Frazee sold the Red Sox two years before No, No Nanette hit Broadway in 1925 and always kept his theater and baseball finances separate.

The Yankees Years: 1920s

29. While the phrase “The Curse of the Bambino” did not come into being for more than half a century, it didn’t take long to notice a dramatic change in fortunes between Ruth’s old and new teams. Between 1920 and 1964, the Yankees won 29 American League pennants and 20 World Series. The Red Sox won one pennant and no World Series titles.

30. Ruth was one of 17 players Frazee traded or sold to the Yankees between December 1918 and July 1923, when he finally sold the team. On New York’s first World Series title team of 1923, half the regular players and six of the seven pitchers to throw more than a dozen innings were acquired from Frazee.

31. During his first spring training with the Yankees in 1920, Ruth went into the stands after a heckler who subsequently pulled a knife on him, but Ernie Shore, who preceded Ruth to the Yankees, intervened and any actual violence was avoided.

32. The famous line “I don’t room with Ruth, I room with his suitcase,” a reference to Ruth’s late-night proclivities, has been attributed to two former Yankees: outfielder Ping Bodie, his first roommate with New York, and second baseman Jimmie Reese, who roomed with Ruth a decade later.

33. Ruth broke the single-season home run record in three consecutive seasons, with 29 in 1919, 54 in 1920 and 59 in 1921. Prior to Ruth, the record was 27 and had been set in 1884 by the Chicago White Stockings’ Ned Williamson, who played in a home ballpark in which the rightfield wall was just 196 feet from home plate.

34. Only five teams hit more home runs than Ruth did by himself in 1919 (not counting Ruth’s own Red Sox), and only two teams had more than his total in 1920 (this time including Ruth’s Yankees, who hit 61 in addition to his 54). Ruth also hit more home runs than half of the teams in baseball in 1921.

35. Ruth is often credited with saving baseball in the wake of the Black Sox scandal, though his influence is often overstated. What is certain is that in 1920, Ruth’s first year with the Yankees, they became the first team ever to top 1,000,000 in attendance, and outdrew the majors’ least-attended team, the Boston Braves, by more than 1.1 million fans.

36. Ruth moved into first place on the career home run list in 1921 with No. 139, breaking the record of Hall of Fame first baseman Roger Connor that had stood since 1895. Ruth ultimately expanded that record to 714 home runs, more than five times Connor’s career total. It was broken by Hank Aaron in 1974.

37. Ruth hit 575 home runs after breaking Connor’s record. Only nine players have hit that many in their entire careers since, and four of those nine have been implicated as steroid users.

38. Ruth’s record-setting home run came off Tigers reliever Bert Cole in Detroit on July 18, 1921. Hall of Fame historian Bill Jenkinson once estimated it as the longest home run ever hit. Ruth hit the ball clear out of Navin Field (Tiger Stadium) to center field, a shot Jenkinson estimates would have traveled 575 feet unencumbered. Jenkinson credits Ruth with the three longest home runs ever hit as well as two more tied for fourth place.

39. In 1921, Ruth had what may have been his finest season. He hit .378/.512/.846 with 59 home runs, 171 RBIs and 177 runs scored. The home run and RBI totals were single-season records.

40. Apocrypha, Part II: The Baby Ruth candy bar was introduced in 1921, but the Curtiss Candy Company officially claimed that it was named after Ruth Cleveland, the late daughter of former president Grover Cleveland. There are plenty of reasons to believe that story was merely a legal ploy to allow Curtiss to name the confection after Babe Ruth without requiring his permission. Most notably, Ruth Cleveland died of diphtheria in 1904 at the age of 12, 17 years before the candy bar was introduced at the height of the slugger’s popularity.

41. After signing Ruth for a vaudeville tour after the 1921 World Series, Edward F. Albee II, adoptive grandfather of the famous playwright, wrote Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, author ofPygmalion (the source material for My Fair Lady) and mentioned Ruth. Shaw’s famous response was, “Sorry, never heard of her. Whose baby is Ruth?”

42. In 1921, Ruth and Helen adopted a daughter, Dorothy, who learned in 1980 that she was actually the biological daughter of Ruth and Juanita Jennings, a women she knew as a close family friend and with whom Ruth had one of his many affairs.

43. The Yankees had never been to the World Series before acquiring Ruth from Boston, but they went to seven World Series in his 15 years with the team, winning four of them. Their first pennant came in 1921. Their first championship came in 1923 in the third of three consecutive World Series confrontations with John McGraw’s New York Giants.

44. McGraw and Giants owner Horace Stoneham soured on sharing the Polo Grounds with the ascendant Yankees in the wake of Ruth’s arrival as the major league’s premier gate attraction and attempted to evict them after the 1921 season. The Yankees wrangled one more lease out of Stoneham, but also set about building their own ballpark on a plot of land in the Bronx to be ready in time for the 1923 season.

45. Ruth and teammate Bob Meusel were suspended for the first six weeks of the 1922 season by new baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis for participating in a postseason barnstorming tour in October 1921 in violation of league rules. Ruth missed the Yankees’ first 33 games.

46. Ruth was appointed Yankees captain prior to the 1922 season, but on May 25, just his sixth game after returning from his suspension, he was ejected and responded to the taunts of the home crowd by jumping into the stands in pursuit of a heckler. Ruth didn’t catch his man, but he was suspended for one game, fined and stripped of his captaincy.

47. Ruth incurred two more suspensions in 1922. In late June, he was suspended for three days after charging in from leftfield to dispute a call at second base and calling umpire Bill Dinneen, “one of the vilest names known,” according to AL president Ban Johnson. Furious about his three-game suspension, Ruth got into it with Dinneen during batting practice the next day, resulting in Johnson adding two more days. On Aug. 30, he was ejected after responding to a called third strike with an obscenity and was again suspended for three days.

