On April 27, baseball fans around the country honor one of baseball’s all-time greatest players. It’s National Babe Ruth Day.
George Herman “Babe” Ruth, Jr., born on February 6, 1895, in Baltimore, Maryland was nicknamed “the Bambino” and “the Sultan of Swat.” Spending 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), he played for three teams from 1914 to 1935.
Babe Ruth’s baseball career started as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. He became a full-time right-fielder when the New York Yankees bought his contract in 1919. Being one of the league’s most prolific hitters, he helped the Yankees win seven pennants and four World Series titles.
Ruth set career records, in his time, for home runs, slugging percentage, runs batted in, and on-base plus slugging. In 1927, he was the very first player to hit 60 home runs in one season.
Following a short stint with the Boston Braves, Ruth retired in 1935. In 1936, he became one of the first five players to be elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
In 1946, after experiencing severe eye pain and difficulty swallowing, Babe Ruth was diagnosed with cancer. On April 27, 1947, he was able to attend the proclaimed Babe Ruth Day and spoke briefly to a crowd of almost 60,000 people at Yankee Stadium.
At the age of 53, on August 16, 1948, at 8:01 pm, Babe Ruth died in his sleep.
- Ruth was sent to a Catholic Boys Reformatory school at the age of 7. Each child was trained with an industrial career. Ruth’s was shirt maker.
- Young George Ruth played baseball at the school, thanks to encouragement by the monks.
- He started out as a left-handed catcher. Young George Ruth started playing baseball at St. Marys Industrial School for Boys in Baltimore. He began his career as a left-handed catcher, the rarest of all position players.
- He was signed to the major leagues at the age of 19.
- Why Babe? Some say it’s because Ruth was so young when signed to MLB he required legal guardianship and was “adopted” by one of the monks. Others say it was just because he was still merely a babe.
- His other nicknames included Bambino, the Home Run King and The Sultan of Swat.
- At an exhibition game (a “for fun” or charity game) on April 2, 1931 a 17-year-old female pitcher named Jackie Mitchell struck Ruth out. (Mitchell then went on to strike out Lou Gehrig.)
- In 1922, you could get chocolate covered ice-cream balls called Babe Ruth Home Runs. They cost 10 cents.
- Babe Ruth appeared as himself in four different movies. In one, he lost 40 pounds in order to play a younger version of himself.
- One of his favorite snacks was pickled eels and chocolate ice cream.
- He slept in the raw and hated wearing underwear.
- He still holds the record for winning the longest complete game in world series history. In 1916, Babe, while pitching for the Red Sox, beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 2-1 in a 14-inning complete game victory.