Babe Ruth Biography
Every Babe Ruth biography begins and ends with the larger than life impact the New York Yankees legend had on the game of baseball. Ruth electrified fans and terrorized opposing pitchers by piling up home runs in an era without juiced up balls or juiced up athletes. Ruth saved Major League Baseball from the Black Sox scandal that threatened to tear the game apart early in the 20th century and became one of the first true legends of the game.
Humble beginnings George Herman Ruth, Jr. was born into a working class family living in Baltimore, Maryland in February 1895. He was one of eight children and his parent worked long hours on meager wages. Ruth had a knack for stirring up trouble as a child and his parents sent him to the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, hoping the Catholic monks could instill discipline into their son. He acquired a taste for baseball at Catholic school. Ruth picked up on the game fast and his skills impressed Baltimore Orioles owner Jack Dunn enough that Dunn signed Ruth to a contract in February 1914 after seeing the future Hall of Famer play for less than an hour. Ruth was just 19 years old at the time.
Babe's early years Ruth's Oriole teammates called him "Jack's newest babe" when he joined the team in the spring of 1914. The nickname "Babe" stuck with Ruth from that point forward and became one of the most iconic sports nicknames of the 20th century. Ruth did not last long with Baltimore. Dunn sold his new prospect to the Boston Red Sox in July 1914. Ruth made his major league debut two days later with the Red Sox and picked up the victory in his first game on the mound. He played in five games in 1914 before becoming a fixture in the pitching rotation in 1915. From 1915 to 1918, he compiled a 78-40 record as a pitcher and led the American League with a 1.75 earned run average (ERA) in 1916. He helped the Red Sox claimed back to back World Series titles in 1915 and 1916.
Becoming a hitter Ruth began to display a ton of prowess from the plate in early appearances. After posting a .325 batting average in the 1917 season, Boston began transitioning Ruth to outfielder from pitcher. The Red Sox counted on him having a bigger impact as a hitter. The gamble paid off. In 1918, Ruth hit an AL best eleven home runs and led the team to another World Series title.
Joining the Yankees Boston made the decision to sell Ruth to the New York Yankees in December 1919—it changed the direction of both franchises. Ruth rewrote the record books as a hitter and amassed numbers never seen before his time. In 1920, he slammed in 54 home runs to obliterate the single season record of 29 he set a season earlier. Then, in 1921, Ruth set a new record with 59 home runs, drove in 171 RBI, scored 177 runs, batted .376 and posted an unheard of .846 slugging percentage. Ruth set a record that stood for decades in 1927 when he collected 60 home runs. Ruth helped the Yankees become the most dominant team in the sport and helped the franchise capture seven AL Pennants and four World Series titles.
Legacy When Ruth retired from the Boston Braves in 1935, he held an unheard of 56 major league records at the time. The most famous was his career home run tally of 714 home runs, which stood until Hank Aaron broke it four decades later. Ruth was elected a Hall of Famer one year later and, when he died in 1948, was considered one of the greatest players in baseball history.