48. After losing a ball in the sun in the Polo Grounds’ leftfield on July 16, 1922, Ruth refused to ever play the sun field again, and he didn’t. His position thereafter was determined by the geographic orientation of the ballpark in which he was playing. For the rest of his career, Ruth played exclusively in rightfield at the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium, as well as in Washington and Cleveland but exclusively in leftfield at the other AL cities (Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and St. Louis).

49. Yankee Stadium, dubbed “The House That Ruth Built” by sportswriter Fred Lieb, opened on April 18, 1923. Ruth hit the new ballpark’s first home run, a three-run shot in the third inning off the Red Sox’ Howard Ehmke, the key blow in the Yankees’ 4-1 victory.


50. Ruth hit 259 home runs in 12 seasons at Yankee Stadium, second only to Mickey Mantle’s 266, which came in 18 seasons.

51. In July 1923, Ruth began using a new type of bat devised by retired future Hall of Famer Sam Crawford that was composed of four pieces of wood glued together. Ruth’s use of the bat and the publicity it engenderedprompted Ban Johnson to institute a rule change in late August insisting that all bats be made of a single piece of wood. From his reported first use of the bat on July 2 to the institution of the ban on August 28, Ruth hit .457/.586/.882 with 18 home runs in 53 games.

52. In 1923, Ruth hit for his highest single-season average: .393. He came within four hits of batting .400.

53. Ruth won just a single Most Valuable Player award in his career, that coming in 1923. There was no such award from 1915 to 1921 and repeat winners were ineligible until the Baseball Writers Association of America took over the voting in 1931.

54. However, he led the American League, pitchers included, in wins above replacement ( version) 10 times, in OPS+ 12 times, in OPS 13 times and in two of the three Triple Crown categories seven times.

55. On July 5, 1924, Ruth knocked himself unconscious by running head-first into a concrete wall in foul territory at Washington’s Griffith Stadium. He was out for five minutes, but he not only stayed in the game, he went 3-for-3 with two doubles and then played the nightcap of that day’s doubleheader as well.

56. Among players who debuted in the Modern Era (1901-present), Ruth has the seventh highest career batting average (.342) but won just a single batting title: .378 in 1924.

57. Apocrypha, Part III: Ruth missed the first 41 games of the 1925 season with what was termed “the bellyache heard ‘round the world” and has subsequently been rumored to have been a sexually transmitted disease. According to biographer Robert Creamer, however, Ruth had surgery to address an intestinal abscess three days after Opening Day. Ruth spent a month and a half in a Manhattan hospital before rejoining the team.

58. Ruth returned to the lineup on June 1, the day before Lou Gehrig replaced Wally Pipp at first base, but was never fully himself that season. His .290 batting average, .393 on-base percentage, .543 slugging percentage, .936 OPS and 137 OPS+ were all lows for his 15 seasons with New York. That season, the Yankees posted their only losing record between 1919 and 1964.

59. Tired of Ruth’s carousing and insubordination,Yankees manager Miller Huggins suspended Ruth indefinitely and fined him $5,000 after Ruth arrived late the ballpark on Aug. 29, 1925. Huggins made Ruth apologize for his transgressions in front of the rest of the team before finally reinstating him on Sept. 7.

60. Apocrypha, Part IV: Prior to the 1926 World Series, 11-year-old Johnny Sylvester was hospitalized after falling off a horse. A friend of his father brought him autographed baseballs from the Yankees and a promise from Ruth that he would hit a home run for him. Ruth homered four times in the Series against the Cardinals and visited the boy in the hospital after it was over. Sylvester eventually recovered from his injuries. That sequence of events gave birth to a myth in which Ruth visited a dying boy in the hospital and promised he would hit a home run for him that afternoon and the boy experienced a miraculous recovery after Ruth delivered.

61. With the Yankees trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 1926 World Series, Ruth drew a two-out walk to put the tying run on base against the Cardinals’ Pete Alexander. Ruth was then caught stealing second for the final out of the Series. It remains the only time in World Series history that the final out was recorded on a caught stealing.

62. Ruth hit three home runs in Game 4 of that year’s World Series, a feat he duplicated against the Cardinals two years later, again in Game 4. That record has since been tied three times (by Reggie Jackson, Albert Pujols, and Pablo Sandoval), but never broken, and Ruth is the only man to have hit three home runs in any postseason game twice.

63. Ruth’s 15 World Series home runs were a record until Mickey Mantle broke it in 1964. Ruth hit .326/.467/.744 in 10 Fall Classics.

64. Ruth set the single-season home run record for the final time in 1927 with 60. That mark stood until 1961, when Roger Maris broke it only to have baseball commissioner (and Ruth’s former ghostwriter) Ford Frick insist that Maris’s record be listed separately since he needed more games than Ruth had in ’27 to break the record. To this day, Ruth and Maris are the only players to hit 60 or more home runs in a season who have not been linked to steroid use.

65. In 1927, Ruth and Gehrig became the first pair of teammates in baseball history to each hit 30 home runs. Gehrig walloped 47 to go with Ruth’s record 60.

66. Ruth and Gehrig had a falling out in 1932 over a remark Gehrig’s mother made about how Ruth’s wife dressed his two daughters, to which Gehrig took offense. The two did not speak again outside of the context of a game until Gehrig’s retirement ceremony on July 4, 1939.

67. Ruth was estranged from his first wife by the time she died in a fire in January 1929 at her new home where she was all but officially living as another man’s wife. Three months later Ruth married Claire Hodgson. Ruth adopted Claire’s daughter Julia, who would throw out the first pitch before the final game at Yankee Stadium in 2008.

68. Apocrypha Part V: Ruth first wore his iconic No. 3 – which came from his spot in the batting order – in 1929 but contrary to popular belief, the Yankees were not the first team to wear numbers on their backs. The Indians did so briefly in 1916 and 1917, the Cardinals did so for a short time in 1923, and the Indians made them a permanent addition in 1929, beating the Yankees to the punch when Opening Day in the Bronx was rained out.

