George Herman "Babe" Ruth Jr. (February 6, 1895 – August 16,
1948) was an American professional baseball player whose career in
Baseball (MLB) spanned 22 seasons, from 1914 through
1935. Nicknamed "The Bambino" and "The Sultan of Swat", he began his
MLB career as a stellar left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox,
but achieved his greatest fame as a slugging outfielder for the New
York Yankees. Ruth established many MLB batting (and some pitching)
records, including career home runs (714), runs batted in (RBIs)
(2,213), bases on balls (2,062), slugging percentage (.690), and
on-base plus slugging (OPS) (1.164); the latter two still stand
today. Ruth is regarded as one of the greatest sports heroes in
American culture and is considered by many to be the greatest baseball
player of all time. In 1936, Ruth was elected into the
of Fame as one of its "first five" inaugural members.
At age seven, Ruth was sent to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys,
a reformatory where he learned life lessons and baseball skills from
Brother Matthias Boutlier of the Xaverian Brothers, the school's
disciplinarian and a capable baseball player. In 1914, Ruth was signed
to play minor-league baseball for the
Baltimore Orioles but was soon
sold to the Red Sox. By 1916, he had built a reputation as an
outstanding pitcher who sometimes hit long home runs, a feat unusual
for any player in the pre-1920 dead-ball era. Although Ruth twice won
23 games in a season as a pitcher and was a member of three World
Series championship teams with Boston, he wanted to play every day and
was allowed to convert to an outfielder. With regular playing time, he
broke the MLB single-season home run record in 1919.
After that season, Red Sox owner
Harry Frazee sold Ruth to the Yankees
amid controversy. The trade fueled Boston's subsequent 86 year
championship drought and popularized the "Curse of the Bambino"
superstition. In his 15 years with the Yankees, Ruth helped the team
American League (AL) championships and four World Series
championships. His big swing led to escalating home run totals that
not only drew fans to the ballpark and boosted the sport's popularity
but also helped usher in baseball's live-ball era, which evolved from
a low-scoring game of strategy to a sport where the home run was a
major factor. As part of the Yankees' vaunted "Murderers' Row" lineup
of 1927, Ruth hit 60 home runs, which extended his MLB single-season
record. Ruth's last season with the Yankees was 1934; he retired from
the game the following year, after a short stint with the Boston
Braves. During his career, Ruth led the AL in home runs during a
season twelve times.
Ruth's legendary power and charismatic personality made him a
larger-than-life figure during the Roaring Twenties. During his
career, he was the target of intense press and public attention for
his baseball exploits and off-field penchants for drinking and
womanizing. His often reckless lifestyle was tempered by his
willingness to do good by visiting children at hospitals and
orphanages. After his retirement as a player, he was denied the
opportunity to manage a major league club, most likely due to poor
behavior during parts of his playing career. In his final years, Ruth
made many public appearances, especially in support of American
efforts in World War II. In 1946, he became ill with esophageal
cancer, and died two years later as a result of the disease.
1 Early years
2 Professional baseball
2.1 Minor league,
Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox (1914–1919)
2.2.1 Developing star
2.2.2 Emergence as a hitter
2.3 Sale to New York
New York Yankees
New York Yankees (1920–1934)
2.4.1 Initial success (1920–1923)
2.4.2 Batting title and "bellyache" (1924–1925)
Murderer's Row (1926–1928)
2.4.4 "Called shot" and final Yankee years (1929–1934)
2.5 Boston Braves (1935)
4 Personal life
Cancer and death (1946–48)
6 Memorial and museum
7 Contemporary impact
9 See also
10 Notes and references
12 Further reading
13 External links
Babe Ruth birthplace in Baltimore, Maryland, is now a museum
George Herman Ruth Jr. was born in 1895 at 216 Emory Street in the
Pigtown section of Baltimore, Maryland. Ruth's parents, George Herman
Ruth Sr. and Katherine Schamberger, were both of German American
ancestry. According to the 1880 census, his parents were born in
Maryland. His paternal grandparents were from Prussia and Hanover.
Ruth Sr. worked a series of jobs that included lightning rod salesman
and streetcar operator. The elder Ruth then became a counterman in a
family-owned combination grocery and saloon business on Frederick
Street. George Ruth Jr. was born in the house of his maternal
grandfather, Pius Schamberger, a German immigrant and trade
unionist. Only one of young George's seven siblings, his younger
sister Mamie, survived infancy.
Many details of Ruth's childhood are unknown, including the date of
his parents' marriage. As a child, Ruth spoke German. When young
George was a toddler, the family moved to 339 South Goodyear Street,
not far from the rail yards; by the time the boy was 6, his father had
a saloon with an upstairs apartment at 426 West Camden Street. Details
are equally scanty about why young George was sent at the age of 7 to
St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory and orphanage. As
Babe Ruth reminisced that as a youth he had been running the
streets and rarely attending school, as well was drinking beer when
his father was not looking. Some accounts say that following a violent
incident at his father's saloon, the city authorities decided that
this environment was unsuitable for a small child. George, Jr. entered
St. Mary's on June 13, 1902. He was recorded as "incorrigible" and
spent much of the next twelve years there.
Ruth (top row, center) at St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys in
Baltimore, Maryland, in 1912
Although St. Mary's boys received an education, students were also
expected to learn work skills and help operate the school,
particularly once the boys turned 12. Ruth became a shirtmaker and was
also proficient as a carpenter. He would adjust his own shirt collars,
rather than having a tailor do so, even during his well-paid baseball
career. The boys, aged 5 to 21, did most work around the facility,
from cooking to shoemaking, and renovated St. Mary's in 1912. The food
was simple, and the
Xaverian Brothers who ran the school insisted on
strict discipline; corporal punishment was common. Ruth's nickname
there was "Niggerlips", as he had large facial features and was darker
than most boys at the all-white reformatory.
Ruth was sometimes allowed to rejoin his family, or was placed at St.
James's Home, a supervised residence with work in the community, but
he was always returned to St. Mary's. He was rarely visited by
his family; his mother died when he was 12 and by some accounts, he
was permitted to leave St. Mary's only to attend the funeral. How
Ruth came to play baseball there is uncertain: according to one
account, his placement at St. Mary's was due in part to repeatedly
breaking Baltimore's windows with long hits while playing street ball;
by another, he was told to join a team on his first day at St. Mary's
by the school's athletic director, Brother Herman, becoming a catcher
even though left-handers rarely play that position. During his time
there he also played third base and shortstop, again unusual for a
left-hander, and was forced to wear mitts and gloves made for
right-handers. He was encouraged in his pursuits by the school's
Prefect of Discipline, Brother Matthias Boutlier, a native of Nova
Scotia. A large man, Brother Matthias was greatly respected by the
boys both for his strength and for his fairness. For the rest of his
life, Ruth would praise Brother Matthias, and his running and hitting
styles closely resembled his teacher's. Ruth stated, "I think
I was born as a hitter the first day I ever saw him hit a
baseball." The older man became a mentor and role model to George;
Robert W. Creamer commented on the closeness between the
Ruth (top row, left, holding a catcher's mitt and mask) at St. Mary's,
Ruth revered Brother Matthias ... which is remarkable,
considering that Matthias was in charge of making boys behave and that
Ruth was one of the great natural misbehavers of all time. ...
George Ruth caught Brother Matthias' attention early, and the calm,
considerable attention the big man gave the young hellraiser from the
waterfront struck a spark of response in the boy's soul ... [that
may have] blunted a few of the more savage teeth in the gross man whom
I have heard at least a half-dozen of his baseball contemporaries
describe with admiring awe and wonder as "an animal."
The school's influence remained with Ruth in other ways. He was a
lifelong Catholic who would sometimes attend Mass after carousing all
night, and he became a well-known member of the Knights of Columbus.
He would visit orphanages, schools, and hospitals throughout his life,
often avoiding publicity. He was generous to St. Mary's as he
became famous and rich, donating money and his presence at
fundraisers, and spending $5,000 to buy Brother Matthias a Cadillac in
1926—subsequently replacing it when it was destroyed in an
Most of the boys at St. Mary's played baseball in organized leagues at
different levels of proficiency. Ruth later estimated that he played
200 games a year as he steadily climbed the ladder of success.
Although he played all positions at one time or another (including
infield positions generally reserved for right-handers), he gained
stardom as a pitcher. According to Brother Matthias, Ruth was standing
to one side laughing at the bumbling pitching efforts of fellow
students, and Matthias told him to go in and see if he could do
better. Ruth had become the best pitcher at St. Mary's, and when he
was 18 in 1913, he was allowed to leave the premises to play weekend
games on teams that were drawn from the community. He was mentioned in
several newspaper articles, for both his pitching prowess and ability
to hit long home runs.
In early 1914, Ruth signed a professional baseball contract with Jack
Dunn, who owned and managed the minor-league
Baltimore Orioles, an
International League team. The circumstances of Ruth's signing are not
known with certainty; historical fact is obscured by stories that
cannot all be true. By some accounts, Dunn was urged to attend a game
between an all-star team from St. Mary's and one from another Xaverian
facility, Mount St. Mary's College. Some versions have Ruth running
away before the eagerly awaited game, to return in time to be
punished, and then pitching St. Mary's to victory as Dunn watched.
Others have Washington Senators pitcher Joe Engel, a Mount St. Mary's
graduate, pitching in an alumni game after watching a preliminary
contest between the college's freshmen and a team from St. Mary's,
including Ruth. Engel watched Ruth play, then told Dunn about him at a
chance meeting in Washington. Ruth, in his autobiography, stated only
that he worked out for Dunn for a half-hour, and was signed.
According to biographer Kal Wagenheim, there were legal difficulties
to be straightened out as Ruth was supposed to remain at the school
until he turned 21.[a]
Baseball card showing Ruth as a
Baltimore Oriole, 1914
The train journey to spring training in Fayetteville, North Carolina,
in early March was likely Ruth's first outside the
The rookie ballplayer was the subject of various pranks by the
veterans, who were probably also the source of his famous nickname.
There are various accounts of how Ruth came to be called Babe, but
most center on his being referred to as "Dunnie's babe" or a variant.
"Babe" was at that time a common nickname in baseball, with perhaps
the most famous to that point being
Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher and
World Series hero Babe Adams, who appeared younger than he
Ruth made his first appearance as a professional ballplayer in an
inter-squad game on March 7, 1914. He played shortstop and pitched the
last two innings of a 15–9 victory. In his second at-bat, Ruth hit a
long home run to right field; the blast was locally reported to be
longer than a legendary shot hit by
Jim Thorpe in Fayetteville.
Ruth made first appearance against a team in organized baseball in an
exhibition game versus the major-league Philadelphia Phillies. Ruth
pitched the middle three innings and gave up two runs in the fourth,
but then settled down and pitched a scoreless fifth and sixth innings.
In a game against the Phillies the following afternoon, Ruth entered
during the sixth inning and did not allow a run the rest of the way.
The Orioles scored seven runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to
overcome a 6–0 deficit, and Ruth was the winning pitcher.
Once the regular season began, Ruth was a star pitcher who was also
dangerous at the plate. The team performed well, yet received almost
no attention from the
Baltimore press. A third major league, the
Federal League, had begun play, and the local franchise, the Baltimore
Terrapins, restored that city to the major leagues for the first time
since 1902. Few fans visited Oriole Park, where Ruth and his teammates
labored in relative obscurity. Ruth may have been offered a bonus and
a larger salary to jump to the Terrapins; when rumors to that effect
swept Baltimore, giving Ruth the most publicity he had experienced to
date, a Terrapins official denied it, stating it was their policy not
to sign players under contract to Dunn.
The competition from the Terrapins caused Dunn to sustain large
losses. Although by late June the Orioles were in first place, having
won over two-thirds of their games, the paid attendance dropped as low
as 150. Dunn explored a possible move by the Orioles to Richmond,
Virginia, as well as the sale of a minority interest in the club.
These possibilities fell through, leaving Dunn with little choice
other than to sell his best players to major league teams to raise
money. He offered Ruth to the reigning
World Series champions,
Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics, but Mack had his own financial
Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants expressed
interest in Ruth, but Dunn sold his contract, along with those of
Ernie Shore and Ben Egan, to the
Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox of the
American League (AL) on July 4. The sale price was announced as
$25,000 but other reports lower the amount to half that, or possibly
$8,500 plus the cancellation of a $3,000 loan. Ruth remained with the
Orioles for several days while the Red Sox completed a road trip, and
reported to the team in Boston on July 11.
Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox (1914–1919)
Ruth pitching for the Boston Red Sox
On July 11, 1914, Ruth arrived in Boston with Egan and Shore. Ruth
later told the story of how that morning he had met Helen Woodford,
who was the girl that would be his first wife. She was a 16-year-old
waitress at Landers Coffee Shop, and Ruth related that she served him
when he had breakfast there. Other stories, though, suggested that the
meeting occurred on another day, and perhaps under other
circumstances. Regardless of when he began to woo his first wife, he
won his first game as a pitcher for the Red Sox that afternoon, 4–3,
over the Cleveland Naps. His catcher was Bill Carrigan, who was also
the Red Sox manager. Shore was given a start by Carrigan the next day;
he won that and his second start and thereafter was pitched regularly.
