The Great Bambino George Herman Ruth was born in Baltimore Maryland on February 6th 1895. His mother gave birth to him on the second floor of her fathers house. George is the oldest of 8 children. He was often missing from school. George was officially named a juvenile delinquent after his bouts skipping school. At a very young age George began drinking, chewing tobacco, and stealing (Berke 18). People around him were fed up with his behavior and he was sent to Catholic school. During his stint there, George made a positive out of it and made a 360 turn around.
He was taken care of by Xaverian brothers from the School, St. Marys (Berke 19). Ruths baseball career began when he was attending St. Marys (Berke 19). In the early 1900s, baseball was at its prime. Oddly, he pitched and batted left-handed, but started out catching in his young years. The last two years spent in school he was a staggering six feet, two inches and weighed in at 170 pounds. Rising to popularity at school, he became a major asset to the baseball team, and was promoted to pitcher and became the teams lead hitter and pitcher (Berke 22).
Orioles signed Ruth to a six-month contract that paid him $600. It is said that in batting practice alone babe attracted up to 30,000 fans (Berke 22). Twenty-two games were won while Ruth was with Baltimore. In the early part of his career, Babe Ruth walked a batter and struck an umpire, getting himself thrown out of the game. In the series against the Dodgers, he pitched 4 games to one (Berke 23 24). The rising star soon was sold to the Boston Red Sox. The great Bambinos salary jumped from a six hundred dollar check to a whopping thirty five hundred dollars.
His primary position for Boston was pitcher. Ruth was one of few in the league that pitched left-handed and this would help Boston become exceptionally well. The first game Ruth ever pitched with Boston was a 4 3 win over Cleveland. Ruths first year with Boston he became good friends with Map, another great ball player at this time. He would also become teammates with him again in the future Yankees team. George Herman Ruths first recorded homerun was a game against New York and it was a straight shot to the upper deck of right field in the polo grounds off of Jack Warhop.
The year was 1915 and the Bambino was named best pitcher and hitter for Boston (Berke 31,32,33). This year the Red Sox was named the best team in the Major League. Ruth led the team to the 1915 World Series and brought them a win. With all the hard work and determination from the Bambino his salary took another leaping hop from thirty five hundred dollars to five thousand.
Ruth claimed that the 1915 Red Sox champion team was his favorite team he had ever played for, even in his later years. Another year passes and yet again the Red Sox make it back to the world series with the help of Ruth and win their second world series in a row.
By 1917, Babe Ruth was by far statistically and fan based declared Bostons best Ace pitcher and left handed hitter in the league (Berke 35 36). In 1915 Babe Ruth struck out 112 batters with a season record of 18 8. He also had a 2. 44 run average. (ERA) In the year 1916 Babe Ruth lead the Red sox to a 23 12 record and had an ERA of 1. 75. The Boston Red Sox family would be the first to help the Great Bambino achieve such an amazing goal as a major league pitcher/player and that was to win a back to back world series.
Babe started the1917 Red Sox season 10 1. He would go on to end that season with a 24 13 record with a 2. 1 ERA. 1917 Ruth went on to end the season with a total of 128 strikeouts, the leagues fifth highest total. This milestone was not broken until more than 4 decades later by Whitey Ford of the New York Yankees. The Bambino set a World Series record of twenty-nine and two thirds scoreless innings (Berke 37).
In 1918, in game one Ruth shut out the Cubs tossing a 1 0 six hitter and won game 4 of the World Series. With all of the pitching experience in high school, minor league, major league, and four World Series later the Bambino ended his pitching career with this 1918 World Series win against the Cubs (Berke 38).
George Herman Ruth married a waitress by the name of Helen Woodford after meeting her in a Boston Restaurant. In the off-season the newly weds spent the winter with Babes father. The year 1919 Babe Ruth was now ranked as the greatest pitcher of all time.
Being called the greatest pitcher of all time comes Celebrity status. Due to the Bambinos pitching success and batting prowess everyone looked him up to in this time period. Ruth was just as well known with his batting as much as his pitching with Boston. At the beginning of the 1919 season, Ruth became a full-fledged left fielder.
He predicted he could help win more games playing every day in the outfield and getting to swing his bat more than he did pitching every fourth game (Berke 39,40,41). In this day in age a home run hitter was an oddity and completely unheard of especially with the materials of the time frame. The bats werent as up to date as ours today and weight lifting is by no means as advanced as it is today. It was more of a game of strategy than a game of power hitters. 1919 was a very dark period of baseball other than Ruths home run exploits.
The 1919 World Series is best remembered for the Chicago White Sox purposely throwing the game to the Cincinnati Reds to illegally gain money from gambling (Berke 42). 1920, a year Boston will never forget. Honestly one of the most remembered years of Major League baseball history. The Sultan of Swat, the Great Bambino, the Colossus of Clouds, the Babe Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees. Ruth was sold for an astonishing amount of one hundred twenty thousand dollars. Twice the amount ever paid for a player up until that point in history.
At this point, in Ruths life, there wasnt a doubt in his mind that he wasnt going to take the offer from New York. Do you blame him? One hundred twenty thousand dollars in 1920 was an extreme amount to pay for a player. It is said that New York had to take out loans to pick up Ruth but it was a move that will set New York up to be the greatest Dynasty in the game of baseball (Babe N. P. ). Boston is soon to find out that they had just been left with the curse of the bambino. After Ruths transition from Boston to New York he decided to still stay a full time outfielder.