The Yankees Years: 1930s

69. Ruth never wore the Yankees’ famous interlocking NY logo on his jersey. It didn’t become a permanent part of the Yankees’ jerseys until 1936, two years after Ruth left the team.

70. Apocrypha, Part VI: Ruth has long been credited with saying, when asked in 1931 why he should make more money than President Herbert Hoover, “Why not? I had a better year than he did,” but there is no record of such a statement.

71. Ruth’s top single-season salary was $80,000, which he made in both 1930 and 1931. He was the first player ever to earn $50,000 in a season when he made $52,000 in 1922. According to a CPI inflation calculator from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, $80,000 in 1930 is the equivalent of a little more than $1.1 million today. (For the record, President Hoover made $75,000 in 1931).

72. On April 2, 1931, Ruth was struck out in an exhibition game with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts by a 17-year-old female pitcher named Jackie Mitchell. It has never been determined accurately whether or not it was legitimate or a publicity stunt.

73. Ruth’s famous “Called Shot” home run came in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series against the Cubs. Ruth was being taunted by the Cubs and made a gesture before hitting his second home run of the game, though to whom and in what direction he was pointing have never been accurately determined. Nevertheless, the headline in an afternoon edition of the New York World-Telegramfrom the day of the game read “Ruth Calls Shot As He Puts Homer No. 2 In Side Pocket.” Did he actually call his shot? Judge for yourself:

74. Ruth made just two All-Star teams because the first All-Star Game wasn’t played until 1933, his penultimate season with the Yankees, when he was 38 years old. Nonetheless, Ruth hit the first home run All-Star Game history, a two-run homer off the Cardinals’ Bill Hallahan in the third inning of the 1933 game that made the difference in the AL’s 4-2 victory.

75. Ruth pitched five more times after leaving the Red Sox, first in 1920 and then twice in 1921. He then stayed off the mound for nearly a decade before pitching a complete game victory against Boston in the 1930 regular season finale. He replicated the feat against the Red Sox three years later, beating them on Oct. 1, 1933, one year to the day after his alleged Called Shot home run.

76. Ruth badly wanted to be a major league manager, but his opportunities were limited. The reason why is perhaps best summed up by Yankees GM Ed Barrow, who said, “How can he manage other men when he can’t even manage himself?”

77. After the 1934 season, his last with the Yankees, Ruth went on a barnstorming tour of Japan led by Connie Mack, then proceeded with Claire to circumnavigate the globe, a trip that took a total of four months. Ruth hit 14 home runs in 17 games against the Japanese All-Stars as Mack’s team went undefeated. A bust of Ruth erected during that trip still stands outside of Osaka’s Koshien Stadium.

78. The Yankees released Ruth after the 1934 season with the understanding that the Boston Braves would then sign him.

79. On May 25, 1935, Ruth went 4-for-4 with three home runs in Pittsburgh. His last major league hit was his third home run on that day, a solo shot that was the first ever to clear the roof of the double-decked stands in Forbes Field’s rightfield and considered the longest home run in the history of that ballpark, which was home to Pirates games from 1909 to 1970.

80. Ruth played five more games to honor his commitment to the Braves’ owner that he would play in every city on that road trip. In his final game, on May 30, he struck out against Phillies starter Jim Bivin in the top of the first inning, then hurt his knee chasing a fly ball in leftfield the bottom of the first and came out of the game. He was replaced by Hal Lee. Two days later he officially retired.

The Records

Nat Fein/AP

81. Ruth retired as the career record-holder in home runs, RBIs, total bases, walks, strikeouts, on-base percentage and slugging percentage as well as the single-season record-holder in home runs, total bases, walks and slugging, and he was briefly the single-season record-holder in RBIs during his career.

82. Ruth set the single-season record for RBIs with 171 in 1921, though future teammate Lou Gehrig broke that record just six years later. Ruth’s career total of 2,220 stood as the record until Hank Aaron broke it in 1975.

83. Ruth set the single season record for walks twice, with 150 in 1920 and 170 in 1923. The latter mark stood until 2001, when Barry Bonds walked 177 times. Ruth held the career mark for bases on balls from 1930-2001 when Rickey Henderson passed him.

84. Ruth never struck out 100 times in a season, though he did retire as the career strikeouts leader with 1,330. He no longer ranks in the top 100 in that category.

85. Ruth set the single-season record for total bases with 457 in 1921 and still holds it today.

86. Ruth set the single-season record for slugging percentage in 1920 at .847. It stood until Bonds broke it in 2001. Ruth’s career slugging percentage of .690 remains the major league record. Ted Williams is second at .634.

87. Ruth’s career on-base percentage of .474 is second behind only Williams’ .482.

88. Ruth’s career OPS of 1.164 remains the record, as does his career OPS+ of 206. The latter stat adjusts OPS for a player’s home ballpark and compares it to his league with 100 being league average. Ruth’s career OPS+ is thus more than twice as good as an average mark. By way of comparison, the last player to have a single-season OPS or OPS+ higher than Ruth’s career was Barry Bonds in 2004.

89. Ruth is the career leader in’s wins above replacement (183.8, including a record 163.2 as a hitter) and is the owner of the top three single-season bWAR totals of all time: 14.0 in 1923, 12.9 in 1921, and 12.4 in 1927.

90. Ruth led the majors in home runs 11 times, slugging 11 times, walks 11 times, OBP 10 times, runs eight times, RBIs six times, total bases six times, OPS and OPS+ 11 times and bWAR seven times.

91. Ruth was one of the five initial inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 along with Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson. Out of that group, only Cobb had a higher percentage of the vote than the 95.1 percent Ruth received just six months after his retirement.

After Baseball

92. Ruth’s last official appearance as a uniformed member of a major league team was as a first base coach for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1938, a job he took mid-season, starting on June 19. He was mainly a gate attraction and would take batting practice and play in exhibition games. Ruth never did get a chance to manage a major league team.