Ruth lost his second start, and was thereafter little used. As a
batter in his major-league debut, Ruth went 0-for-2 against
left-hander Willie Mitchell, striking out in his first at bat, before
being removed for a pinch hitter in the seventh inning. Ruth was
not much noticed by the fans, as Bostonians watched the Red Sox's
crosstown rivals, the Braves, begin a legendary comeback that would
take them from last place on the Fourth of July to the 1914 World
Egan was traded to Cleveland after two weeks on the Boston roster.
During his time as a Red Sox, he kept an eye on the inexperienced
Ruth, much as Dunn had in Baltimore. When he was traded, no one took
his place as supervisor. Ruth's new teammates considered him brash,
and would have preferred him, as a rookie, to remain quiet and
inconspicuous. When Ruth insisted on taking batting practice despite
his being both a rookie who did not play regularly, and a pitcher, he
arrived to find his bats sawn in half. His teammates nicknamed him
"the Big Baboon", a name the swarthy Ruth, who had disliked the
nickname "Niggerlips" at St. Mary's, detested. Ruth had received a
raise on promotion to the major leagues, and quickly acquired tastes
for fine food, liquor, and women, among other temptations.
Manager Carrigan allowed Ruth to pitch two exhibition games in
mid-August. Although Ruth won both against minor-league competition,
he was not restored to the pitching rotation. It is uncertain why
Carrigan did not give Ruth additional opportunities to pitch. There
are legends—filmed for the screen in
The Babe Ruth Story
(1948)—that the young pitcher had a habit of signaling his intent to
throw a curveball by sticking out his tongue slightly, and that he was
easy to hit until this changed. Creamer pointed out that it is common
for inexperienced pitchers to display such habits, and the need to
break Ruth of his would not constitute a reason to not use him at all.
The biographer suggested that Carrigan was unwilling to use Ruth due
to poor behavior by the rookie.
Providence Grays with
Babe Ruth (top row, center), 1914
On July 30, 1914, Boston owner
Joseph Lannin had purchased the
minor-league Providence Grays, members of the International
League. The Providence team had been owned by several people
associated with the Detroit Tigers, including star hitter Ty Cobb, and
as part of the transaction, a Providence pitcher was sent to the
Tigers. To soothe Providence fans upset at losing a star, Lannin
announced that the Red Sox would soon send a replacement to the Grays.
This was intended to be Ruth, but his departure for Providence was
Cincinnati Reds owner
Garry Herrmann claimed him off
waivers. After Lannin wrote to Herrmann explaining that the Red Sox
wanted Ruth in Providence so he could develop as a player, and would
not release him to a major league club, Herrmann allowed Ruth to be
sent to the minors. Carrigan later stated that Ruth was not sent down
to Providence to make him a better player, but to help the Grays win
International League pennant (league championship).
Ruth joined the Grays on August 18, 1914. After Dunn's deals, the
Baltimore Orioles managed to hold on to first place until August 15,
after which they continued to fade, leaving the pennant race between
Providence and Rochester. Ruth was deeply impressed by Providence
manager "Wild Bill" Donovan, previously a star pitcher with a 25–4
win–loss record for Detroit in 1907; in later years, he credited
Donovan with teaching him much about pitching. Ruth was often called
upon to pitch, in one stretch starting (and winning) four games in
eight days. On September 5 at
Maple Leaf Park
Maple Leaf Park in Toronto, Ruth pitched
a one-hit 9–0 victory, and hit his first professional home run, his
only one as a minor leaguer, off Ellis Johnson. Recalled to Boston
after Providence finished the season in first place, he pitched and
won a game for the Red Sox against the
New York Yankees
New York Yankees on October 2,
getting his first major league hit, a double. Ruth finished the season
with a record of 2–1 as a major leaguer and 23–8 in the
International League (for
Baltimore and Providence). Once the season
concluded, Ruth married Helen in Ellicott City, Maryland. Creamer
speculated that they did not marry in Baltimore, where the newlyweds
boarded with George Ruth Sr., to avoid possible interference from
those at St. Mary's—both bride and groom were not yet of age
and Ruth remained on parole from that institution until his 21st
In March 1915, Ruth reported to
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Hot Springs, Arkansas for his first
major league spring training. Despite a relatively successful first
season, he was not slated to start regularly for the Red Sox, who
already had two stellar left-handed pitchers: the established stars
Dutch Leonard, who had broken the record for the lowest earned run
average (ERA) in a single season; and Ray Collins, a 20-game winner in
both 1913 and 1914. Ruth was ineffective in his first start, taking
the loss in the third game of the season. Injuries and ineffective
pitching by other Boston pitchers gave Ruth another chance, and after
some good relief appearances, Carrigan allowed Ruth another start, and
he won a rain-shortened seven inning game. Ten days later, the manager
had him start against the
New York Yankees
New York Yankees at the Polo Grounds. Ruth
took a 3–2 lead into the ninth, but lost the game 4–3 in 13
innings. Ruth, hitting ninth as was customary for pitchers, hit a
massive home run into the upper deck in right field off of Jack
Warhop. At the time, home runs were rare in baseball, and Ruth's
majestic shot awed the crowd. The winning pitcher, Warhop, would in
August 1915 conclude a major league career of eight seasons,
undistinguished but for being the first major league pitcher to give
up a home run to Babe Ruth.
Ruth during batting practice in 1916.
Carrigan was sufficiently impressed by Ruth's pitching to give him a
spot in the starting rotation. Ruth finished the 1915 season 18–8 as
a pitcher; as a hitter, he batted .315 and had four home runs. The Red
Sox won the AL pennant, but with the pitching staff healthy, Ruth was
not called upon to pitch in the 1915
World Series against the
Philadelphia Phillies. Boston won in five games; Ruth was used as a
pinch hitter in Game Five, but grounded out against Phillies ace
Grover Cleveland Alexander. Despite his success as a pitcher, Ruth
was acquiring a reputation for long home runs; at Sportsman's Park
against the St. Louis Browns, a Ruth hit soared over Grand Avenue,
breaking the window of a
In 1916, there was attention focused on Ruth for his pitching, as he
engaged in repeated pitching duels with the ace of the Washington
Senators, Walter Johnson. The two met five times during the season,
with Ruth winning four and Johnson one (Ruth had a no decision in
Johnson's victory). Two of Ruth's victories were by the score of
1–0, one in a 13-inning game. Of the 1–0 shutout decided without
extra innings, AL President
Ban Johnson stated, "That was one of the
best ball games I have ever seen." For the season, Ruth went
23–12, with a 1.75 ERA and nine shutouts, both of which led the
league. Ruth's nine shutouts in 1916 set a league record for
left-handers that would remain unmatched until
Ron Guidry tied it in
1978. The Red Sox won the pennant and
World Series again, this
time defeating the Brooklyn Superbas (as the Dodgers were then known)
in five games. Ruth started and won Game 2, 2–1, in 14 innings.
Until another game of that length was played in 2005, this was the
World Series game, and Ruth's pitching performance is still
the longest postseason complete game victory.
Carrigan retired as player and manager after 1916, returning to his
native Maine to be a businessman. Ruth, who played under four managers
who are in the National
Baseball Hall of Fame, always maintained that
Carrigan, who is not enshrined there, was the best skipper he ever
played for. There were other changes in the Red Sox organization
that offseason, as Lannin sold the team to a three-man group headed by
New York theatrical promoter Harry Frazee. Jack Barry was hired by
Frazee as manager.
Emergence as a hitter
Ruth went 24–13 with a 2.01 ERA and six shutouts in 1917, but the
Sox finished in second place in the league, nine games behind the
Chicago White Sox
Chicago White Sox in the standings. On June 23 at Washington, Ruth
made a memorable pitching start. When home plate umpire 'Brick' Owens
called the first four pitches as balls, Ruth threw a punch at him, and
was ejected from the game and later suspended for ten days and fined
Ernie Shore was called in to relieve Ruth, and was allowed
eight warm-up pitches. The runner who had reached base on the walk was
caught stealing, and Shore retired all 26 batters he faced to win the
game. Shore's feat was listed as a perfect game for many years; in
1991, Major League Baseball's (MLB) Committee on Statistical Accuracy
caused it to be listed as a combined no-hitter. In 1917, Ruth was
little-used as a batter, other than for his plate appearances while
pitching, and hit .325 with two home runs.
Ruth in 1918, his penultimate year with the Red Sox
The entry of the United States into
World War I
World War I occurred at the start
of the season and overshadowed the sport. Conscription was introduced
in September 1917, and most baseball players in the big leagues were
of draft age. This included Barry, who was a player-manager, and who
joined the Naval Reserve in an attempt to avoid the draft, only to be
called up after the 1917 season. Frazee hired International League
Ed Barrow as Red Sox manager. Barrow had spent the previous
30 years in a variety of baseball jobs, though he never played the
game professionally. With the major leagues shorthanded due to the
war, Barrow had many holes in the Red Sox lineup to fill.
Ruth also noticed these vacancies in the lineup; he was dissatisfied
in the role of a pitcher who appeared every four or five days and
wanted to play every day at another position. Barrow used Ruth at
first base and in the outfield during the exhibition season, but he
restricted him to pitching as the team moved towards Boston and the
season opener. At the time, Ruth was possibly the best left-handed
pitcher in baseball, and allowing him to play another position was an
experiment that could have backfired.
Inexperienced as a manager, Barrow had player
Harry Hooper advise him
on baseball game strategy. Hooper urged his manager to allow Ruth to
play another position when he was not pitching, arguing to Barrow,
who had invested in the club, that the crowds were larger on days when
Ruth played, as they were attracted by his hitting. Barrow gave in
early in May; Ruth promptly hit home runs in four consecutive games
(one an exhibition), the last off of Walter Johnson. For the first
time in his career (disregarding pinch-hitting appearances), Ruth was
assigned a place in the batting order higher than ninth.
Although Barrow predicted that Ruth would beg to return to pitching
the first time he experienced a batting slump, that did not occur.
Barrow used Ruth primarily as an outfielder in the war-shortened 1918
season. Ruth hit .300, with 11 home runs, enough to secure him a share
of the major league home run title with
Tillie Walker of the
Philadelphia Athletics. He was still occasionally used as a pitcher,
and had a 13–7 record with a 2.22 ERA.
In 1918, the Red Sox won their third pennant in four years and faced
Chicago Cubs in the World Series, which began on September 5, the
earliest date in history. The season had been shortened because the
government had ruled that baseball players who were eligible for the
military would have to be inducted or work in critical war industries,
such as armaments plants. Ruth pitched and won Game One for the Red
Sox, a 1–0 shutout. Before Game Four, Ruth injured his left hand in
a fight; he pitched anyway. He gave up seven hits and six walks, but
was helped by outstanding fielding behind him and by his own batting
efforts, as a fourth-inning triple by Ruth gave his team a 2–0 lead.
The Cubs tied the game in the eighth inning, but the Red Sox scored to
take a 3–2 again in the bottom of that inning. After Ruth gave up a
hit and a walk to start the ninth inning, he was relieved on the mound
by Joe Bush. To keep Ruth and his bat in the game, he was sent to play
left field. Bush retired the side to give Ruth his second win of the
Series, and the third and last
World Series pitching victory of his
career, against no defeats, in three pitching appearances. Ruth's
effort gave his team a three-games-to-one lead, and two days later the
Red Sox won their third Series in four years, four-games-to-two.
Before allowing the Cubs to score in Game Four, Ruth pitched
29 2⁄3 consecutive scoreless innings, a record for the World
Series that stood for more than 40 years until 1961, broken by Whitey
Ford after Ruth's death. Ruth was prouder of that record than he was
of any of his batting feats.
Ruth in 1919
World Series over, Ruth gained exemption from the war draft
by accepting a nominal position with a Pennsylvania steel mill. Many
industrial establishments took pride in their baseball teams and
sought to hire major leaguers. The end of the war in November set Ruth
free to play baseball without such contrivances.
