“As soon as I got out there I felt a strange relationship with the pitcher’s mound. It was as if I’d been born out there. Pitching just felt like the most natural thing in the world.” Babe Ruth

When the good citizens of Boston awoke on Friday morning January 6, 1920, this is the news which greeted them. The rumor mill which had been churning for a couple of weeks had become reality. George Herman “Babe” Ruth, was on his way to New York to become, “The Sultan of Swat”!

But before he was “The Sultan” he was known as “The Colossus”, The Burly Batterer”,  “The Caveman” and “The Mauler”. All this because of his adroitness with the bat in his hands, and he did it all while he was the best left-handed pitcher in baseball, and  while calling Fenway Park his home in the uniform of the Boston Red Sox!

The heights achieved by Babe Ruth in the game of baseball are unprecedented! The best evidence to that fact is Barry Bonds. What you saw Bonds do, for a few seasons, when he was all roided up is what Babe did, for more than a decade, on hot dogs and beer! Then throw in the fact that while he was astounding the world with his bat, he was establishing himself as the best left-handed pitcher in the game.

And yet as well as he pitched, what people talked about, what writers wrote about, was his bat. Nobody had ever seen balls hit so far, nobody had ever seen balls hit so high, nobody had ever seen the likes of Babe Ruth with a bat in his hands!

Babe hit only 49 of his 714 home runs in a Red Sox uniform, but the fact is that before he left the Red Sox, he had hit the longest home run in every American League park (including Fenway) and he had already set the single season home run record with 29 in 1919! Not to mention, he also led the American League in home runs in 1918 while playing only 92 games in the field! Oh, and he was so valuable as a pitcher, that manager Ed Barrow inserted him back in the pitching rotation for the stretch run of the abbreviated 1918 season.

All he did was go 7-2 down the stretch and 2-0 in the World Series to lead the Red Sox to the championship over the Cubs! It was during that World Series that he set the record of 29 2/3 consecutive scoreless World Series innings pitched! He held this record until Whitey Ford broke it in the 1961 World Series.

Babe Ruth still holds the following Red Sox records for a left-handed pitcher: games started, 41 in 1916, complete games, 35 in 1917, and he shares the American League record for shutouts by a lefty (with Ron Guidry) 9 in 1916. He still holds the record for the longest complete game victory in World Series history, a 14 inning 2-1 win in game two of the 1916 Fall Classic against Brooklyn. He is the only Red Sox lefty to have back to back 20 win seasons, 23 in 1916, 24 in 1917 and until Jon Lester passed him in 2011, he had the highest winning percentage (with 100 or more decisions) of any Red Sox southpaw in their history. 

 L to R, Rube Foster, Carl Mays, Ernie Shore, Babe and Dutch Leonard.

When Babe retired following the 1935 season, he held 54 major league records, the one of which he was the most proud was his consecutive inning scoreless World Series pitching streak.

         And so it was on this day in Fenway Park history, January 6, 1920.

 

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About fenwaypark100

Hello and welcome, my name is Raymond Sinibaldi. An educator for more than two decades, a baseball fan for nearly 60 years, I have authored four books about baseball and her glorious history; with a fifth on the way in late spring of 2015; the first, The Babe in Red Stockings which was co-authored with Kerry Keene and David Hickey. It is a chronicle of Babe's days with the Red Sox. We also penned a screenplay about Babe's Red Sox days so if any of you are Hollywood inclined or would like to represent us in forwarding that effort feel free to contact me through my email. In 2012 we three amigos published Images of Fenway Park in honor of the 100th birthday of Fenway Park. That led to the creation of this blog. The following year, 2013 came my first solo venture, Spring Training in Bradenton and Sarasota. This is a pictorial history of spring training in those two Florida cities. The spring of 2014 brought forth the 1967 Red Sox, The Impossible Dream Season. The title speaks for itself and it also is a pictorial history. Many of the photos in this book were never published before. The spring of 2015 will bring 1975 Red Sox, American League Champions. Another pictorial effort, this will be about the Red Sox championship season of 1975 and the World Series that restored baseball in America. I was fortunate enough to consult with sculptor Franc Talarico on the “Jimmy Fund” statue of Ted Williams which stands outside both Fenway Park and Jet Blue Park Fenway South, in Fort Myers Florida. That story is contained in the near 300 posts which are contained herein. This blog has been dormant for awhile but 2015 will bring it back to life so jump on board, pass the word and feel free to contact me about anything you read or ideas you may have for a topic. Thanks for stopping by, poke around and enjoy. Autographed copies of all my books are available here, simply click on Raymond Sinibaldi and email me.
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