93. Ruth appeared in four feature films as himself or a thinly fictionalized version of himself. The last was The Pride of the Yankees, which was filmed the year after Gehrig’s death in 1942. Ruth lost 40 pounds to play his only slightly-younger self in the film.

94. On Aug. 24, 1942, Ruth hit a home run off Walter Johnson at Yankee Stadium in a charity game for Army-Navy relief in front of a crowd of more than 69,000. The ball actually curved foul, but Ruth rounded the bases and tipped his cap anyway. He appeared in two more charity games in 1943, the latter at Yankee Stadium. They were the last organized game he ever took part in.

95. With Ruth’s health failing, April 27, 1947 was declared Babe Ruth Day around the major leagues by commissioner Happy Chandler. Ruth famously addressed the crowd at Yankee Stadium that day, his voice reduced to a hoarse croak by cancer. You can listen to Ruth’s speech here.

96. Ruth’s final appearance at a ballpark came on June 13, 1948 at Yankee Stadium. Photographer Nat Fein’s famous photograph of Ruth from that day, in full uniform, shot from behind while leaning on a bat, won the Pulitzer Prize.

97. Ruth’s No. 3 was the second Yankee number ever retired, but while Ruth was the first to wear it, he was far from the last. Seven other Yankees wore No. 3, and from 1935 to 1948 it was never unassigned. Outfielder Cliff Mapes was wearing it in 1948 when it was retired. Mapes switched to No. 7 the next year. After he was traded to the Browns in mid-1951, No. 7 went to a rookie named Mickey Mantle.

98. Ruth’s last public appearance came on July 26, 1948, when he attended the premier of The Babe Ruth Story, the film starring Williams Bendix as Ruth. He left before the film was over and returned to the hospital.

99. Ruth died of throat cancer on Aug. 16, 1948 at the age of 53. His body lied in state at Yankee Stadium for two days.

The New York Times, 6 Jan 1920, Tue, Page 16

Babe Ruth, Baseball's Great Star and Idol of Children, Had a Career Both Dramatic and Bizarre. NY Times Obit


Probably nowhere in all the imaginative field of fiction could one find a career more dramatic and bizarre than that portrayed in real life by George Herman Ruth. Known the world over, even in foreign lands where baseball is never played, as the Babe, he was the boy who rose from the obscurity of a charitable institution in Baltimore to a position as the leading figure in professional baseball. He was also its greatest drawing-card, its highest salaried performer--at least of his day--and the idol of millions of youngsters throughout the land.

A creation of the times, he seemed to embody all the qualities that a sport-loving nation demanded of its outstanding hero. For it has always been debatable whether Ruth owed his fame and the vast fortune it made for him more to his ability to smash home runs in greater quantity than any other player in the history of the game or to a strange personality that at all times was intensely real and "regular," which was the one fixed code by which he lived.

He made friends by the thousands and rarely, if ever, lost any of them. Affable, boisterous and good-natured to a fault, he was always as accessible to the newsboy on the corner as to the most dignified personage in worldly affairs. More, he could be very much at each with both.

He could scarcely recall a name, even of certain intimates with whom he frequently came in contact, but this at no time interfered with the sincerity of his greeting. Indeed, by a singular display of craft, he overcame this slight deficiency with consummate skill. If you looked under 40 it was "Hello, kid, how are you?" And if you appeared above that line of demarcation it was "Hello, doc, how's everything going?"

How Ruth Aided Small Boy

The story is told of the case of Johnny Sylvester, a youngster whose life doctors had despaired of unless something unusual happened to shock him out of a peculiar malady. The boy's uncle, recalling how fond he always had been of baseball, conceived the idea of sending word to Babe Ruth and asking his aid.

The next day the Babe, armed with bat, glove and half a dozen signed baseballs, made one of his frequent pilgrimages to a hospital. The boy, unexpectedly meeting his idol face to face, was so overjoyed that he was cured--almost miraculously.

A year later an elderly man accosted the Babe in a hotel lobby and, after receiving the customary whole-hearted greeting of "Hello, doc," said:

"Babe, I don't know whether you remember me, but I'm Johnny Sylvester's uncle and I want to tell you the family will never forget what you did for us. Johnny is getting along fine."

"That's great," replied the Babe. "Sure, I remember you. Glad to hear Johnny is doing so well. Bring him around some time."

After a few more words they parted and no sooner had the man removed himself from earshot than the Babe turned to a baseball writer at his elbow and asked:

"Now, who the devil was Johnny Sylvester?"

Never Lost Carefree Spirit

Nor must this be mistaken for affectation, for there was never a doubt that the Babe at all times was tremendously sincere in his desire to appear on friendly terms with all the world. And though in later years he acquired a certain polish which he lacked utterly in his early career, he never lost his natural self nor his flamboyant, carefree mannerisms, which at all times made him a show apart from the ball field.

Single-handed, he tore the final game of the 1928 world's series in St. Louis to shreds with his mighty bat by hitting three home runs over the right-field pavilion. That night, returning to New York, he went on a boisterous rampage and no one on the train got any sleep, including his employer, the late Colonel Jacob Ruppert.

Such was the blending of qualities that made Babe Ruth a figure unprecedented in American life. A born showman off the field and a marvelous performer on it, he had an amazing flair for doing the spectacular at the most dramatic moment.

Of his early days in Baltimore even Babe himself was, or pretended to be, somewhat vague during his major league baseball career. Thus various versions of his childhood were printed over the years with neither denial nor confirmation from Ruth as to their accuracy.

However, the following account of his boyhood years appeared in a national magazine under Ruth's own "by-line:"

"In the first place I was not an orphan. * * * My mother, whose maiden name was Schanberg, lived until I was 13. My father, George Herman Ruth, lived until my second year in the majors. Few fathers ever looked more like their sons than my pop and I. My mother was mainly Irish, and was called Kate. My father was of German extraction. It is not true that our family name was Erhardt, as has been repeatedly written. Or Ehrhardt, or Gearhardt.