During the 1919 season, Ruth was used as a pitcher in only 17 of his
130 games and compiled an 8–5 record. Barrow used him as a
pitcher mostly in the early part of the season, when the Red Sox
manager still had hopes of a second consecutive pennant. By late June,
the Red Sox were clearly out of the race, and Barrow had no objection
to Ruth concentrating on his hitting, if only because it drew people
to the ballpark. Ruth had hit a home run against the Yankees on
Opening Day, and another during a month-long batting slump that soon
followed. Relieved of his pitching duties, Ruth began an unprecedented
spell of slugging home runs, which gave him widespread public and
press attention. Even his failures were seen as majestic—one
sportswriter noted, "When Ruth misses a swipe at the ball, the stands
Two home runs by Ruth on July 5, and one in each of two consecutive
games a week later, raised his season total to 11, tying his career
best from 1918. The first record to fall was the AL single-season mark
of 16, set by Ralph "Socks" Seybold in 1902. Ruth matched that on July
29, then pulled ahead toward the major league record of 24, set by
Buck Freeman in 1899. Ruth reached this on September 8, by which time,
writers had discovered that
Ned Williamson of the 1884 Chicago White
Stockings had hit 27—though in a ballpark where the distance to
right field was only 215 feet (66 m). On September 20, "Babe Ruth
Day" at Fenway Park, Ruth won the game with a home run in the bottom
of the ninth inning, tying Williamson. He broke the record four days
later against the Yankees at the Polo Grounds, and hit one more
against the Senators to finish with 29. The home run at Washington
made Ruth the first major league player to hit a home run at all eight
ballparks in his league. In spite of Ruth's hitting heroics, the Red
Sox finished sixth, 20 1⁄2 games behind the league champion
Sale to New York
As an out-of-towner from New York City, Frazee had been regarded with
suspicion by Boston's sportswriters and baseball fans when he bought
the team. He won them over with success on the field and a willingness
to build the Red Sox by purchasing or trading for players. He offered
the Senators $60,000 for Walter Johnson, but Washington owner Clark
Griffith was unwilling. Even so, Frazee was successful in bringing
other players to Boston, especially as replacements for players in the
military. This willingness to spend for players helped the Red Sox
secure the 1918 title. The 1919 season saw record-breaking
attendance, and Ruth's home runs for Boston made him a national
sensation. In March 1919 Ruth was reported as having accepted a
three-year contract for a total of $27,000, after protracted
negotiations. Nevertheless, on December 26, 1919, Frazee sold
Ruth's contract to the New York Yankees.
Ruth in his first year with the New York Yankees, 1920
Not all of the circumstances concerning the sale are known, but brewer
and former congressman Jacob Ruppert, the New York team's principal
owner, reportedly asked Yankee manager
Miller Huggins what the team
needed to be successful. "Get Ruth from Boston", Huggins supposedly
replied, noting that Frazee was perennially in need of money to
finance his theatrical productions. In any event, there was
precedent for the Ruth transaction: when Boston pitcher
Carl Mays left
the Red Sox in a 1919 dispute, Frazee had settled the matter by
selling Mays to the Yankees, though over the opposition of AL
According to one of Ruth's biographers, Jim Reisler, "why Frazee
needed cash in 1919—and large infusions of it quickly—is still,
more than 80 years later, a bit of a mystery". The often-told
story is that Frazee needed money to finance the musical No, No,
Nanette, which was a Broadway hit and brought Frazee financial
security. That play did not open until 1925, however, by which time
Frazee had sold the Red Sox. Still, the story may be true in
No, No, Nanette
No, No, Nanette was based on a Frazee-produced play, My Lady
Friends, which opened in 1919.
There were other financial pressures on Frazee, despite his team's
success. Ruth, fully aware of baseball's popularity and his role in
it, wanted to renegotiate his contract, signed before the 1919 season
for $10,000 per year through 1921. He demanded that his salary be
doubled, or he would sit out the season and cash in on his popularity
through other ventures. Ruth's salary demands were causing other
players to ask for more money. Additionally, Frazee still owed
Lannin as much as $125,000 from the purchase of the club.
Although Ruppert and his co-owner, Colonel Tillinghast Huston, were
both wealthy, and had aggressively purchased and traded for players in
1918 and 1919 to build a winning team, Ruppert faced losses in his
brewing interests as Prohibition was implemented, and if their team
left the Polo Grounds, where the Yankees were the tenants of the New
York Giants, building a stadium in New York would be expensive.
Nevertheless, when Frazee, who moved in the same social circles as
Huston, hinted to the colonel that Ruth was available for the right
price, the Yankees owners quickly pursued the purchase.
Frazee sold the rights to
Babe Ruth for $100,000, the largest sum ever
paid for a baseball player. The deal also involved a $350,000 loan
from Ruppert to Frazee, secured by a mortgage on Fenway Park. Once it
was agreed, Frazee informed Barrow, who, stunned, told the owner that
he was getting the worse end of the bargain. Cynics have
suggested that Barrow may have played a larger role in the Ruth sale,
as less than a year after, he became the Yankee general manager, and
in the following years made a number of purchases of Red Sox players
from Frazee. The $100,000 price included $25,000 in cash, and
notes for the same amount due November 1 in 1920, 1921, and 1922;
Ruppert and Huston assisted Frazee in selling the notes to banks for
The transaction was contingent on Ruth signing a new contract, which
was quickly accomplished—Ruth agreed to fulfill the remaining two
years on his contract, but was given a $20,000 bonus, payable over two
seasons. The deal was announced on January 6, 1920. Reaction in Boston
was mixed: some fans were embittered at the loss of Ruth; others
conceded that the slugger had become difficult to deal with. The
New York Times suggested presciently, "The short right field wall at
Polo Grounds should prove an easy target for Ruth next season and,
playing seventy-seven games at home, it would not be surprising if
Ruth surpassed his home run record of twenty-nine circuit clouts next
Summer." According to Reisler, "The Yankees had pulled off the
sports steal of the century."
Marty Appel in his history of the Yankees, the
transaction, "changed the fortunes of two high-profile franchises for
decades". The Red Sox, winners of five of the first sixteen World
Series, those played between 1903 and 1919,[c] would not win another
pennant until 1946, or another
World Series until 2004, a drought
attributed in baseball superstition to Frazee's sale of Ruth and
sometimes dubbed the "Curse of the Bambino". The Yankees, on the other
hand, had not won the AL championship prior to their acquisition of
Ruth. They won seven AL pennants and four
World Series with Ruth, and
lead baseball with 40 pennants and 27
World Series titles in their
New York Yankees
New York Yankees (1920–1934)
Initial success (1920–1923)
When Ruth signed with the Yankees, he completed his transition from a
pitcher to a power-hitting outfielder. His fifteen-season Yankee
career consisted of over 2,000 games, and Ruth broke many batting
records while making only five widely scattered appearances on the
mound, winning all of them.
At the end of April 1920, the Yankees were 4–7, with the Red Sox
leading the league with a 10–2 mark. Ruth had done little, having
injured himself swinging the bat. Both situations began to change
on May 1, when Ruth hit a tape measure home that sent the ball
completely out of the Polo Grounds, a feat believed to have been
previously accomplished only by Shoeless Joe Jackson. The Yankees won,
6–0, taking three out of four from the Red Sox. Ruth hit his
second home run on May 2, and by the end of the month had set a major
league record for home runs in a month with 11, and promptly broke it
with 13 in June. Fans responded with record attendance figures. On
May 16, Ruth and the Yankees drew 38,600 to the Polo Grounds, a record
for the ballpark, and 15,000 fans were turned away. Large crowds
jammed stadiums to see Ruth play when the Yankees were on the
"How Does He Do It?" In this
Clifford Berryman cartoon, presidential
Warren G. Harding
Warren G. Harding and
James M. Cox
James M. Cox wonder at Ruth's record
home run pace.
The home runs kept on coming. Ruth tied his own record of 29 on July
15 and broke it with home runs in both games of a doubleheader four
days later. By the end of July, he had 37, but his pace slackened
somewhat after that. Nevertheless, on September 4, he both tied
and broke the organized baseball record for home runs in a season,
snapping Perry Werden's 1895 mark of 44 in the minor Western
League. The Yankees played well as a team, battling for the league
lead early in the summer, but slumped in August in the AL pennant
battle with Chicago and Cleveland. The pennant and the World Series
were won by Cleveland, who surged ahead after the Black Sox Scandal
broke on September 28 and led to the suspension of many of Chicago's
top players, including Shoeless Joe Jackson. The Yankees finished
third, but drew 1.2 million fans to the Polo Grounds, the first
time a team had drawn a seven-figure attendance. The rest of the
league sold 600,000 more tickets, many fans there to see Ruth, who led
the league with 54 home runs, 158 runs, and 137 runs batted in
In 1920 and afterwards, Ruth was aided in his power hitting by the
fact that A.J. Reach Company—the maker of baseballs used in the
major leagues—was using a more efficient machine to wind the yarn
found within the baseball. The new baseballs went into play in 1920
and ushered the start of the live-ball era; the number of home runs
across the major leagues increased by 184 over the previous year.
Bill James pointed out that while Ruth was
likely aided by the change in the baseball, there were other factors
at work, including the gradual abolition of the spitball (accelerated
after the death of Ray Chapman, struck by a pitched ball thrown by
Mays in August 1920) and the more frequent use of new baseballs (also
a response to Chapman's death). Nevertheless, James theorized that
Ruth's 1920 explosion might have happened in 1919, had a full season
of 154 games been played rather than 140, had Ruth refrained from
pitching 133 innings that season, and if he were playing at any other
home field but Fenway Park, where he hit only 9 of 29 home runs.
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Shoeless Joe Jackson looking at one of Babe's home run bats,
Yankees business manager Harry Sparrow had died early in the 1920
season. Ruppert and Huston hired Barrow to replace him. The two
men quickly made a deal with Frazee for New York to acquire some of
the players who would be mainstays of the early Yankee pennant-winning
teams, including catcher
Wally Schang and pitcher Waite Hoyt. The
21-year-old Hoyt became close to Ruth:
The outrageous life fascinated Hoyt, the don't-give-a-shit freedom of
it, the nonstop, pell-mell charge into excess. How did a man drink so
much and never get drunk? ... The puzzle of
Babe Ruth never was
dull, no matter how many times Hoyt picked up the pieces and stared at
them. After games he would follow the crowd to the Babe's suite. No
matter what the town, the beer would be iced and the bottles would
fill the bathtub.
Ruth hit home runs early and often in the 1921 season, during which he
broke Roger Connor's mark for home runs in a career, 138. Each of the
almost 600 home runs Ruth hit in his career after that extended his
own record. After a slow start, the Yankees were soon locked in a
tight pennant race with Cleveland, winners of the 1920 World Series.
On September 15, Ruth hit his 55th home run, shattering his year-old
single season record. In late September, the Yankees visited Cleveland
and won three out of four games, giving them the upper hand in the
race, and clinched their first pennant a few days later. Ruth finished
the regular season with 59 home runs, batting .378 and with a slugging
percentage of .846.
The Yankees had high expectations when they met the New York Giants in
the 1921 World Series, every game of which was played in the Polo
Grounds. The Yankees won the first two games with Ruth in the lineup.
However, Ruth badly scraped his elbow during Game 2 when he slid into
third base (he had walked and stolen both second and third bases).
After the game, he was told by the team physician not to play the rest
of the series. Despite this advice, he did play in the next three
games, and pinch-hit in Game Eight of the best-of-nine series, but the
Yankees lost, five games to three. Ruth hit .316, drove in five runs
and hit his first
World Series home run.
Babe Ruth in the stands on Opening Day, April 12, 1922, at Griffith
Stadium in Washington, D.C.
After the Series, Ruth and teammates
Bob Meusel and Bill Piercy
participated in a barnstorming tour in the Northeast. A rule then
in force prohibited
World Series participants from playing in
exhibition games during the offseason, the purpose being to prevent
Series participants from replicating the Series and undermining its
Kenesaw Mountain Landis
Kenesaw Mountain Landis suspended the
trio until May 20, 1922, and fined them their 1921 World Series
checks. In August 1922, the rule was changed to allow limited
World Series participants, with Landis's permission
On March 6, 1922, Ruth signed a new contract for three years at
$52,000 a year. This was the largest sum ever paid to a ballplayer up
to that point, and it represented 40% of the team's player
payroll. Despite his suspension, Ruth was named the Yankees' new
on-field captain prior to the 1922 season. During the suspension, he
worked out with the team in the morning and played exhibition games
with the Yankees on their off days. He and Meusel returned on May
20 to a sellout crowd at the Polo Grounds, but Ruth batted 0-for-4 and
was booed. On May 25, he was thrown out of the game for throwing
dust in umpire George Hildebrand's face, then climbed into the stands
to confront a heckler.
Ban Johnson ordered him fined, suspended, and
stripped of position as team captain. In his shortened season,
Ruth appeared in 110 games, batted .315, with 35 home runs, and drove
in 99 runs, but the 1922 season was a disappointment in comparison
to his two previous dominating years. Despite Ruth's off-year, the
Yankees managed to win the pennant and faced the New York Giants in
World Series for the second consecutive year. In the Series,
John McGraw instructed his pitchers to throw him
nothing but curveballs, and Ruth never adjusted. Ruth had just two
hits in seventeen at bats, and the Yankees lost to the Giants for the
second straight year, by 4–0 (with one tie game). Sportswriter Joe
Vila called him, "an exploded phenomenon".
After the season, Ruth was a guest at an
Elks Club banquet, set up by
Ruth's agent with Yankee team support. There, each speaker, concluding
with future New York mayor Jimmy Walker, censured him for his poor
behavior. An emotional Ruth promised reform, and, to the surprise of
many, followed through. When he reported to spring training, he was in
his best shape as a Yankee, weighing only 210 pounds
The Yankees' status as tenants of the Giants at the
Polo Grounds had
become increasingly uneasy, and in 1922, Giants owner Charles Stoneham
stated that the Yankees' lease, expiring after that season, would not
be renewed. Ruppert and Huston had long contemplated a new stadium,
and had taken an option on property at 161st Street and River Avenue
in the Bronx.
