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Babe Ruth


Babe Ruth in 1921
Author: George Grantham Bain

Where did Babe Ruth grow up?

George Herman Ruth, Jr. was born in Baltimore, Maryland on February 6, 1895. He grew up in the tough working-class neighborhood of Pigtown where his father ran a saloon. As a boy, George got into so much trouble his parents sent him away to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys.

Learning to Play Baseball

At reform school, George learned to work hard. He was taught skills including carpentry and how to make shirts. One of the monks at the school, Brother Matthias, got George into playing baseball. George was a natural. With Brother Matthias' help, George became an excellent pitcher, hitter, and fielder.

How did he get the nickname Babe?

George became so skilled at baseball that the monks convinced the owner of the Baltimore Orioles to come watch George play. The owner was impressed and, at the age of 19, George signed his first professional baseball contract. Because George was so young, the veteran Orioles players started calling him "Babe", and the nickname stuck.

A Pitcher for the Red Sox

In 1914, the Orioles sold Babe to the Boston Red Sox. At that time, he was known more for his pitching than his hitting. At the Red Sox, Ruth became one of the best pitchers in the major leagues. In 1916, he went 23-12 and led the league with an ERA of 1.75. The Red Sox soon discovered that Babe was an even better hitter than he was a pitcher. They moved him to the outfield and, in 1919, he hit 29 homeruns. This set the single season record for homeruns at the time.

A New York Yankee

In December of 1919, Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees. He played for the Yankees for the next 15 years and became one of the most celebrated baseball players in history. He helped the Yankees win four World Series titles and led the league in home runs almost every year. In 1927, he anchored one of the greatest hitting lineups in history nicknamed "Murderer's Row." That year Babe hit a record 60 homeruns.

What was Babe Ruth like?

Babe Ruth's rebellious personality of his childhood continued into his adult life. Ruth lived a wild lifestyle. He was known for eating huge meals and drinking too much alcohol. This lifestyle caught up to him later in his career as he gained weight and could no longer play outfield. Babe was also known to be warm-hearted and a showman. He brought in huge crowds wherever he went because everyone wanted to see "Babe" swing the bat.

Baseball Records

In 1936, Babe Ruth retired. He played his last year for the Boston Braves. At the time of his retirement he held 56 major league records. His most famous record was his career leading 714 homeruns. This record held until it was broken by Hank Aaron in 1974. Today (2015), he still sits in the top ten in many MLB statistics including home runs (714), batting average (.342), RBI (2,213), slugging percentage (.690), OPS (1.164), runs (2,174), bases (5,793), and walks (2,062).


Ruth died of cancer on August 16, 1948.

Interesting Facts About Babe Ruth Activities

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