"But I hardly knew my parents. I don't want to make any excuses for or place the blame for my shortcomings as a kid completely on persons or places. * * * Yet I probably was a victim of circumstances. I spent most the first seven years of my life living over my father's saloon at 426 West Camden Street, Baltimore. * * *

"On June 13, 1902, when I was 7 years old my father and mother placed me in St. Mary's Industrial School in Baltimore. It has since been called an orphanage and a reform school. It was, in fact, a training school for orphans incorrigibles, delinquents, boys whose homes had been broken by divorce, runaways picked up on the streets of Baltimore and children of poor parents who had no other means of providing an education for them.

"I was listed as an incorrigible, and I guess I was. * * * I chewed tobacco when I was 7, not that I enjoyed it especially, but, from my observation around the saloon it seemed the normal thing to do.

Gaps in School Life

"I was released from St. Mary's in July, 1902, but my parents returned me there in November of the same year. My people moved to a new neighborhood just before Christmas, 1902, and I was released to them again. This time I stayed 'out' until 1904, but then they put me back again and I was not released again until 1908. Shortly after my mother died I was returned to St. Mary's once more by my father. He took me back home in 1911 and returned me in 1912. I stayed in school--learning to be a tailor and shirtmaker--until Feb. 27, 1914. The last item on my 'record' at St. Mary's was a single sentence, written in the flowing hand of one of the teachers. It read:

"'He is going to join the Balt. Baseball Team.'"

Ruth said he played in the band at St. Mary's and always pointed with pride to this accomplishment, frequently reminding friends that he also was a musician as well as a ball player. Curiously enough, however, no one ever discovered what instrument the Babe played, although he always stoutly denied that it was the bass drum.

But baseball captivated his fancy most and now began a train of circumstances that was to carry this black-haired, raw-boned youngster to fame and a fortune that has been estimated as close to $1,000,000. It also happened that Brother Benedict, one of the instructors at St. Mary's, was a great lover of the national pastime.

Using baseball, therefore, as the most plausible means to a laudable end in keeping the Babe out of mischief as much as possible, the good Brother encouraged the youngster to play as much as he could. The Babe scarcely needed encouragement. Every hour he was allowed to spare from his classrooms found him on the ball field.

He batted left-handed and threw left-handed. He played on his school team, also on a semi- professional team. He also played pretty nearly every position on the field. At the age of 19 he astounded even his sponsor, Brother Benedict, who now saw a real means of livelihood ahead for the young man, though little dreaming at the time to what heights he would soar.

He recommended the Babe to his friend, the late Jack Dunn, then owner of the Baltimore Orioles of the International League, and Ruth received a trial, alternating in the outfield and in the pitcher's box. That was in 1914. The same summer he was sold to the Boston Red Sox for $2,900, and after a brief period of farming out with Providence was recalled to become a regular.

Under the direction of Bill Carrigan, then manager of the Red Sox, Ruth rapidly developed into one of the most talented left-handed pitchers ever in the majors. He had tremendous speed and a baffling cross-fire curve, which greatly impressed Ed Barrow, later to become associated with Colonel Ruppert as general manager of the Yankees, Barrow because the leader of the Red Sox in 1918 and gave much time to Ruth's development.

But even then he also displayed unmistakable talent for batting a ball with tremendous power and with unusual frequency, and Barrow, one of baseball's greatest men of vision, decided to convert Ruth permanently into an outfielder on the theory that a great hitter could be built into a greater attraction than a great pitcher.

It was quite a momentous decision, for in the 1918 world's series against the Cubs Ruth had turned in two masterful performances on the mound for the Red Sox, winning both his games. He had also turned in one victory for the Red Sox against Brooklyn in the world's series of 1916.

But Barrow had also seen Ruth, in 1918, hit eleven home runs, an astonishing number for that era, particularly for a pitcher, and his mind was made up.

The next year--1919--Ruth, pitching only occasionally, now and then helping out at first base, but performing mostly in the outfield, cracked twenty-nine home runs and the baseball world began to buzz as it hadn't since the advent of Ty Cobb and the immortal Christy Mathewson. This total surpassed by four the then accepted major league record for home runs in a season, set by Buck Freeman with the Washington Club in 1899.

But it was the following year--1920--that was to mark the turning point, not only in Babe Ruth's career but in the entire course of organized baseball. Indeed, baseball men are almost in accord in the belief that Babe Ruth, more than any individual, and practically single-handed, rescued the game from what threatened to be one of its darkest periods. Not only rescued it, but diverted it into new channels that in the next decade were to reap an unprecedented golden harvest.

The first sensation came early that winter when Ruth was sold by the late Harry Frazee, then owner of the Red Sox, to the Yankees, owned jointly by the two Colonels, Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston, for a reported price of $125,000. It may even have been more, for in making the purchase the Yankee owners also assumed numerous financial obligations then harassing the Boston owner, and the matter was very involved. But whatever the price, it was a record sum, and New York prepared to welcome its latest hero prospect.

The Babe did not disappoint. The Yankees were then playing their home games at the Polo Grounds, home of the Giants, and before the close of the 1920 season they were already giving their more affluent rivals and landlords a stiff run for the city's baseball patronage.

Ruth surpassed all expectations by crashing out the unheard-of total of fifty-four home runs and crowds which hitherto had lavished their attention on the Giants now jammed the historic Polo Grounds to see the marvelous Bambino hit a homer.

Crisis in History of Game

But scarcely had the echoes from the thunderous roars that greeted the Ruthian batting feats subsided than another explosion was touched off that rattled the entire structure of baseball down to its sub-cellar. The scandal of the world's series of 1919 broke into print and through the winter of 1920-21 the "throwing" of that series by certain White Sox players to the Reds was on every tongue.

