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Babe Ruth and The House He Built

Babe Ruth and The House He Built


    

Babe Ruth and The House He Built

by Denise I Smithson

Babe Ruth is a name which is instantly familiar to people around the world; even those who are not baseball fans and those far too young to actually remember the Sultan of Swat know his name and are familiar with the House That Ruth Built. Among younger Major League players, one of Babe's superstitions has taken hold. As Babe said "whenever I hit a home run, I always make sure I touch all four bases". Babe Ruth was larger than life in every sense of the word and he remains deeply rooted in the popular imagination - for there may be another like him.

George Herman Ruth Jr. Was born in 1895 in Baltimore, MD, the son of George H. Ruth Sr. And Kate Schamberger-Ruth. One of two surviving children of eight (the other was his sister Mamie), Babe Ruth has a tough childhood, often being left to care for himself. At the tender age of seven, he was sent to the St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, which he recalls more as a reformatory than a school. Deprived of parental guidance except on occasions, Ruth quickly earned a reputation among the nuns at the school as an incorrigible.

The Babe never like rules, especially regimented rules and was not good at adapting to what was correct-he had his own way, a uniqueness that would follow him to baseball. Perhaps the biggest thing Ruth learned to love at St. Mary's would be his fondness for children; as an adult, he was charitably involved with them as much as he could be. George Jr. Shined with talent at a young age and played numerous positions at St. Mary's, often, however, he excelled in catching and pitching. When Babe reached nineteen, Jack Dunn, the manager and owner of the then Baltimore Orioles which was a Boston Red Sox minor league team, was awed at Babe's talent and signed him right away. Once Jack signed him, he was dubbed by his teammates as "Jack's newest babe." From then on, he would be forever known as simply "Babe."

It was not long before Ruth's contract was purchased by the Boston Red Sox, where he would spend the next six years both as a catcher and in the outfield. Ruth became immensely popular with fans for his flair on and off the diamond. With the Red Sox, Ruth played his first World Series in 1916. Ruth pitched a still intact record of 14 innings. In fact, Ruth achieved a record setting 29 2/3 innings with no hits as a pitcher in World Series games alone! This record would last for 43 years. In 1919, an ill-advised trade saw Babe Ruth traded to the New York Yankees (ill-advised for the Red Sox anyway, a triumph for the Yankees). This began the "Curse of the Bambino"; the Red Sox would not win another World Series until 2004!

In 1920, he began his Major League career with the New York Yankees where Babe and his teammates would win 7 American League Pennants and 4 World Series Titles, a legacy called "The Curse of the Bambino." Babe hit an amazing 54 home runs in 1920 and was both a fan and player favorite not just for his home run hitting skills, but also for his candor. In 1923, mostly due to the popularity of The Babe, the Yankees opened Yankee Stadium that would eventually be named, The House That Ruth Built-how appropriate that The Babe would hit a home run on opening day, along with yet another World Series Title. Married to Helen Woodford in October of 1914, by 1919, Babe had enough money to buy them a country house and adopt a daughter they named Dorothy. After a separation, but no divorce in 1925, Babe did not remain the good boy when it came to women and continued an affair with model Claire Hodgson. Upon Helen's death by fire in 1929, Babe married Claire and hit her an out-of-the-park homerun in his first at bat in April of that same year.

The achievement that Babe Ruth will be remembered for more than any other is hi s60 home runs in 1927 - this record was finally broken by Roger Maris in 1961. This record continues to be disputed, since Ruth hit his 60 home runs in 154 games as opposed to Maris' 162 games and 61 home runs. Regardless, there is no dispute about Ruth's .690 batting average, something which has not been equaled since. This is why Babe Ruth is also known as the Great Bambino and the Sultan of Swat.

Babe's famous moment in baseball came in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series where the Yankees played the Chicago Cubs. In the 5th inning, after he already had one home run, Babe came to bat and was at a count of two balls and two strikes. Before the next pitch came his way, Babe pointed to the center of the field bleachers and slammed that puppy right where he pointed and some believe it is the longest home run ever hit out of Wrigley Field.

Ruth left the Yankees in 1935 - he had wanted to be manager of the team and he decided to leave rather than stay in another capacity. He instead signed on with the Boston Braves as first base coach and player, with the promise of the manager's chair in the following year. Seeing that the Braves were unlikely to keep this promise, Ruth went out in style. In one of his final games, Ruth hit three home runs against the Pittsburgh Pirates for a career total of 714 home runs. The Babe's 2,211 RBIs, 2.28 career ERA as a left-handed pitcher and his 8,399 at-bats along with all of his many achievements have made him a player who will always be remembered as long as there is a game called baseball.

About the Author:
How much do you know about baseball? Nothing But Sports is a great place to brush up on your sports trivia and learn how to swing that bat.


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