Babe Ruth

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George Herman Ruth. Baseball player and US national icon.

Born February 6, 1895, Baltimore, Maryland, US
Died August 16, 1948, New York City
Gravesite: Gate Of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, New York City

Ruth began his professional baseball career as a pitcher. He was discovered by Jack Dunn, owner and manager of the minor-league Baltimore Orioles, who sold his contract to the Boston Red Sox in 1914. Ruth, a left-handed pitcher known as "Dunn's Babe" with Baltimore, became one of the premier pitchers in the American League in short order.

However, it soon became apparent that Ruth was more valuable in the lineup as an everyday player. In 1918, Ruth began playing in the outfield more and pitching less. His contemporaries thought this was ridiculous: former teammate Tris Speaker thought the move would shorten Ruth's career. By 1919, Ruth was basically a fulltime outfielder. He set his first single-season home run record that year, smacking 29 with the Red Sox, breaking the previous record.

  • 1920 - sold to Yankees
  • 1920-23 - amazing seasons
  • 1925 - "the bellyache heard round the world"
  • 1926 - return to peak
  • 1927 - 60 home runs; "Murderer's Row"
  • 1932 - the "called shot"?

Did Ruth Call His Shot? In Game Three of the 1932 World Series, with Ruth's Yankees playing the Chicago Cubs, Ruth hit one of the most famous home runs in baseball history, a ball which he appeared to "call" ahead of time. According to the version told by Ruth in a 1945 interview, he took the first two strikes, holding up one finger after the first ("That's one") and two after the second ("That's two"). He then said he pointed toward the outfield fence, and then hit the next pitch into the stands.

There is no doubt Ruth hit the home run, his second of the game. (Lou Gehrig, the next batter, also homered -- "the thunder after the lightning", as one sportswriter put it.) What has been argued since is this: did Ruth really point to the fence?

Charlie Root, the Cubs pitcher, angrily denied that Ruth had "called his shot" and pointed out that he would have brushed Ruth back from the plate had Ruth done anything of the kind. (Root was, in fact, nicknamed "Chinski" for his tendency to throw at batters.) But Root had an odd habit of turning slightly around between pitches and others at the game said that Root had simply missed the Babe's gesture.

There is no official film of the home run, and of course no television videotape. A home movie taken by a fan in the stands is inconclusive.

  • 1935 - final bow with Boston Braves
  • post-playing career
  • film career

Career Statistics:
Hitting

GABH2b3bHRRRBIBBSO
2,5038,3992,8735061367142,1742,2132,0621,330

Pitching

WLGPGSCGShSVIPBBSO
94461631481071741,221.1441488