The baseball owners of both major leagues were in a panic, fearful that the public's confidence in what they had so proudly called America's national pastime had been shaken beyond repair. True, they had induced the late Kenesaw Mountain Landis, a Federal judge, to assume the position of High Commissioner with unlimited powers to safeguard against a repetition of such a calamity, but they feared it was not enough.

With considerable misgivings they saw the 1921 season get under way and then, as the popular song of the day ran, "Along Came Ruth."

Inside of a fortnight the fandom of the nation has forgotten all about the Black Sox, as they had come to be called, as its attention became centered in an even greater demonstration of superlative batting skill by the amazing Babe Ruth. Home runs began to scale off his bat in droves, crowds jammed ball parks in every city in which he appeared and when he closed the season with a total of fifty-nine circuit clouts, surpassing by five his own record of the year before, the baseball world lay at his feet.

In addition to that, the Yankees that year captured the first pennant ever won by New York in the American League, and Ruth was now fairly launched upon the first chapter of the golden harvest. With the help of his towering war club, the Yankees won again in 1922 and repeated in 1923, in addition to winning the world's championship that year.

Also in 1923 came into being the "House That Ruth Built," meaning the great Yankee Stadium with is seating capacity of more than 70,000, which Colonel Ruppert decided to erect the year previous in order to make himself clear and independent of the Giants, whose tenant he had been at the Polo Grounds. The right-field bleachers became "Ruthville." Homers soared into them in great abundance and the exploitation of Babe Ruth, the greatest slugger of all times, was at is height.

Spent Earnings Freely

But now there crept in a dark episode, decidedly less glamorous, though spectacular enough, and which must be chronicled in order to appreciate more fully the second chapter of the golden harvest. Money was now pouring upon the Babe and was being poured out as speedily. In 1921 he had drawn $20,000 and the following season he signed a five-year contract at $52,000 a season. In addition to this he was collecting royalties on all sorts of ventures.

But money meant nothing to the Babe, except as a convenient means for lavish entertainment. He gambled recklessly, lost and laughed uproariously. The Ruthian waistline began to assume alarming proportions. He still took his baseball seriously enough on the field, but training had become a horrible bore.

Of such phenomenal strength, there seemed to be no limits to his vitality or stamina. It was no trick at all for him to spend an evening roistering with convivial companions right through sun- up and until game time the next afternoon and then pound a home run.

Along in the 1924 season Colonel Ruppert began to fear he had made a mistake in having signed the Babe to that long-term contract at $52,000 per season which ran from 1922 to 1926 inclusive. The Yankees lost the pennant that year and there came ominous rumblings that Miller Huggins, the mite manager who had just piloted the Yankees through three successful pennant years, was not in harmony with the Babe at all.

There even had been trouble back in 1921 when Ruth openly flouted Commissioner Landis by playing on a barnstorming tour that fall after the limit date set by the commissioner. The following spring Landis, in order to demonstrate his authority, suspended Ruth for thirty days from the opening of the season.

But it was not until 1925 that the real crash came and high living proved as exacting in collecting its toll as the high commissioner. Coming north at the end of the training season Ruth collapsed at the railroad station at Asheville, N. C., from a complication of ailments.

He was helped aboard the train, carried off on a stretcher on the team's arrival in New York and spent weeks in a hospital. He did not appear again in a Yankee line-up until Jun 1.

Nor had all the lesson been yet fully learned. Later in the same campaign Huggins, exasperated beyond all measure at the Babe's wayward way of deporting himself, slapped a $5,000 fine on him for "misconduct off the ball field." It was the highest fine ever imposed on a ball player, and Ruth at first took it as a joke. But Huggins stuck by his guns, received the backing of Colonel Ruppert, who was now the sole owner of the club, and the fine came from the Babe's pay check.

Now the lesson was learned and another startling change came over the Babe. He became, almost overnight, one of Miller Huggins' staunchest supporters. He trained faithfully in 1926, hammered forty-seven homers as against a meager twenty-five in 1925, and started the Yankees on another pennant-winning era. Sixty homers, a new record sailed off his bat in 1927, and Ruth was a greater figure in baseball than ever.

Another pennant followed that year and still another in 1928, on top of which the Yankees swept through two world series triumphs in those two years without the loss of a single game.

Became Good Business Man

In the Spring of 1929, several months after his first wife, from whom he had been estranged for a number of years, died in a fire in Boston, the Babe married Mrs. Claire Hodgson, formerly an actress, and to her also is given a deal of credit for the complete reformation of the Babe, who in the closing years of his baseball activities trained as faithfully to fulfill what he considered his obligation to his public as it was humanly possible.

Simultaneously with this Ruth suddenly became a shrewd business man with an eye to the future. Giving heed to the advice of Colonel Ruppert and Ed Barrow, the Babe invested his earnings carefully. In 1927 he became the highest salaried player of his time with a three-year contract at $70,000 a year. In 1930 he signed a two-year contract at $80,000 per season, but in 1932 acceding to economic pressure of the times, accepted a $75,000 stipend for one season.

That proved an excellent investment, for the Yankees won another pennant that year and defeated the Cubs in four straight games, Ruth causing a sensation by indicating to the spectators in Chicago where he meant to hit the ball when he made two home runs in the third game of the series for the championship. The next year saw a further decline in the salary of the star to $52,000, and in 1934 he signed for $35,000.

At the close of his baseball career it was estimated that in his twenty-two years in the major leagues he had earned in salaries $896,000, plus $41,445 as his share of world series receipts. In addition, he was reputed to have made $1,000,000 from endorsements, barnstorming tours, movies and radio appearances.

As a consequence, when he retired the Babe was able to live in comfort, maintaining a large apartment on New York's West Side. For, despite his earlier extravagances, he later invested so well he was able to realize a monthly income of $2,500 by the time he had reached 45.

