Today marks the 117th anniversary of the birth of the one and only George Herman Ruth. And in his honor I offer snippets and tidbits, some which you may know and some you may not; about the man who remains the greatest baseball player who ever lived.
Babe was in and out of St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys several times from the time he was seven until he was 19. He caught for their baseball team. Note mask and right-handed glove.
This is the oldest known baseball card of Babe Ruth with the Baltimore Orioles sometime between February and July of 1914. It sold at auction in 2007 for $52,875.
Close up of Babe in the card.
The saloon which Babe’s dad owned once stood on the same ground that today is centerfield of Orioles Park at Camden Yards; which honors Babe’s beginnings with a statue outside.
Babe left Baltimore in July of 1914, sold to the Red Sox along with Ben Egan and Ernie Shore. The price was somewhere between $8000.00 and $25,000.00.
Babe arrived in Boston on a late morning train on July 11, 1914. At 3PM he was on the mound at Fenway Park beating the Cleveland Indians.
He first led the league in home runs in 1918 when he hit 11 and was 13-7 as a pitcher. The following year he set a new home run record when he hit 29, breaking the record which had been held by Ned Williamson of the Chicago Cubs who hit 27 homers in 1884.
Ned Williamson held the single season home run record from 1884 until 1919, Babe held it from 1919 until 1961.
Babe hit only 49 of his 714 career home runs with the Red Sox, however, by the time he was sold to the Yankees, he had hit the longest home run in every big league ball park! He still holds the Red Sox record for most grand slam home runs in a season. He hit four in 1919. From 1918 through 1931, Babe led the league in home runs every year but two. And in those years he was injured!
Babe had back to back twenty win seasons in 1916 and 1917, no other Red Sox left-handed pitcher has ever done that! He shares the American League record with Ron Guidry (1978) for most shutouts (9) in a season by a left-handed pitcher. In the 1916 and 1918 World Series, Babe hurled 29 2/3 consecutive scoreless World Series innings. It broke the record which Christy Mathewson had set in the 1903 World Series.
When Babe Ruth retired in 1935, he held 54 major league records, the one of which he was most proud was the one, once held by Christy Mathewson!
He passed away in 1948 at the age of 53. He has not played since 1935 yet he still provides the measuring stick of greatness by which the all time greats are measured, first as the best left-handed pitcher in the game and then as the greatest slugger of all time! So Happy Birthday Babe, you too Clint and you too Brady.
And so it is on this date in Fenway Park history, February 6, 2012 Babe’s
birthday and Clint’s and Brady’s.