Yankee Stadium was completed in time for the home opener
on April 18, 1923, at which the Babe hit the first home run in
what was quickly dubbed "the House that Ruth Built". The ballpark
was designed with Ruth in mind: although the venue's left-field fence
was further from home plate than at the Polo Grounds, Yankee Stadium's
right-field fence was closer, making home runs easier to hit for
left-handed batters. To spare Ruth's eyes, right field–his defensive
position–was not pointed into the afternoon sun, as was traditional;
left fielder Meusel was soon suffering headaches from squinting toward
During the 1923 season, The Yankees were never seriously challenged
and won the AL pennant by 17 games. Ruth finished the season with a
career-high .393 batting average and 41 home runs, which tied Cy
Williams for the most in the major-leagues that year. Ruth hit a
career high 45 doubles in 1923, and he reached base 379 times, then a
major league record. For the third straight year, the Yankees
faced the Giants in the World Series, which Ruth dominated. He batted
.368, walked eight times, scored eight runs, hit three home runs and
slugged 1.000 during the series, as the Yankees christened their new
stadium with their first
World Series championship, four games to
Batting title and "bellyache" (1924–1925)
Ruth after losing consciousness from running into the wall at Griffith
Stadium during a game against the Washington Senators on July 5, 1924.
Ruth insisted on staying in the game, despite evident pain and a
bruised pelvic bone, and hit a double in his next at-bat. Note the
absence of a warning track along the outfield wall.
In 1924, the Yankees were favored to become the first team to win four
consecutive pennants. Plagued by injuries, they found themselves in a
battle with the Senators. Although the Yankees won 18 of 22 at one
point in September, the Senators beat out the Yankees by two games.
Ruth hit .378, winning his only AL batting title, with a
league-leading 46 home runs.
Ruth had kept up his efforts to stay in shape in 1923 and 1924, but by
early 1925 weighed nearly 260 pounds (120 kg). His annual visit
to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where he exercised and took saunas early in
the year, did him no good as he spent much of the time carousing in
the resort town. He became ill while there, and suffered relapses
during spring training. Ruth collapsed in Asheville, North Carolina,
as the team journeyed north. He was put on a train for New York, where
he was briefly hospitalized. A rumor circulated that he had died,
prompting British newspapers to print a premature obituary. In
New York, Ruth collapsed again and was found unconscious in his hotel
bathroom. He was taken to a hospital where he suffered multiple
convulsions. After sportswriter
W. O. McGeehan wrote that Ruth's
illness was due to binging on hot dogs and soda pop before a game, it
became known as "the bellyache heard 'round the world". However,
the exact cause of his ailment has never been confirmed and remains a
mystery. Glenn Stout, in his history of the Yankees, notes that
the Ruth legend is "still one of the most sheltered in sports"; he
suggests that alcohol was at the root of Ruth's illness, pointing to
the fact that Ruth remained six weeks at St. Vincent's Hospital but
was allowed to leave, under supervision, for workouts with the team
for part of that time. He concludes that the hospitalization was
behavior-related. Playing just 98 games, Ruth had his worst
season as a Yankee; he finished with a .290 average and 25 home runs.
The Yankees finished next to last in the AL with a 69–85 record,
their last season with a losing record until 1965.
Murderer's Row (1926–1928)
Ruth spent part of the offseason of 1925–26 working out at Artie
McGovern's gym, where he got back into shape. Barrow and Huggins had
rebuilt the team and surrounded the veteran core with good young
Tony Lazzeri and Lou Gehrig, but the Yankees were not
expected to win the pennant.
Ruth returned to his normal production during 1926, when he batted
.372 with 47 home runs and 146 RBIs. The Yankees built a 10-game
lead by mid-June and coasted to win the pennant by three games. The
St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis Cardinals had won the
National League with the lowest
winning percentage for a pennant winner to that point (.578) and the
Yankees were expected to win the
World Series easily. Although
the Yankees won the opener in New York, St. Louis took Games Two and
Three. In Game Four, Ruth hit three home runs—the first time this
had been done in a
World Series game—to lead the Yankees to victory.
In the fifth game, Ruth caught a ball as he crashed into the fence.
The play was described by baseball writers as a defensive gem. New
York took that game, but
Grover Cleveland Alexander
Grover Cleveland Alexander won Game Six for
St. Louis to tie the Series at three games each, then got very drunk.
He was nevertheless inserted into Game Seven in the seventh inning and
shut down the Yankees to win the game, 3–2, and win the Series.
Ruth had hit his fourth home run of the Series earlier in the game,
and was the only Yankee to reach base off Alexander, walking in the
ninth inning before being caught stealing to end the game. Although
Ruth's attempt to steal second is often deemed a baserunning blunder,
Creamer pointed out that the Yankees' chances of tying the game would
have been greatly improved with a runner in scoring position.
Ruth took time off in 1927 to star with
Anna Q. Nilsson
Anna Q. Nilsson in this First
National silent production Babe Comes Home. This film is now lost.
World Series was also known for Ruth's promise to Johnny
Sylvester, a hospitalized 11-year-old boy. Ruth promised the child
that he would hit a home run on his behalf. Sylvester had been injured
in a fall from a horse, and a friend of Sylvester's father gave the
boy two autographed baseballs signed by Yankees and Cardinals. The
friend relayed a promise from Ruth (who did not know the boy) that he
would hit a home run for him. After the Series, Ruth visited the boy
in the hospital. When the matter became public, the press greatly
inflated it, and by some accounts, Ruth allegedly saved the boy's life
by visiting him, emotionally promising to hit a home run, and doing
New York Yankees
New York Yankees team is considered one of the greatest
squads to ever take the field. Known as
Murderer's Row because of the
power of its lineup, the team clinched first place on Labor Day,
won a then-AL-record 110 games and took the AL pennant by 19
games. There was no suspense in the pennant race, and the nation
turned its attention to Ruth's pursuit of his own single-season home
run record of 59 round trippers. Ruth was not alone in this chase.
Lou Gehrig proved to be a slugger who was capable of
challenging Ruth for his home run crown; he tied Ruth with 24 home
runs late in June. Through July and August, the dynamic duo was never
separated by more than two home runs. Gehrig took the lead, 45–44,
in the first game of a doubleheader at Fenway Park early in September;
Ruth responded with two blasts of his own to take the lead, as it
proved permanently—Gehrig finished with 47. Even so, as of September
6, Ruth was still several games off his 1921 pace, and going into the
final series against the Senators, had only 57. He hit two in the
first game of the series, including one off of Paul Hopkins, facing
his first major league batter, to tie the record. The following day,
September 30, he broke it with his 60th homer, in the eighth inning
Tom Zachary to break a 2–2 tie. "Sixty! Let's see some son of a
bitch try to top that one", Ruth exulted after the game. In
addition to his career-high 60 home runs, Ruth batted .356, drove in
164 runs and slugged .772. In the 1927 World Series, the Yankees
Pittsburgh Pirates in four games; the National Leaguers were
disheartened after watching the Yankees take batting practice before
Game One, with ball after ball leaving Forbes Field. According to
Appel, "The 1927 New York Yankees. Even today, the words inspire
awe ... all baseball success is measured against the '27
Lou Gehrig, Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb, and Babe, 1928
The following season started off well for the Yankees, who led the
league in the early going. But the Yankees were plagued by injuries,
erratic pitching and inconsistent play. The Philadelphia Athletics,
rebuilding after some lean years, erased the Yankees' big lead and
even took over first place briefly in early September. The Yankees,
however, regained first place when they beat the Athletics three out
of four games in a pivotal series at
Yankee Stadium later that month,
and clinched the pennant in the final weekend of the season.
Ruth's play in 1928 mirrored his team's performance. He got off to a
hot start and on August 1, he had 42 home runs. This put him ahead of
his 60 home run pace from the previous season. He then slumped for the
latter part of the season, and he hit just twelve home runs in the
last two months. Ruth's batting average also fell to .323, well below
his career average. Nevertheless, he ended the season with 54 home
runs. The Yankees swept the favored Cardinals in four games in the
World Series, with Ruth batting .625 and hitting three home runs in
Game Four, including one off Alexander.
"Called shot" and final Yankee years (1929–1934)
Further information: Babe Ruth's called shot
1933 Goudey Sport Kings baseball card
Before the 1929 season, Ruppert (who had bought out Huston in 1923)
announced that the Yankees would wear uniform numbers to allow fans at
Yankee Stadium to easily identify the players. The Cardinals
and Indians had each experimented with uniform numbers; the Yankees
were the first to use them on both home and away uniforms. Ruth batted
third and was given number 3. According to a long-standing
baseball legend, the Yankees adopted their now-iconic pinstriped
uniforms in hopes of making Ruth look slimmer. In truth, though,
they had been wearing pinstripes since Ruppert bought the team in
Although the Yankees started well, the Athletics soon proved they were
the better team in 1929, splitting two series with the Yankees in the
first month of the season, then taking advantage of a Yankee losing
streak in mid-May to gain first place. Although Ruth performed well,
the Yankees were not able to catch the Athletics—
Connie Mack had
built another great team. Tragedy struck the Yankees late in the
year as manager Huggins died at 51 of erysipelas, a bacterial skin
infection, on September 25, only ten days after he had last directed
the team. Despite their past differences, Ruth praised Huggins and
described him as a "great guy". The Yankees finished second, 18
games behind the Athletics. Ruth hit .345 during the season, with
46 home runs and 154 RBIs.
On October 17, the Yankees hired
Bob Shawkey as manager; he was their
fourth choice. Ruth had politicked for the job of player-manager,
but Ruppert and Barrow never seriously considered him for the
position. Stout deemed this the first hint Ruth would have no future
with the Yankees once he retired as a player. Shawkey, a former
Yankees player and teammate of Ruth, would prove unable to command the
On January 7, 1930, salary negotiations between the Yankees and Ruth
quickly broke down. Having just concluded a three-year contract at an
annual salary of $70,000, Ruth promptly rejected both the Yankees'
initial proposal of $70,000 for one year and their 'final' offer of
two years at seventy-five—the latter figure equalling the annual
salary of then US President Herbert Hoover; instead, Ruth demanded at
least $85,000 and three years. When asked why he
thought he was "worth more than the President of the United States,"
Ruth responded: "Say, if I hadn't been sick last summer, I'd have
broken hell out of that home run record! Besides, the President gets a
four-year contract. I'm only asking for three." Exactly two
months later, a compromise was reached, with Ruth settling for two
years at an unprecedented $80,000 per year.
In 1930, Ruth hit .359 with 49 home runs (his best in his years after
1928) and 153 RBIs, and pitched his first game in nine years, a
complete game victory. Nevertheless, the Athletics won their
second consecutive pennant and World Series, as the Yankees finished
in third place, sixteen games back. At the end of the season,
Shawkey was fired and replaced with Cubs manager Joe McCarthy, though
Ruth again unsuccessfully sought the job.
McCarthy was a disciplinarian, but chose not to interfere with Ruth,
and the slugger for his part did not seek conflict with the
manager. The team improved in 1931, but was no match for the
Athletics, who won 107 games, 13 1⁄2 games in front of the
Yankees. Ruth, for his part, hit .373, with 46 home runs and 163
RBIs. He had 31 doubles, his most since 1924. In the 1932 season,
the Yankees went 107–47 and won the pennant. Ruth's
effectiveness had decreased somewhat, but he still hit .341 with 41
home runs and 137 RBIs. Nevertheless, he was sidelined twice due
to injuries during the season.
The Yankees faced the Cubs, McCarthy's former team, in the 1932 World
Series. There was bad blood between the two teams as the Yankees
resented the Cubs only awarding half a
World Series share to Mark
Koenig, a former Yankee. The games at
Yankee Stadium had not been
sellouts; both were won by the home team, with Ruth collecting two
singles, but scoring four runs as he was walked four times by the Cubs
pitchers. In Chicago, Ruth was resentful at the hostile crowds that
met the Yankees' train and jeered them at the hotel. The crowd for
Game Three included New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, the
Democratic candidate for president, who sat with Chicago Mayor Anton
Cermak. Many in the crowd threw lemons at Ruth, a sign of derision,
and others (as well as the Cubs themselves) shouted abuse at Ruth and
other Yankees. They were briefly silenced when Ruth hit a three-run
home run off
Charlie Root in the first inning, but soon revived, and
the Cubs tied the score at 4–4 in the fourth inning. When Ruth came
to the plate in the top of the fifth, the Chicago crowd and players,
led by pitcher Guy Bush, were screaming insults at Ruth. With the
count at two balls and one strike, Ruth gestured, possibly in the
direction of center field, and after the next pitch (a strike), may
have pointed there with one hand. Ruth hit the fifth pitch over the
center field fence; estimates were that it traveled nearly 500 feet
(150 m). Whether or not Ruth intended to indicate where he
planned to (and did) hit the ball, the incident has gone down in
legend as Babe Ruth's called shot. The Yankees won Game Three,
and the following day clinched the Series with another victory.