He new exactly what he was doing when he decided to become an outfielder and end his pitching career on a good note. The great bambino dominated the game with amassing numbers that had never been seen in the history of baseball. He changed the style of baseball from a high intense grind it out strategy style of game to a power and high scoring kind of game (Babe Babe). The record books were about to be opened and stay wet with ink as long as Ruth was playing. It would be useless to close the record books because every game it would be opened right back up.
Ruths records from a hitting standpoint were insane! With a high batting average and an uncontrollable, unbelievable power he had an assault on baseballs most hallowed records (Babe About). 1920 Ruth surpassed the home run record in a single season that he had set a year before at Boston by belting out 54 in just one season. A season in which no other player usually hit more than 19 and that was considered outstanding at this time. There had only been one team that hit more home runs in one season than babe had individually up until this point in history.
In the following season Ruth was not done breaking records, he was just getting started. 1920 was the first year that Ruth had won his first home run title and definitely not his last. The Bambino drove an astonishing 114 home runs with the Yankees in the 1920 season, which is a major league high (Babe teen). All eyes were on Ruth and because of him baseball became Americas favorite past time. Adults, kids, and the retired all spent their time watching or playing the great game of baseball that once did not seem so interesting.
George Herman Ruth is responsible for the term the grand slam. A grand slam in the game of baseball is when bases are loaded and the player at bat hits a homerun allowing your team to advance four points. Ruth had 4 grand slams in 1920, which remained a Major league high for forty years (Berke 45 46).
The New York Yankees ended their 1920 season with a ninety-five - fifty-nine record and finished just three games behind the AL champions the Cleveland Indians. This was the eighteenth season for the Yankees managed under the one and only Miller Huggins.
The Yankees of the 1920s were the first major league baseball team to have more than a million fans attends their game (Berke 46 47). The Bambino was built for the expanding New York City of the nineteen twenties and the New York City of the nineteen twenties was built for him, they were perfect for each other.
Now the war was long over done and all of our soldiers were back home. America was on top, second to no one with New York City the center attention. Giant skyscrapers, new and fancy cars, shopping centers, Broadway, clubs, sports. Who wouldnt want to be apart of this growing city of excitement?
The famous New York sportswriter Westbrook Pegler once quoted The Era Of Wonderful Nonsense or as another New York sports writer Paul Gallico said We were like children who had just been let out of school. Ruth landed him in the right place at the right time.
Ruth acquired several new and fashionable names already within months, Sultan of Swat, the Caliph of Clout, the Wizard of Whack, the Rajah of Rap, the Wazir of Wham, the Mammoth of Maul, the Maharajah of Mash, the Bambino, the Bam, the Big Bam (Montville 106 107). The center of a half mile racetrack in Jacksonville Florida is where the Yankees training field was located.
They traveled her by train from New York City. The team was already off playing cards for real money before they hit New Jersey. Ruth roomed with Ping Bodie in the Hotel Brunswick. The first night they arrived, Ruth participated in a basketball game for the Shawmut Athletic Club, in which he scored eight points in the 41 25 win. Ruth, still tanned from California wearing a large leather coat handing out Cigars left and right, hit the clubs that evening. After a night of fun and excitement he arrived back to his hotel room where he proceeded in shinning his golf clubs.
On the first day in Jacksonville, practice was optional since Huggins hadnt arrived, so the big bam decided to go tour the 18 holes at the Florida Country club with his new clubs. Newspapers reported that he wore a silk shirt and white golf flannels and at one point he threw up a golf club while a ball was in flight and hit it out of the air (Monteville 108 110).
The place of camp was casual, the Brooklyn dodgers also trained in Jacksonville but on the other side of the city at Barrs Field. From the start, Ruth lived a different way of life than all of his teammates.
Yankees owner gave the players five dollars per day for meal money. This changed fast because the players would eat cheap hot dogs every day and saved the money for late night fun. Babe lived on a higher economic and social level than the people around him.
Ping Bodie, Ruths roommate in Jacksonville gave the press the answer everyone had been waiting for. They asked him what kind of guy George Herman Ruth was and Ping answered, I dont know, I dont room with babe. I room with his suitcase. (Monteville 112 114). Finally the first day of practice starts and the million-dollar question is asked.
Is it possible that the Bambino mysteriously lost his amazing ability to crush a ball higher and farther than anyone else in the league? Maybe, just maybe through winter and Ruths off time not keeping up on his skills he lost his ability. March nineteenth, seventeen days after the team had arrived.
Babe Ruth hit a smashing ball 478 feet. 50 feet over the center field fence, the fence was 428 feet deep (Monteville 112 115) Babe Ruth went on to become not only the greatest baseball player of all time but also a celebrity of his era. Babe helped the New York Yankees win seven pennants and four World Series titles.
The Bambino retired in 1935. Just one year later in 1936 Babe was one of the first 5 elected into the baseball hall of fame. The Bambino is credited for the popularity of the game of baseball. He helped pick the speed of the game up from a low scoring speed dominated game to a high scoring power game. Since then he has became one of the greatest sports heroes in American history. The legendary power and the charismatic personality made the bambino larger than life itself. He was famous for his charity off of the diamond but also known for his reckless lifestyle.
He went on to coach after retiring from the game. August 16, 1948 cancer got the best of the Bambino and he died at the age of 53. The legend of Babe Ruth will live on forever (World).