In addition to the great crowds he had drawn steadily to major league parks, he also brought vast sums into the Yankee coffers from spring exhibition tours. In 1929 and 1930 the Yanks booked two tours through Texas and the Middle West on their way north from the training camp in Florida and played to record-smashing crowds that stormed hotel lobbies and blocked traffic in all directions to get a glimpse of baseball's most famous character.

And through all this new homage showered upon him, he steadfastly remained the same Babe, more serious-minded, but as cordial and affable as ever. The youngsters he worshipped possibly as much as they worshipped him. In Waco, Tex., he broke up an exhibition game by inviting some of the kids to come out on the field and roll around on the grass. They poured out of the stands by the thousands, overran the field, swamped the local police and ended the game.

Ruth came to the parting of the ways with the Yankees after the 1934 season. He had always aspired to be a manager, and that Winter he asked Colonel Ruppert, with his accustomed bluntness, to make him leader of the New York team. Ruppert was satisfied with the results obtained by Joe McCarthy in winning the 1962 world series after coming from the Cubs in 1931 and refused. However, he said that he would not stand in the way of Ruth if the latter could find a place as manager.

The opening came in the spring of 1935, when Judge Emil Fuchs, then president of the Boston National League Club, offered Ruth a contract as a player at $25,000 a year, with a percentage from exhibition games and a percentage of the gain in the earnings of the club, together with a promise of becoming manager the following season. Ruppert gave Ruth his release and he joined the National League team at its training camp in St. Petersburg, Fla., that spring.

Ruth never was a success with the Braves. He was his old self as a batsman and player only in spots and the team sank into the National League cellar. On May 25, 1935, in Pittsburgh he showed the last flash of his former greatness when he batted three home runs in consecutive times at bat at Forbes Field, but a week later, on June 2, after a dispute with Fuchs he asked for and received his release. He had several offers from minor league teams after that, but refused them all.

It was not until June 17, 1938, that his chance came to re-enter the big leagues. Then he was named coach of the Dodgers. Burleigh Grimes, the manager of the team, recommending the move, said "you can't keep a man like that out of baseball." Although the team was a loser, Ruth entered into the work of upbuilding enthusiastically and was hailed with the usual acclaim around the circuit and in towns where he played in exhibition games.

Although Ruth's continued popularity helped the Dodgers to draw additional fans through their turnstiles, a service for which the club paid him a $15,000 salary, he was not re-engaged as coach at the close of the 1938 season.

It was then that Leo Durocher was appointed manager to succeed Grimes. Ruth, taking his dismissal in good spirit, explained that a new manger necessarily would want to make his own choice for the coaching jobs, and he wished the Dodgers good luck.

The Bambino once again became the retired business man, and as he returned to the role of "baseball's forgotten man," he increased his activities on the links. His name soon became associated with some of golf's leading players, while his scores consistently ran in the low 70's.

At World's Fair Baseball School

However, he never overlooked lending a hand to his first love wherever baseball offered him some opportunity for showing himself. During 1939 he appeared at the World's Fair baseball school in the role of instructor, took part in the old-timers' game in the baseball centennial celebration at Cooperstown, played a prominent role in the Lou Gehrig appreciation day ceremonies and in the spring of 1940 appeared for a time with a baseball training school at Palatka, Fla.

During 1941, Ruth, principally through the medium of his golfing prowess, stayed in the public eye. During the summer he engaged in a series of matches with his old diamond rival, Cobb, the proceeds going to the British War Relief Fund and the United Service Organizations. Cobb, victor in the first match in Boston, 3 and 2, lost the second match at Fresh Meadow, New York, 1 up on the nineteenth hole, but came back to defeat the Babe in the deciding tilt in Detroit, 3 and 2.

Later in the year Ruth signed a contract to appear in the Samuel Goldwyn motion picture based on the life of his famous team-mate, Lou Gehrig, with the Babe appearing as himself.

The Babe hit the headlines and frightened his friends before 1942 scarcely had begun. On the morning of Jan. 3 he was removed to a hospital in an ambulance, the reason being "an upset nervous condition,? partly brought on by an automobile accident in which he was involved.

But three weeks later Ruth was off on a hunting trip in up-State New York and by February was in Hollywood, teaching Gary Cooper (who was to portray Gehrig) how to bat left-handed and signing autographs for screen stars.

On April 9 Ruth went to the Hollywood Hospital suffering from pneumonia and described by his doctor as "a border line case," but two days later the Babe's countless friends and well-wishers were cheered by the same physician's statement: "I believe he is over the hump." Ruth was out of the hospital by April 22 and back on the movie lot to complete his work in the Gehrig film.

During that and succeeding war years Ruth answered any and all demands for his appearance at war bond rallies and charity enterprises. He played in golf tournaments, went bowling and sold bonds. On Aug. 23, 1942, he paired with the late Walter Johnson, another of baseball's immortals, at the Yankee Stadium to aid in a benefit show for two war services.

With Johnson pitching, the Babe came through, as he always had, by hitting a "home run" into the right field seats and "rounding the bases" via a short cut from first to third base. That was his final homer.

Wrong on War Prophecy

Late in 1943 Ruth proved a bad prophet when he predicted that major league baseball would become a war casualty in 1944, "if not sooner." His prophesying was as wholehearted as his ball playing had been, for he said: "It's a cinch they won't open the ball parks next year."

Although never realizing an ambition to manage a major league club, Ruth became manager for a day in mid-July of 1943, when he piloted a team of all-stars, including such players as Ted Williams and Dom DiMaggio, to a triumph over the Boston Braves as part of a charity field-day program in Boston. A dozen days later he filled the same role in a similar game at Yankee Stadium.

Ruth's activity in aiding war causes increased in 1944 and it was in March of that year that he was the subject of one of the oddest dispatches of the conflict. It came from Cape Gloucester, New Britain, where United States Marines were fighting the Japanese and recounted that when the little men charged the Marine liens their battle cry was:

"To hell with Babe Ruth!?