During that game, Bush hit Ruth on the arm with a pitch, causing words
to be exchanged and provoking a game-winning Yankee rally.
Ruth remained productive in 1933. He batted .301, with 34 home runs,
103 RBIs, and a league-leading 114 walks, as the Yankees finished
in second place, seven games behind the Senators. Athletics
Connie Mack selected him to play right field in the first
Baseball All-Star Game, held on July 6, 1933, at Comiskey
Park in Chicago. He hit the first home run in the All-Star Game's
history, a two-run blast against
Bill Hallahan during the third
inning, which helped the AL win the game 4–2. During the final
game of the 1933 season, as a publicity stunt organized by his team,
Ruth was called upon and pitched a complete game victory against the
Red Sox, his final appearance as a pitcher. Despite unremarkable
pitching numbers, Ruth had a 5–0 record in five games for the
Yankees, raising his career totals to 94–46.
In 1934, Ruth played in his last full season with the Yankees. By this
time, years of high living were starting to catch up with him. His
conditioning had deteriorated to the point that he could no longer
field or run. He accepted a pay cut to $35,000 from Ruppert, but
he was still the highest-paid player in the major leagues. He
could still handle a bat and recorded a .288 batting average with 22
home runs; these were statistics that Reisler described as "merely
mortal". Ruth was selected to the AL All-Star team for the second
consecutive year, even though he was in the twilight of his career.
During the game, New York Giants pitcher
Carl Hubbell struck out Ruth
and four other future Hall-of-Famers consecutively. The Yankees
finished second again, seven games behind the Tigers.
Boston Braves (1935)
Ruth in 1935 with the Boston Braves. This was his last year as a
Although Ruth knew he was nearly finished as a player, he desired to
remain in baseball as a manager. He was often spoken of as a possible
candidate as managerial jobs opened up, but in 1932, when he was
mentioned as a contender for the Red Sox position, Ruth stated that he
was not yet ready to leave the field. There were rumors that Ruth was
a likely candidate each time when the Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati
Detroit Tigers were looking for a manager, but nothing came
Just before the 1934 season, Ruppert offered to make Ruth the manager
of the Yankees' top minor-league team, the Newark Bears, but he was
talked out of it by his wife, Claire, and his business manager,
Christy Walsh. Shortly afterward, Tigers owner
Frank Navin made a
proposal to Ruppert and Barrow—if the Yankees traded Ruth to
Detroit, Navin would name Ruth player-manager. Navin believed Ruth
would not only bring a winning attitude to a team that had not
finished higher than third since 1923, but would also revive the
Tigers' sagging attendance figures. Navin asked Ruth to come to
Detroit for an interview. However, Ruth balked, since Walsh had
already arranged for him to take part in a celebrity golf tournament
in Hawaii. Ruth and Navin negotiated over the phone while Ruth was in
Hawaii, but those talks foundered when Navin refused to give Ruth a
portion of the Tigers' box office proceeds.
Early in the 1934 season, Ruth openly campaigned to become the Yankees
manager. However, the Yankee job was never a serious possibility.
Ruppert always supported McCarthy, who would remain in his position
for another 12 seasons. Ruth and McCarthy's relationship had been
lukewarm at best, and Ruth's managerial ambitions further chilled
their relations. By the end of the season, Ruth hinted that he
would retire unless Ruppert named him manager of the Yankees.
When the time came, Ruppert wanted his slugger to leave the team
without drama or hard feelings.
During the 1934–35 offseason, Ruth circled the world with his wife;
the trip included a barnstorming tour of the Far East. At his final
stop in the United Kingdom before returning home, Ruth was introduced
to cricket by Australian player Alan Fairfax, and after having little
luck in a cricketer's stance, stood as a baseball batter and launched
some massive shots around the field, destroying the bat in the
process. Although Fairfax regretted that he could not have the time to
make Ruth a cricket player, Ruth had lost any interest in such a
career upon learning that the best batsmen made only about $40 per
Also during the offseason, Ruppert had been sounding out the other
clubs in hopes of finding one that would be willing to take Ruth as a
manager and/or a player. However, the only serious offer came from
Athletics owner-manager Connie Mack, who gave some thought to stepping
down as manager in favor of Ruth. However, Mack later dropped the
idea, saying that Ruth's wife would be running the team in a month if
Ruth ever took over.
While the barnstorming tour was under way, Ruppert began negotiating
with Boston Braves owner Judge Emil Fuchs, who wanted Ruth as a gate
attraction. The Braves had enjoyed modest recent success, finishing
fourth in the
National League in both 1933 and 1934, but the team drew
poorly at the box office. Unable to afford the rent at Braves Field,
Fuchs had considered holding dog races there when the Braves were not
at home, only to be turned down by Landis. After a series of phone
calls, letters, and meetings, the Yankees traded Ruth to the Braves on
February 26, 1935. Ruppert had stated that he would not release Ruth
to go to another team as a full-time player. For this reason, it was
announced that Ruth would become a team vice president and would be
consulted on all club transactions, in addition to playing. He was
also made assistant manager to Braves skipper Bill McKechnie. In a
long letter to Ruth a few days before the press conference, Fuchs
promised Ruth a share in the Braves' profits, with the possibility of
becoming co-owner of the team. Fuchs also raised the possibility of
Ruth succeeding McKechnie as manager, perhaps as early as 1936.
Ruppert called the deal "the greatest opportunity Ruth ever
There was considerable attention as Ruth reported for spring training.
He did not hit his first home run of the spring until after the team
had left Florida, and was beginning the road north in Savannah. He hit
two in an exhibition against the Bears. Amid much press
attention, Ruth played his first home game in Boston in over 16 years.
Before an opening-day crowd of over 25,000, including five of New
England's six state governors, Ruth accounted for all of the Braves'
runs in a 4–2 defeat of the New York Giants, hitting a two-run home
run, singling to drive in a third run and later in the inning scoring
the fourth. Although age and weight had slowed him, he made a running
catch in left field that sportswriters deemed the defensive highlight
of the game.
Ruth had two hits in the second game of the season, but it quickly
went downhill both for him and the Braves from there. The season soon
settled down to a routine of Ruth performing poorly on the few
occasions he even played at all, and the Braves lost most of their
games. As April passed into May, Ruth's physical deterioration became
even more pronounced. While he remained productive at the plate early
on, he could do little else. His conditioning had become so poor that
he could barely trot around the bases. He made so many errors that
three Braves pitchers told McKechnie that they would not take the
mound if he was in the lineup. Before long, Ruth stopped hitting as
well. He grew increasingly annoyed that McKechnie ignored most of his
advice. For his part, McKechnie later said that Ruth's huge
salary and refusal to stay with the team while on the road made it
nearly impossible to enforce discipline.
Ruth soon realized that Fuchs had deceived him, and had no intention
of making him manager or giving him any significant off-field duties.
He later stated that his only duties as vice president consisted of
making public appearances and autographing tickets. Ruth also
found out that far from giving him a share of the profits, Fuchs
wanted him to invest some of his money in the team in a last-ditch
effort to improve its balance sheet. As it turned out, both Fuchs
and Ruppert had known all along that Ruth's non-playing positions were
By the end of the first month of the season, Ruth concluded he was
finished even as a part-time player. As early as May 12, he asked
Fuchs to let him retire. Ultimately, Fuchs persuaded Ruth to
remain at least until after the
Memorial Day doubleheader in
Philadelphia. In the interim was a western road trip, at which the
rival teams had scheduled days to honor him. In Chicago and St. Louis,
Ruth performed poorly, and his batting average sank to .155, with only
two additional home runs for a total of three on the season so far. In
the first two games in Pittsburgh, Ruth had only one hit, though a
long fly caught by
Paul Waner probably would have been a home run in
any other ballpark besides Forbes Field.
Ruth played in the third game of the Pittsburgh series on May 25,
1935, and added one more tale to his playing legend. Ruth went
4-for-4, including three home runs, though the Braves lost the game
11–7. The last two were off Ruth's old Cubs nemesis, Guy Bush. The
final home run, both of the game and of Ruth's career, sailed over the
upper deck in right field and out of the ballpark, the first time
anyone had hit a fair ball completely out of Forbes Field. Ruth was
urged to make this his last game, but he had given his word to Fuchs
and played in Cincinnati and Philadelphia. The first game of the
doubleheader in Philadelphia—the Braves lost both—was his final
major league appearance. Ruth retired on June 2 after an argument with
Fuchs. He finished 1935 with a .181 average—easily his worst as a
full-time position player—and the final six of his 714 home runs.
The Braves, 10–27 when Ruth left, finished 38–115, at .248 the
worst winning percentage in modern
National League history.
Insolvent like his team, Fuchs gave up control of the Braves before
the end of the season; the
National League took over the franchise at
the end of the year.
Gary Cooper in the 1942 film The Pride of the Yankees
Although Fuchs had given Ruth his unconditional release, no major
league team expressed an interest in hiring him in any capacity. Ruth
still hoped to be hired as a manager if he could not play anymore, but
only one managerial position, Cleveland, became available between
Ruth's retirement and the end of the 1937 season. Asked if he had
considered Ruth for the job, Indians owner
Alva Bradley replied
The writer Creamer believed Ruth was unfairly treated in never being
given an opportunity to manage a major league club. The author
believed there was not necessarily a relationship between personal
conduct and managerial success, noting that McGraw, Billy Martin, and
Bobby Valentine were winners despite character flaws. Team owners
and general managers assessed Ruth's flamboyant personal habits as a
reason to exclude him from a managerial job; Barrow said of him, "How
can he manage other men when he can't even manage himself?"
Ruth played much golf and in a few exhibition baseball games, where he
demonstrated a continuing ability to draw large crowds. This appeal
contributed to the Dodgers hiring him as first base coach in 1938.
When Ruth was hired, Brooklyn general manager
Larry MacPhail made it
clear that Ruth would not be considered for the manager's job if, as
Burleigh Grimes retired at the end of the season. Although
much was said about what Ruth could teach the younger players, in
practice, his duties were to appear on the field in uniform and
encourage base runners—he was not called upon to relay signs. He got
along well with everyone except team captain Leo Durocher, who was
hired as Grimes' replacement at season's end. Ruth then left his job
as a first base coach and would never again work in any capacity in
the game of baseball.
On July 4, 1939, Ruth spoke on
Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee
Stadium as members of the 1927 Yankees and a sellout crowd turned out
to honor the first baseman, who was forced into premature retirement
by ALS disease, which would kill him two years later. The next week,
Ruth went to Cooperstown, New York, for the formal opening of the
Baseball Hall of Fame. Three years earlier, he was one of the first
five players elected to the hall. As radio broadcasts of baseball
games became popular, Ruth sought a job in that field, arguing that
his celebrity and knowledge of baseball would assure large audiences,
but he received no offers. During World War II, he made many
personal appearances to advance the war effort, including his last
appearance as a player at Yankee Stadium, in a 1943 exhibition for the
Army-Navy Relief Fund. He hit a long fly ball off Walter Johnson; the
blast left the field, curving foul, but Ruth circled the bases anyway.
In 1946, he made a final effort to gain a job in baseball when he
contacted new Yankees boss MacPhail, but he was sent a rejection
Ruth and his first wife, Helen Woodford, 1915
Ruth met Helen Woodford (1897–1929), by some accounts, in a coffee
shop in Boston where she was a waitress, and they were married as
teenagers on October 17, 1914. Although Ruth later claimed to
have been married in Elkton, Maryland, records show that they were
married at St. Paul's
Catholic Church in Ellicott City. They
adopted a daughter, Dorothy (1921–1989), in 1921. Ruth and Helen
separated around 1925, reportedly due to his repeated
infidelities. They appeared in public as a couple for the last
time during the 1926 World Series. Helen died in January 1929 at
age 31 in a house fire in Watertown, Massachusetts, in a house owned
by Edward Kinder, a dentist with whom she had been living as "Mrs.
Kinder". In her book, My Dad, the Babe, Dorothy claimed that she
was Ruth's biological child by a mistress named Juanita Jennings.
She died in 1989.
On April 17, 1929 (only three months after the death of his first
wife) Ruth married actress and model Claire Merritt Hodgson
(1897–1976) and adopted her daughter Julia. It was the second and
final marriage for both parties. By one account, Julia and
Dorothy were, through no fault of their own, the reason for the
seven-year rift in Ruth's relationship with teammate Lou Gehrig.
Sometime in 1932, during a conversation that she assumed was private,
Gehrig's mother remarked, "It's a shame [Claire] doesn't dress Dorothy
as nicely as she dresses her own daughter." When the comment
inevitably got back to Ruth, he angrily told Gehrig to tell his mother
to mind her own business. Gehrig, in turn, took offense at what he
perceived as Ruth's comment about his mother. The two men reportedly
never spoke off the field until they reconciled at
Yankee Stadium on
Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day, July 4, 1939, which was shortly after
Gehrig's retirement from baseball.
