With 714 round-trippers to his credit—plus sixteen more in World Series and All Star games—selecting a list of Babe Ruth’s 5 best home runs means a lot of great ones are going to be left out. The home runs on our list were chosen because they hold particular importance in baseball’s long, rich history.
- Ruth’s Called Shot. Perhaps the most celebrated home run of Babe Ruth’s career is one shrouded in controversy. The site is Wrigley Field, Chicago; the date is October 1, 1932; and the moment is the fifth inning of Game 3 of the 1932 World Series. Cubs pitcher Charlie Root is ahead of Ruth 0-2 when the Chicago bench playfully needles the Babe. Exactly what follows is where the story gets murky. Witnesses agree on one thing: Before the next pitch, Ruth points out towards center field. Some believe he is gesturing at Root as if to say he still has one more strike. Others believe he is telling everyone in the ballpark where he will hit the next pitch. Either way, the Babe deposits the next pitch into the center field bleachers for a home run. Ruth’s dramatic clout quickly becomes baseball legend earning his “called shot” the number one spot on our list of Babe Ruth’s 5 best home runs.
- Number 60. The first man to belt 60 home runs in a single season is the same man who was the first to hit 50, the first to hit 40, and the first to hit 30. On September 30, 1927, Ruth breaks his own record of 59 homers (set in 1921) in the eighth inning when he smashes a 2-1 pitch from Washington’s Tom Zachary into the right-field seats. The record-breaker sends the Yankee Stadium crowd into raucous celebration and ranks second on our list of Babe Ruth’s 5 best home runs.
- Number 714. Following the 1934 season, the Babe is let go by the Yankees and signs with the Boston Braves. With his skills clearly eroded, the 40-year-old slugger enters the afternoon of May 25 hitting a pitiful .153 with just three home runs. In front of a small crowd in Pittsburgh, the Sultan of Swat puts on one last show (he would retire less than a week later) hitting the final three homers of his career. Those who are there witness history as the last of the three—career homer #714—is the first ever to clear the roof at Forbes Field and ranks number three on our list of Babe Ruth’s 5 best home runs.
- First Yankee Stadium Home Run. After years of sharing the Polo Grounds with the Giants, the Yankees prepare to open what would become baseball’s most famous stadium. April 18, 1923 is opening day for brand new Yankee Stadium, an enormous structure already dubbed “The House that Ruth Built.” So what could be more appropriate than the builder himself delivering the first home run ever hit in his new house? In the third inning, Ruth smacks a three-run homer before a sell-out crowd of more than 74,000 fans—each of whom would likely rank the prodigious clout as one of Babe Ruth’s 5 best home runs.
- First All-Star Game Home Run. The Babe had a way of producing appropriate firsts and on July 6, 1933, he does it again giving us the final entry on our list of Babe Ruth’s 5 best home runs. Chicago Tribune sports editor Arch Ward introduces fans to the idea of seeing baseball’s biggest stars all gathered together for one annual mid-season exhibition game pitting the American League’s best against the top players from the National League. In the first All-Star game ever played, Ruth smashes a two-run homer in the third inning at Chicago’s Comiskey Park sending the American League on its way to a 4-2 win.