Babe's rumbling comment to that was:

"I hope every Jap that mentions my name gets shot--and to hell with the Japs anyway!"

The Babe didn't know, or care, that nine years before the Japanese sounded that battle cry a Japanese publisher had been assassinated by a Japanese fanatic and that Ruth was partly blamed for it. The assassin had said the publisher's crime was in sponsoring the Japanese tour of a group of American ball players, headed by Babe Ruth.

In June of 1944 Ruth went into the hospital once more, this time to have a cartilage removed from his knee. Reports immediately followed that he might try to play ball again as a pinch- hitter.

Early in 1946 Ruth took a trip to Mexico as a guest of the fabulous Pasquel brothers, "raiders" of American organized baseball. This resulted in a rumor that he would become commissioner of the Mexican National League, the Pasquel loop, but as usual nothing came of it.

On his return to New York Ruth disclosed that he had sought the manager's berth with the Newark club, owned by the Yankees, but that "all I got was a good pushing around" by Larry MacPhail. The Babe also praised the Pasquels and at the same time revealed that he had turned down an offer of $20,000 from the Federal League while getting $600 a season from Baltimore.

"I turned it down because we were told by organized baseball that if we jumped we would be barred for life. But nobody was barred for life and I just got jobbed out of $20,000 without a thank-you from anybody."

There was scarcely room for real bitterness in the expansive and warm Ruthian temperament, but the big fellow undoubtedly did feel at times a resentment against the owners in major league baseball because no place in it ever was found for him. And whatever slight flame of resentment may have lighted in him was frequently fanned by many writers who openly chided the baseball moguls for sidestepping the great Bambino.

Through the unhappy medium of a protracted illness and a serious neck operation that kept him hospitalized from late November 1946, to mid-February, 1947, Ruth came back into the public eye. Recurrent reports that his condition was critical resulted in a deluge of messages from sympathetic well-wishers.

There was general rejoicing among his legions of followers when he was sufficiently recovered to leave the hospital. That this feeling was shared in official baseball circles was promptly indicated when Baseball Commissioner A. [MISSING TEXT] (Happy) Chandler paid unprecedented tribute to the Sultan of Swat by designating April 27, 194 [MISSING TEXT] as "Babe Ruth Day."

All organized baseball joined on this date in honoring the man who contributed so much to the game. Ruth himself was present at the Yankee Stadium, where a crowd of 58,339 turned out for ceremonies that were broadcast over the world and piped into the other major league ballparks.

Extremely conscious of his debt to the "kids of America," to whose loyal support he attributed his success, Ruth identified himself with welfare programs after his discharge from the hospital. He was engaged by the Ford Motor Company as a consultant in connection with its participation in the American Legion junior baseball program and he was named by Mayor William O'Dwyer of New York as permanent honorary chairman of the Police Athletic League.

In May, 1947, he established and made the first contribution to the Babe Ruth Foundation. Inc., an organization whose resources were to be devoted to the interests of underprivileged youth.

Although the ravages of his illness left little of his once robust physique, the Babe, now gaunt bent and his once resonant voice reduced to a rasping whisper, continued to astound his physicians by tackling his new job with all his oldtime vigor. Throughout the summer he made innumerable public appearances all over the country.

On Sunday, Sept. 28, the final day of the 1947 championship season, he returned to the Yankee Stadium to receive another thunderous ovation. On this day, under the direction of MacPhail, a galaxy of more than forty stars of former Yankee and other American League world championship teams, assembled to engage in an Oldtimers Day.

They included such immortals as Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Cy Young, George Sisler, Waite Hoyt, Bob Meusel and Chief Bender and with the Babe looking on from a box the grizzled vets played a two-inning game. The entire day's receipts were turned over to the foundation.

Ruth continued his role as consultant, making appearances all over the country. He went to Hollywood to help with the filming of his life story. While there, the Babe was informed that the Yankees were planning to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Yankee Stadium. He readily agreed to participate in the ceremonies. He accepted the managership of the 1923 Yankees, who were to play an abbreviated exhibition game against later-year Yankees, to be piloted by Barrow.

June 13, 1948, was the date set for "Silver Anniversary Day." It turned out to be a memorable day, one that Ruth, despite his physical condition, would not have missed for anything. Despite a wretched day--rain, fog, etc.--the Babe donned his old uniform with the No.3 on the back. When he was introduced and walked slowly to home plate, a thunderous ovation from 49,641 men, women and children greeted him.

Many in the gathering wept as Ruth, in a raspy voice, told how happy he was to have hit the first homer ever achieved in the Stadium; how proud he was to have been associated with such fine players and how glad he was to be back with them, even if only for a day.

Bob Shawkey, Sad Sam Jones, Whitey Witt, Bob Meusel, Waite Hoyt, Carl Mays, Bullet Joe Bush, Wally Pipp, Mike McNally, Wally Schang and others from the 1923 club that annexed the first world championship by a Yankee aggregation; Bill Dickey, Lefty Gomez, George Selkirk, Red Rolfe and others who came later--all were on hand to pay homage to the Babe.

It was the last time that No. 3 was won by a Yankee player. For, the Babe turned his uniform over to the Hall of Fame, retired for all time. It was sent to the baseball shrine at Cooperstown, N. Y., where it was placed among the Ruth collection there.

Ruth's team scored a 2-0, two-inning victory that day and the man to whom a big-league manager's job was never given managed a winner in the "House That Ruth Built."



Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) 6 Sep 1925, Sun • Page 19

The Hutchinson News (Hutchinson, Kansas) 31 Aug 1925, Mon • Page 1

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) 1 Sep 1925, Tue • Page 16


Reading Times (Reading, Pennsylvania) 9 Oct 1926, Sat • Page 1

The Huntington Herald (Huntington, Indiana) 7 Oct 1926, Thu • Page 1

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) 7 Oct 1926, Thu • Page 12

About this Memorial Page