Although Ruth was married throughout most of his baseball career, when
Colonel Huston asked him to tone down his lifestyle, the player said,
"I'll promise to go easier on drinking and to get to bed earlier, but
not for you, fifty thousand dollars, or two-hundred and fifty thousand
dollars will I give up women. They're too much fun."
Cancer and death (1946–48)
As early as the war years, doctors had cautioned Ruth to take better
care of his health, and he grudgingly followed their advice, limiting
his drinking and not going on a proposed trip to support the troops in
the South Pacific. In 1946, Ruth began experiencing severe pain
over his left eye and had difficulty swallowing. In November 1946,
Ruth entered French Hospital in New York for tests, which revealed
that he had an inoperable malignant tumor at the base of his skull and
in his neck. The malady was a lesion known as nasopharyngeal
carcinoma, or "lymphoepithelioma." His name and fame gave him
access to experimental treatments, and he was one of the first cancer
patients to receive both drugs and radiation treatment
simultaneously. Having lost 80 pounds (36 kg), he was
discharged from the hospital in February and went to Florida to
recuperate. He returned to New York and
Yankee Stadium after the
season started. The new commissioner,
Happy Chandler (Judge Landis had
died in 1944), proclaimed April 27, 1947,
Babe Ruth Day around the
major leagues, with the most significant observance to be at Yankee
Stadium. A number of teammates and others spoke in honor of Ruth, who
briefly addressed the crowd of almost 60,000.
Around this time, developments in chemotherapy offered some hope for
Ruth. The doctors had not told Ruth that he had cancer because of his
family's fear that he might do himself harm. They treated him with
teropterin, a folic acid derivative; he may have been the first human
subject. Ruth showed dramatic improvement during the summer of
1947, so much so that his case was presented by his doctors at a
scientific meeting, without using his name. He was able to travel
around the country, doing promotional work for the Ford Motor Company
on American Legion Baseball. He appeared again at another day in his
Yankee Stadium in September, but was not well enough to pitch
in an old-timers game as he had hoped.
Babe Ruth's number 3 was retired by the
New York Yankees
New York Yankees in 1948.
The improvement was only a temporary remission, and by late 1947, Ruth
was unable to help with the writing of his autobiography, The Babe
Ruth Story, which was almost entirely ghostwritten. In and out of the
hospital in Manhattan, he left for Florida in February 1948, doing
what activities he could. After six weeks he returned to New York to
appear at a book-signing party. He also traveled to California to
witness the filming of the book.
On June 5, 1948, a "gaunt and hollowed out" Ruth visited Yale
University to donate a manuscript of
The Babe Ruth Story
The Babe Ruth Story to its
library. On June 13, Ruth visited
Yankee Stadium for the final
time in his life, appearing at the 25th anniversary celebrations of
"The House that Ruth Built". By this time he had lost much weight and
had difficulty walking. Introduced along with his surviving teammates
from 1923, Ruth used a bat as a cane. Nat Fein's photo of Ruth taken
from behind, standing near home plate and facing "Ruthville" (right
field) became one of baseball's most famous and widely circulated
photographs, and won the Pulitzer Prize.
Ruth made one final trip on behalf of American Legion Baseball, then
entered Memorial Hospital, where he would die. He was never told he
had cancer, but before his death, had surmised it. He was able to
leave the hospital for a few short trips, including a final visit to
Baltimore. On July 26, 1948, Ruth left the hospital to attend the
premiere of the film
The Babe Ruth Story. Shortly thereafter, Ruth
returned to the hospital for the final time. He was barely able to
speak. Ruth's condition gradually grew worse; only a few visitors were
allowed to see him, one of whom was
National League president and
future Commissioner of
Baseball Ford Frick. "Ruth was so thin it was
unbelievable. He had been such a big man and his arms were just skinny
little bones, and his face was so haggard", Frick said years
Thousands of New Yorkers, including many children, stood vigil outside
the hospital in Ruth's final days. On August 16, 1948, at
8:01 p.m., Ruth died in his sleep at the age of 53. His open
casket was placed on display in the rotunda of Yankee Stadium, where
it remained for two days; 77,000 people filed past to pay him tribute.
His funeral Mass took place at St. Patrick's Cathedral; a crowd
estimated at 75,000 waited outside. Ruth was buried on a hillside in
Section 25 at the
Gate of Heaven Cemetery
Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York.
An epitaph by
Cardinal Spellman appears on his headstone. His second
wife, Claire Merritt Ruth, would be interred with him 28 years later
Memorial and museum
Tribute to Babe Ruth, Monument Park, as seen at the original Yankee
On April 19, 1949, the Yankees unveiled a granite monument in Ruth's
honor in center field of Yankee Stadium. The monument was located
in the field of play next to a flagpole and similar tributes to
Huggins and Gehrig until the stadium was remodeled from 1974 to 1975,
which resulted in the outfield fences moving inward and enclosing the
monuments from the playing field. This area was known thereafter as
Monument Park. Yankee Stadium, "the House that Ruth Built", was
replaced after the 2008 season with a new
Yankee Stadium across the
street from the old one; Monument Park was subsequently moved to the
new venue behind the center field fence. Ruth's uniform number 3 has
been retired by the Yankees, and he is one of five Yankees players or
managers to have a granite monument within the stadium.
The Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum is located at 216 Emory Street, a
Baltimore row house where Ruth was born, and three blocks west of
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, where the AL's
play. The property was restored and opened to the public in
1973 by the non-profit
Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation, Inc.
Ruth's widow, Claire, his two daughters, Dorothy and Julia, and his
sister, Mamie, helped select and install exhibits for the museum.
Ruth was the first baseball star to be the subject of overwhelming
Baseball had been known for star players such as Ty
Cobb and "Shoeless Joe" Jackson, but both men had uneasy relations
with fans. In Cobb's case, the incidents were sometimes marked by
violence. Ruth's biographers agreed that he benefited from the timing
of his ascension to "Home Run King". The country had been hit hard by
both the war and the
1918 flu pandemic
1918 flu pandemic and longed for something to
help put these traumas behind it. Ruth also resonated in a country
which felt, in the aftermath of the war, that it took second place to
no one. Montville argued that Ruth was a larger-than-life figure who
was capable of unprecedented athletic feats in the nation's largest
The Babe became an icon of the significant social changes that
marked the early 1920s. In his history of the Yankees, Glenn
Stout noted that "Ruth was New York incarnate—uncouth and raw,
flamboyant and flashy, oversized, out of scale, and absolutely
During his lifetime, Ruth had become a symbol of the United States.
During World War II, Japanese soldiers could think of no greater
insult than to yell in English, "To hell with Babe Ruth", to anger
American soldiers. Ruth replied that he hoped that "every Jap that
mention[ed] my name gets shot". Creamer recorded that "Babe Ruth
transcended sport and moved far beyond the artificial limits of
baselines and outfield fences and sports pages". Wagenheim
stated, "He appealed to a deeply rooted American yearning for the
definitive climax: clean, quick, unarguable." According to Glenn
Stout, "Ruth's home runs were exalted, uplifting experience that meant
more to fans than any runs they were responsible for. A
Babe Ruth home
run was an event unto itself, one that meant anything was
Ruth's penchant for hitting home runs altered how baseball is played.
Prior to 1920, home runs were unusual, and managers tried to win games
by getting a runner on base and bringing him around to score through
such means as the stolen base, the bunt, and the hit and run.
Advocates of what was dubbed "inside baseball", such as Giants manager
McGraw, disliked the home run, considering it a blot on the purity of
the game. According to sportswriter W. A. Phelon, after the 1920
season, Ruth's breakout performance that season and the response in
excitement and attendance, "settled, for all time to come, that the
American public is nuttier over the Home Run than the Clever Fielding
or the Hitless Pitching. Viva el Home Run and two times viva Babe
Ruth, exponent of the home run, and overshadowing star." Bill
James noted, "When the owners discovered that the fans liked to see
home runs, and when the foundations of the games were simultaneously
imperiled by disgrace [in the Black Sox Scandal], then there was no
turning back." While a few, such as McGraw and Cobb, decried the
passing of the old-style play, teams quickly began to seek and develop
According to contemporary sportswriter Grantland Rice, only two sports
figures of the 1920s approached Ruth in popularity—boxer Jack
Dempsey and racehorse Man o' War. One of the factors that
contributed to Ruth's broad appeal was the uncertainty about his
family and early life. Ruth appeared to exemplify the American success
story, that even an uneducated, unsophisticated youth, without any
family wealth or connections, can do something better than anyone else
in the world. Montville noted that "the fog [surrounding his
childhood] will make him forever accessible, universal. He will be the
patron saint of American possibility." Similarly, the fact that
Ruth played in the pre-television era, when a relatively small portion
of his fans had the opportunity to see him play allowed his legend to
grow through word of mouth and the hyperbole of sports reporters.
Reisler noted that recent sluggers who surpassed Ruth's 60-home run
mark, such as
Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds, generated much less
excitement than when Ruth repeatedly broke the single-season home run
record in the 1920s. Ruth dominated a relatively small sports world,
while Americans of the present era have many sports available to
The unveiling of a
Babe Ruth memorial plaque in Baltimore's old
Memorial Stadium in 1955 with Claire Ruth, his widow, present.
Creamer termed Ruth "a unique figure in the social history of the
United States". Ruth has even entered the language: a dominant
figure in a field, whether within or outside sports, is often referred
to as "the Babe Ruth" of that field. Similarly, "Ruthian" has
come to mean in sports, "colossal, dramatic, prodigious, magnificent;
with great power."
In 2006, Montville noted that more books have been written about Ruth
than any other member of the
Baseball Hall of Fame. At least five of
these books (including Creamer's and Wagenheim's) were written in 1973
and 1974. The books were timed to capitalize on the increase in public
interest in Ruth as Henry Aaron approached his career home run mark,
which he broke on April 8, 1974. As he approached Ruth's record,
Aaron stated, "I can't remember a day this year or last when I did not
hear the name of Babe Ruth."
Montville suggested that Ruth is probably even more popular today than
he was when his career home run record was broken by Aaron. The long
ball era that Ruth started continues in baseball, to the delight of
the fans. Owners build ballparks to encourage home runs, which are
Baseball Tonight each evening during the
season. The questions of performance-enhancing drug use, which dogged
later home run hitters such as McGwire and Bonds, do nothing to
diminish Ruth's reputation; his overindulgences with beer and hot dogs
seem part of a simpler time.
In various surveys and rankings, Ruth has been named the greatest
baseball player of all time. In 1998,
The Sporting News ranked him
number one on the list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players". In
1999, baseball fans named Ruth to the Major League Baseball
All-Century Team. He was named baseball's Greatest Player Ever in
a ballot commemorating the 100th anniversary of professional baseball
in 1969. The
Associated Press reported in 1993 that
Muhammad Ali was
Babe Ruth as the most recognized athletes in America.
In a 1999
ESPN poll, he was ranked as the second-greatest U.S. athlete
of the century, behind Michael Jordan. In 1983, the United States
Postal Service honored Ruth with the issuance of a twenty-cent
Several of the most expensive items of sports memorabilia and baseball
memorabilia ever sold at auction are associated with Ruth. As of
November 2016, the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever
sold is Ruth's 1920 Yankees jersey, which sold for $4,415,658 in
2012. The bat with which he hit the first home run at Yankee
Stadium is in
The Guinness Book of World Records
The Guinness Book of World Records as the most expensive
baseball bat sold at auction, having fetched $1,265,000 on December 2,
2004. A hat of Ruth's from the 1934 season set a record for a
baseball cap when
David Wells sold it at auction for $537,278 in
2012. In 2017,
Charlie Sheen sold Ruth's 1927
World Series ring
for $2,093,927 at auction. It easily broke the record for a
championship ring previously set when Julius Erving's 1974 ABA
championship ring sold for $460,741 in 2011.
Ruth memorabilia at the
Baseball Hall of Fame (2014)
One long-term survivor of the craze over Ruth may be the Baby Ruth
candy bar. The original company to market the confectionery, the
Curtis Candy Company, maintained that the bar was named after Ruth
Cleveland, daughter of former president Grover Cleveland. She died in
1904 and the bar was first marketed in 1921, at the height of the
craze over the slugger. The slugger later sought to market candy
bearing his name; he was refused a trademark because of the Baby Ruth
bar. Corporate files from 1921 are no longer extant; the brand has
changed hands several times and is now owned by the
The Ruth estate licensed his likeness for use in an advertising
Baby Ruth in 1995. Due to a marketing arrangement, in
Baby Ruth bar became the official candy bar of Major League
Montville noted the continuing relevance of
Babe Ruth in American
culture, more than three-quarters of a century after he last swung a
bat in a major league game:
The fascination with his life and career continues. He is a bombastic,
sloppy hero from our bombastic, sloppy history, origins undetermined,
a folk tale of American success. His moon face is as recognizable
today as it was when he stared out at
Tom Zachary on a certain
September afternoon in 1927. If sport has become the national
Babe Ruth is the patron saint. He stands at the heart of the
game he played, the promise of a warm summer night, a bag of peanuts,
and a beer. And just maybe, the longest ball hit out of the park.
List of career achievements by Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth Award
Babe Ruth Home Run Award
Babe Ruth League
DHL Hometown Heroes
List of Major League
Baseball home run records
List of Major League
Baseball runs batted in records
Babe Ruth Hit 104 Home Runs
Babe's Dream statue in Baltimore, Maryland
Notes and references
^ Ruth long thought his birthday was February 7, 1894. This was, in
fact, the birthday of an elder brother of the same name, who died soon
after birth. Ruth learned this when he needed a passport in 1934.
American League had eight teams from 1901 to 1960.
^ There was no
World Series in 1904 or 1994.
^ a b c d Corcoran, Cliff (July 11, 2013). "99 cool facts about Babe
Ruth". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on February 8,
2014. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
^ Creamer, pp. 24–25
^ Smelser pp. 5–8
^ Smelser, pp. 7–9
^ Creamer, p. 11
^ Sowell, Thomas (1996), Migrations and Cultures: A World View, New
York: Basic Books, p. 82, ...it may be indicative of how long
German cultural ties endured [in the United States] that the German
language was spoken in childhood by such disparate twentieth-century
American figures as famed writer H. L. Mencken, baseball stars Babe
Ruth and Lou Gehrig, and by the Nobel Prize-winning economist George
^ Wagenheim, pp. 13–14
^ Creamer, pp. 29–31
^ Montville, pp. 8–11
^ Montville, pp. 19–23
^ Creamer, pp. 39–40
^ Wagenheim, p. 14
^ Creamer, p. 32
^ Creamer, pp. 35–37.
^ Montville, pp. 24–26
^ a b Creamer, p. 37
^ Reisler, p. 22
^ Montville, pp. 28–29
^ Montville, pp. 26–28
^ Wagenheim, p. 17
^ Creamer, pp. 48–51
^ Wagenheim, pp. 19.
^ Wagenheim, pp. 20–21
^ Montville, p. 36
^ Wagenheim, p. 22
^ Creamer, pp. 61–62
^ Creamer, pp. 66–67
^ Creamer, pp. 72–77
^ Montville, pp. 38–40
^ Creamer, pp. 78–80.
^ Wagenheim, p. 26.
^ Montville, pp. 40–41.
^ a b Montville, pp. 41–44
^ Creamer, p. 87
^ Montville, pp. 43–44
^ Wagenheim, pp. 27–29
^ Creamer, pp. 52–55
^ Creamer, pp. 89–90
^ Montville, p. 44
^ Creamer, pp. 92–93
^ Castrovince, Anthony (July 10, 2014). "Ten facts for 100th
anniversary of the Babe's debut". MLB.com. Archived from the original
on January 9, 2017. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
^ Creamer, pp. 99–100
^ Creamer, p. 103
^ Creamer, p. 106
^ Montville, pp. 50–52
^ Wagenheim, p. 33
^ Montville, pp. 56–57
^ Montville, p. 55.
^ Schlueter, Roger. "Verlander's 2011 was epic". MLB.com. Retrieved
January 20, 2014.
^ Berg, Ted. "12 longest games in MLB postseason history". USA Today.
Retrieved January 20, 2014.
^ Wagenheim, p. 38
^ Creamer, pp. 33, 85
^ Creamer, p. 133
^ Creamer, p. 134
^ a b Rackham, Rob (2016).
Babe Ruth at the Boston Red Sox. Blurb.
p. 32. ISBN 1367441498.
^ Creamer, pp. 138–140
^ Montville, p. 59
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Wagenheim, pp. 273–274
^ a b c d Montville, pp. 67–69
^ a b Creamer, p. 153
^ Wagenheim, p. 42
^ Creamer, pp. 153–170
^ Creamer, pp. 170–181
^ Montville, pp. 78–80
^ Creamer, pp. 196–197
^ Montville, pp. 88–90
^ Creamer, p. 203
^ Reisler, pp. 4–5
^ Creamer, pp. 204–205
^ Reisler, pp. 2–3
^ Reisler, p. 3
^ a b Reisler, p. 5
^ a b Creamer, p. 20
^ Montville, pp. 101–102
^ Stout, p. 83
^ Creamer, pp. 205–207
^ Reisler, p. 1
^ a b Creamer, pp. 208–209
^ a b Reisler, p. 2
^ Stout, pp. 86–88
^ "Ruth Bought By New York Americans For $125,000, Highest Price in
Baseball Annals". The New York Times. January 6, 1920.
^ Appel, p. 94
^ Appel, pp. 96–97
^ "Results and recaps". Major League Baseball. Retrieved March 25,
^ Stout, p. 90
^ Reisler, pp. 74–75
^ Montville, pp. 112–113
^ Creamer, p. 225
^ Creamer, p. 226
^ Wagenheim, p. 75
^ Stout, p. 92
^ Reisler, pp. 100–101
^ James, pp. 120–122
^ Stout, p. 93
^ Creamer, p. 131
^ Montville, p. 156
^ Creamer, pp. 204, 238–240
^ Spatz & Steinberg, p. 355.
^ Wagenheim, pp. 95–96
^ Creamer, pp. 241–243
^ Montville, pp. 142–144
^ Montville, p. 145
^ a b Pietrusza, p. 239
^ Creamer, p. 255
^ Pietrusza, p. 240
^ Creamer, pp. 258–259
^ Stout, pp. 103–104
^ a b Stout, p. 104
^ Graham, pp. 75–76
^ a b c Stout, p. 105
^ Beschloss, Michael (May 16, 2014). "
Babe Ruth Knocked Out". The New
^ Graham, pp. 101–102
^ Stout, p. 112
^ Montville, p. 202.
^ Montville, p. 203.
^ Robert McCoppin (September 11, 2008). "Freak sports injuries: Now
that's a bad break!". Daily Herald. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
^ Montville, p. 204
^ Stout, pp. 112–113
^ Stout, pp. 113, 460–462
^ Stout, pp. 116–117
^ Creamer, pp. 304–305
^ Wagenheim, pp. 154–155
^ Creamer, p. 306
^ Creamer, pp. 327–328
^ Stout, pp. 126–131
^ Graham, pp. 127–134
^ Montville, pp. 255–261
^ Graham, pp. 134–137
^ Appel, p. 151
^ Graham, pp. 144–146
^ Montville, pp. 273–277
^ Appel, pp. 162–163
^ Sherman, p. 9
^ Edmondson, Rubie. The Yankees permanently adopted pinstripes 98
years ago today. USA Today, 2013-04-22.
^ Stout, pp. 140–141
^ Appel, pp. 164–165
^ a b c Stout, p. 461
^ Chipman, William J. (Associated Press) (October 18, 1929). "Bob
Shawkey Is Named Manager of the Yankees: Veteran
Pitcher Gets Job When
Fletcher Prefers to Remain as Coach of Club; Appointment of Shawkey
Comes as Surprise in
Baseball Circles, Where Three Others Were
Predicted". The Schenectady Gazette. Retrieved November 23,
^ Stout, p. 143
^ a b Stout, p. 144
^ a b Vidmer, Richards (January 8, 1930). "Yanks Refuse Ruth's Demand
For $100,000; Star Asks That Figure On 3-Year Contract or $85,000 and
No Exhibitions". The New York Herald Tribune. Retrieved November 23,
^ Bell, Brian (Associated Press) (January 8, 1930). "
Babe Ruth Refuses
to Sign $75,000 Contract: Asks for Long Term Contract at Huge Figure".
The St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
^ Reuters (January 8, 1930). "Baseball: Babe Ruth's Earnings". The
Scotsman. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
^ United Press (March 8, 1930). "Ruth Accepts $80,000 Contract". The
Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
^ Montville, p. 303
^ Montville, p. 304
^ a b Stout, p. 148
^ Sherman, p. 41
^ Appel, p. 177
^ Sherman, pp. 69–87
^ Montville, p. 311
^ Creamer, p. 362
^ Creamer, p. 371
^ Creamer, pp. 371–372
^ a b c Neyer, p. 42.
^ Wagenheim, p. 221
^ Reisler, p. 256
^ Appel, p. 170
^ a b Montville, pp. 322–323.
^ Ferkovich, Scott. A Look Back at When
Babe Ruth Nearly Became the
Detroit Tigers' Player-Manager. Seamheads.com, 2014-07-14.
^ Powers, Jimmy (October 9, 1934). "Ruth to Quit Unless Given Manager
Job". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
^ Montville, p. 336.
^ Neyer, p. 43.
^ Neyer, pp. 42–44.
^ Montville, pp. 337–339.
^ Montville, p. 339.
^ Creamer, p. 393.
^ Neyer, pp. 43–45.
^ Allen, Lee. The
National League Story. Hill & Wang, 1961.
^ Montville, p. 340.
^ a b Neyer, p. 44.
^ Creamer, pp. 388–390.
^ Creamer, pp. 395–397
^ Creamer, pp. 396–400
^ Montville, p. 344.
^ a b Creamer, pp. 399–405.
^ Sherman, p. 17
^ Wagenheim, pp. 247–249.
^ Montville, pp. 355–356.
^ Creamer, pp. 84, 100
^ Shoken, Fred (January 3, 2012). "Babe Ruth, Elkton, and the Battle
of Waterloo". The
Baltimore Sun. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
^ Creamer, p. 281
^ Creamer, p. 336.
^ Pirone, Dorothy; Chris Martens (1988). My Dad, The Babe: Growing up
with an American Hero. Boston: Quinlan Press. p. 250.
ISBN 1-55770-031-1. OCLC 17652057.
^ a b "Dorothy R. Pirone, 68, Babe Ruth's Daughter". The New York
Times. May 20, 1989. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
^ Wiessner, Christian (September 22, 2008). "
Baseball says goodbye as
Yankee Stadium retired". Thomson Reuters. Reuters. Archived from the
original on November 10, 2011.
^ Kerasotis, Peter (March 10, 2014). "Home, at the Other House That
Ruth Built". The New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
^ Creamer, p. 415.
^ Lieb, Fred (1977).
Baseball As I Have Known It. New York: Cowar,
McCann and Geoghagen. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-8032-7962-9.
^ Wagenheim, pp. 252–253.
^ Maloney WJ, Weinberg MA. A comprehensive analysis of Babe Ruth's
head and neck cancer. J Am Dent Assoc. 2008 Jul;139(7):926-32. PubMed
^ Montville, pp. 357–358.
^ Creamer, pp. 418–419.
^ a b Montville, p. 360.
^ Creamer, pp. 418–420.
^ Montville, pp. 361–362.
^ Malafronte, Chip (September 19, 2012). "New Haven 200: Babe Ruth
meets future President George H.W. Bush in 1948 at Yale Field". New
Haven Register. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
^ Wagenheim, pp. 267–268.
^ Creamer, pp. 423–424
^ Montville, pp. 366–367.
^ Roden, Ralph (April 20, 1949). "Six Home Teams Score Victories in
Opener". St. Petersburg Times. p. 8. Retrieved September 18,
^ "Retired numbers". New York Yankees. Retrieved February 8,
^ Coffey, Wayne (February 25, 2009). "Babe Ruth, other monuments,
settle in new
Yankee Stadium home". New York Daily News. Retrieved
February 8, 2013.
^ Sandomir, Richard (September 21, 2010). "Everyone agrees:
Steinbrenner's plaque is big". New York Daily News. Retrieved February
8, 2013. (subscription required)
^ a b c History:
Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum webpage. Official website
Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum and the Sports Legends Museum at
Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation, Inc. Retrieved August
^ Locations webpage. Official website of the
Babe Ruth Birthplace
Museum and the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards. Babe Ruth
Birthplace Foundation, Inc. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
^ Reisler, pp. xii–xiii.
^ Montville, pp. 106–107.
^ a b Stout, p. 86
^ Bullock, Steven R. (2004). Playing for Their Nation:
the American Military during World War II. University of Nebraska
Press. p. 4. ISBN 0-8032-1337-9.
^ a b c d Creamer, p. 16.
^ Wagenheim, p. 6.
^ Reisler, p. 18.
^ Reisler, p. 236.
^ James, p. 122
^ Reisler, pp. 237–239.
^ Reisler, p. 200.
^ Montville, pp. 13–14.
^ Wagenheim, pp. 6–7.
^ Reisler, p. xv.
^ Dickson, Paul (2011). The Dickson
Baseball Dictionary (3rd ed.). New
York: W.W. Norton & Co. p. 731.
^ Montville, pp. 1–6.
^ Montville, pp. 4–5.
^ "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players".
Baseball Almanac. Retrieved May
^ "All-Century Team final voting". ESPN. Associated Press. October 23,
1999. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
^ Wilstein, Steve (May 17, 1993). "Retton, Hammill most popular
American athletes". Associated Press.
^ "ESPN: Top North American Athletes of the Century". ESPN
SportsCentury. ESPN.com. September 14, 1999. Retrieved February 5,
^ "Babe Ruth". United States Postal Service. Retrieved May 13,
^ Belaska, John (July 16, 2014). "Most Expensive
Ever Sold At Auction". The Richest. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
^ "Top 15 Most Expensive Pieces of Sports Memorabilia Ever Sold". The
Sportster. January 24, 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
^ "Most expensive baseball bat sold at auction". Guinness World
Records. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
^ Boren, Cindy (May 21, 2012). "Babe Ruth's jersey, cap bring record
prices". Washington Post. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
^ Rovell, Darren (1 July 2017). "Charlie Sheen's classic Babe Ruth
articles fetch nearly $4.4 million". ESPN. ABC News. Retrieved 1 July
^ Smelser, p. 208.
^ Sandomir, Richard (June 6, 2006). "
Baseball adopts a candy, whatever
it's named for". The New York Times. Retrieved February 12,
^ Montville, p. 367.
Appel, Marty (2012). Pinstripe Empire: The
New York Yankees
New York Yankees From
Before the Babe to After the Boss. New York: Bloombury USA.
Creamer, Robert W. (1992) . Babe: The Legend Comes to Life
(First Fireside ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster.
Graham, Frank (1943). The New York Yankees: An Informal History. New
York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. OCLC 1825210.
James, Bill (2003) . The New
Bill James Historical Baseball
Abstract (First Free Press trade paperback ed.). New York: Free Press.
Montville, Leigh (2006). The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth.
New York: Broadway Books. ISBN 978-0-7679-1971-5.
Neyer, Rob (2000). Rob Neyer's Big
Baseball Blunders. New York
City: Fireside Books. ISBN 0-7432-8491-7.
Peluso, Ralph (2014). 512. Missouri: Solstice Publishing.
Pietrusza, David (1998). Judge and Jury: The Life and Times of Judge
Kenesaw Mountain Landis. South Bend, Indiana: Diamond Communications.
Rackham, Rob (2016).
Babe Ruth at the Boston Red Sox.
Reisler, Jim (2004). Babe Ruth: Launching the Legend. New York:
McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-143244-2.
Sherman, Ed (2014). Babe Ruth's Called Shot: The Myth and Mystery of
Baseball's Greatest Home Run. Guilford, Connecticut: Lyons Press.
Smelser, Marshall (1975). The Life That Ruth Built. New York:
Quadrangle/New York Times
Book Co. ISBN 0-8129-0540-7.
Spatz, Lyle; Steinberg, Lyle (2010). 1921: The Yankees, The Giants,
& The Battle For
Baseball Supremacy in New York. Lincoln,
Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press.
Stout, Glenn (2016). The Selling of the Babe: The Deal That Changed
Baseball and Created a Legend. Thomas Dunne Books.
Stout, Glenn (2002). Yankee Century: 100 Years of New York Yankees
Baseball. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Wagenheim, Kal (1974). Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend. New York:
Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-275-19980-0.
Wray, John. "
George Sisler Is Better All-Round Player Than Babe Ruth,
Says Rickey". The Claremore Messenger (May 9, 1919), p. 4
Ruth, Babe; as told to
Westbrook Pegler (uncredited). "Ruth, As a Kid,
Learns to Play in Any Position". The Chicago Tribune. August 9, 1920.
Reid, Sidney. "Meet the American Hero! An Interview With Babe Ruth".
The Independent. August 14, 1920. Vol. 103, No. 3732. pp. 170-171 and
Goewey, Edwin. "What Babe Has Done to Baseball". Leslie's Illustrated
Weekly. July 23, 1921. Vol. 133, No. 3430. pp. 128-129 and 142.
Fullerton, Hugh. "Why
Babe Ruth is Greatest Home-Run Hitter". Popular
Science Monthly. October 1921. Vol. 99, No. 4. pp. 19-21 and 110.
Britt, Raymond. "On the Sidelines: Another Popular Idol Upset by the
Public Who Made Him". Outing. August 1922. Vol. 80, No. 5.
Broun, Heywood. "Cutting the Heart of the Plate". Judge. August 12,
1922. Vol. 82, No. 2128.
Salsinger, H.D. "When 'Babe' Ruth Was Beaten by John McGraw". Literary
Digest. December 2, 1922. pp. 57–61.
Chadwick, George. "
Ban Johnson Bans
Babe Ruth Bludgeon". The Delmarvia
Star. August 19, 1923.
Crump, Irving. "The Power Behind Babe Ruth's Big Bat: Artie McGovern
Tells His Training Secrets". Boys' Life. June 1927.
Albelli, A.A. "Babe Ruth's Homerun Secrets". Popular Mechanics. March
Associated Press. "'My Final Year as a Regular,' Says Babe Ruth: Home
Run King Wants Job as Manager". The Chicago Tribune. August 11, 1934.
Brietz, Eddie (AP). "Three Major League Clubs After Ruth: Babe Wanted
as Assistant to Managers". The St. Petersburg Independent. December
Utley, William. "Unemployment Problem Solved; Babe Finds Job". The
Palouse Republic. March 29, 1935.
Abrams, Al. "Sidelights on Sports". The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May
Meier, Ted (AP). "
Babe Ruth May Return to Bat". The Prescott Courier.
June 9, 1944.
Associated Press. "
Baseball Pays Tribute to
Babe Ruth Tomorrow". The
Nashua Telegraph. April 26, 1947.
Mosher, Jeff. "Playing Square: Ruth's Holdout Sieges Here In Sunshine
Baseball History". The St. Petersburg Independent. August
Smith, Ellen. "Where They Lived". New York Magazine. March 7, 1983.
Seelhorst, Mary. "PM People: Babe Ruth". Popular Mechanics. June 2003.
Meany, Tom (1947). Babe Ruth: The Big Moments of the Big Fella. New
York: A.S. Barnes.
Ruth, Babe; Considine, Tom (1948).
The Babe Ruth Story. New York: E.P.
Ruth, Babe; Cobb, William R. (2011). Playing the Game: My Early Years
in Baseball. Minneola, NY: Dover Publications.
Find more aboutBabe Ruthat's sister projects
Media from Wikimedia Commons
Quotations from Wikiquote
Data from Wikidata
BabeRuth.com – Official site
Babe Ruth at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
Babe Ruth at the
Baseball Hall of Fame
Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum
Babe Ruth on IMDb
Works by or about
Babe Ruth in libraries (
Career statistics and player information from MLB,
or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball
Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
In March 2011, the VOA
Special English service of the Voice of America
broadcast a 15-minute program on Babe Ruth. A transcript and MP3 of
the program, intended for English learners, can be found at Babe
Ruth,1895–1948: America's Greatest
Awards and achievements
June 23, 1917
Career home run record holder
Single season home run record holder
New York Yankees
New York Yankees team captain
May 20, 1922 – May 25, 1922
Babe Ruth's called shot
Curse of the Bambino
Claire Merritt Ruth
Claire Merritt Ruth (second wife)
Dorothy Ruth (daughter)
Heading Home (1920 film)
Babe Comes Home
Babe Comes Home (1927 film)
The Babe Ruth Story
The Babe Ruth Story (1948 film)
The Babe (1992 film)
Babe Ruth Hit 104 Home Runs
Babe Ruth Award
Babe Ruth Home Run Award
Babe Ruth League
Home Plate Farm
Babe's Dream (statue)
Articles related to Babe Ruth
Baseball All-Century Team
Cal Ripken Jr.
Ken Griffey Jr.
Baseball All-Time Team
Mike Schmidt (Infielders)
Johnny Bench (Catcher)
Paul Molitor (Designated hitter)
Babe Ruth (Outfielders)
Dennis Eckersley (Pitchers)
Casey Stengel (Manager)
Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox Opening Day starting pitchers
Oil Can Boyd
Sad Sam Jones
Smoky Joe Wood
New York Yankees
Based in The Bronx, New York
Owners and executives
Opening Day starting pitchers
Members of the Hall of Fame
Yankee Stadium (opened 1923) (Events)
Yankee Stadium (opened 2009)
Spring training: Whittington Park
West End Park
Al Lang Stadium
Fort Lauderdale Stadium
George M. Steinbrenner Field
Logos and uniforms
"Here Come the Yankees"
"New York, New York"
"God Bless America"
The Pride of the Yankees
The Babe Ruth Story
The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant
Safe at Home!
The Bronx is Burning
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning
The Bronx Is Burning
The Bronx Zoo
The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty
Four Days in October
Henry & Me
Yankee Stadium Legacy
Yankees HOPE Week
Curse of the Bambino
Babe Ruth's called shot
1978 AL East tie-breaker game
Pine Tar Incident
The Yankee Years
Boston Red Sox
New York Mets
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Owners: Yankee Global Enterprises
General Manager: Brian Cashman
Manager: Aaron Boone
Division titles (17)
Wild Card titles (6)
Staten Island Yankees
GCL Yankees East
GCL Yankees West
1900 · 1901
Book:New York Yankees
New York Yankees
New York Yankees retired numbers
1 Billy Martin
2 Derek Jeter
3 Babe Ruth
4 Lou Gehrig
5 Joe DiMaggio
6 Joe Torre
7 Mickey Mantle
Bill Dickey & Yogi Berra
9 Roger Maris
10 Phil Rizzuto
15 Thurman Munson
16 Whitey Ford
20 Jorge Posada
23 Don Mattingly
32 Elston Howard
37 Casey Stengel
42 Mariano Rivera
44 Reggie Jackson
46 Andy Pettitte
49 Ron Guidry
51 Bernie Williams
New York Yankees
New York Yankees captains
* denotes co-captain
American League season home run leaders
1904: H. Davis
1905: H. Davis
1906: H. Davis
1907: H. Davis
1912: Baker & Speaker
1918: Ruth & Walker
1922: K. Williams
1931: Ruth & Gehrig
1935: Greenberg & Foxx
1941: T. Williams
1942: T. Williams
1947: T. Williams
1949: T. Williams
1959: Killebrew & Colavito
1967: Yastrzemski & Killebrew
1975: Jackson & Scott
1980: Jackson & Oglivie
1981: Grich, Murray, Evans & Armas
1982: Jackson & Thomas
1991: Canseco & Fielder
1994: Griffey Jr.
1997: Griffey Jr.
1998: Griffey Jr.
1999: Griffey Jr.
2009: Peña & Teixiera
2013: C. Davis
2015: C. Davis
American League batting champions
1941: T. Williams
1942: T. Williams
1947: T. Williams
1948: T. Williams
1957: T. Williams
1958: T. Williams
1998: B. Williams
American League season runs batted in leaders
1905: H. Davis
1906: H. Davis
1915: Veach & Crawford
1922: K. Williams
1928: Ruth & Gehrig
1939: T. Williams
1942: T. Williams
1947: T. Williams
1949: T. Williams & Stephens
1950: Dropo & Stephens
1955: R. Boone & Jensen
1961: Gentile & Maris
1964: B. Robinson
1966: F. Robinson
1983: Rice & Cooper
1995: Belle & Vaughn
1997: Griffey Jr.
2001: B. Boone
2013: C. Davis
2016: Encarnación & Ortiz
American League season ERA leaders
1903: E. Moore
1912: W. Johnson
1913: W. Johnson
1918: W. Johnson
1919: W. Johnson
1924: W. Johnson
1927: W. Moore
1941: T. Lee
1995: R. Johnson
2008: C. Lee
2013: An. Sánchez
2016: Aa. Sanchez
AL League Award
1922: George Sisler
1923: Babe Ruth
1924: Walter Johnson
1925: Roger Peckinpaugh
1926: George Burns
1927: Lou Gehrig
1928: Mickey Cochrane
500 home run club
Ken Griffey Jr.
Italics denotes active player
Book:500 home run club
Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 1936
Ty Cobb (98.2%)
Walter Johnson (83.6%)
Christy Mathewson (90.7%)
Babe Ruth (95.1%)
Honus Wagner (95.1%)
Members of the National
Baseball Hall of Fame
New York Yankees
New York Yankees Hall of Famers
Inductees in Yankees cap
Inductees who played
for the Yankees
Home Run Baker
Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox 1915
World Series champions
Smoky Joe Wood
Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox 1916
World Series champions
Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox 1918
World Series champions
New York Yankees
New York Yankees 1923
World Series champions
New York Yankees
New York Yankees 1927
World Series champions
New York Yankees
New York Yankees 1928
World Series champions
New York Yankees
New York Yankees 1932
World Series champions
1 Earle Combs
2 Lyn Lary
3 Babe Ruth
4 Lou Gehrig
5 Frankie Crosetti
6 Ben Chapman
7 Jack Saltzgaver
8 Bill Dickey
9 Art Jorgens
10 George Pipgras
11 Lefty Gomez
12 Herb Pennock
14 Ed Wells
15 Red Ruffing
16 Wilcy Moore
17 Danny MacFayden
18 Johnny Allen
19 Jumbo Brown
20 Charlie Devens
20 Johnny Murphy
21 Joe Sewell
22 Doc Farrell
23 Tony Lazzeri
24 Sammy Byrd
26 Joe Glenn
27 Myril Hoag
28 Ivy Andrews
32 Eddie Phillips
29 Art Fletcher
30 Jimmy Burke
31 Cy Perkins
Babe Ruth's called shot
ISNI: 0000 0000 8436 0580