It is absolutely impossible to have a webpage dedicated to the world of sports without a tribute to a baseball legend who was larger than life…..The Sultan of Swat….The Bambino himself, Babe Ruth…..cuz if you were a young boy growing up in West Texas (Midland) in the early 1950’s….as Bone Daddy, our original Sportsphile, did….then you definitely played a “whiffle ball” game of Home Run Derby…..while emulating the one and only Babe Ruth…..and since BD played literally hundreds of these games with his brothers, Lil Wally and Runt in their backyard while living on Louisiana Street in Midland, Texas…..that is when you could bet your bottom dollar that one of the three brothers was either Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Lou Gehrig, Harmon Killebrew or Babe Ruth during each game…..so, any way you cut the pie, this story had to be told….cuz when you come to the end of the day, there is no legend larger than the legend of Babe Ruth in the whole universe of sports.
MLB – 1914 To 1935 – HBO Sports Documentary – Babe Ruth
George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr. (February 6, 1895 – August 16, 1948) was an American professional baseball player…..whose career in Major League Baseball (MLB) spanned 22 seasons from 1914 through 1935. Nicknamed “The Bambino” and “The Sultan of Swat“, he began his MLB career as a star left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox….but achieved his greatest fame a slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees…..as Ruth established many MLB batting (and some pitching) records….which included career home runs with 714…..runs batted in (RBIs) with 2,213….bases on balls with 2,062….a slugging percentage of .690…..and an on-base plus slugging (OPS) of 1.164….as the last two still stand as of 2019…..which is just a mere 90 years later. 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 Baseball Hall of Fame as one of its “first five” inaugural members.
MLB – 1914 To 1935 – Special Film Biography – Who Was Babe Ruth
At age seven, Ruth was sent to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory where he was mentored by Brother Matthias Boutlier of the Xaverian Brothers, the school’s disciplinarian and a capable baseball player….when 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….which was a feat that was very unusual for any player in the pre-1920 dead-ball era…..as Ruth twice won 23 games in a season as a pitcher….and was a member of three World Series championship teams with the Red Sox….but he wanted to play every day and was allowed to convert to an outfielder….and with regular playing time, he broke the MLB single-season home run record in 1919.
MLB – 1919 – Special Silent Film – Babe Ruth Is A Boston Red Sox Hero
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…..cuz in his 15 years with the Yankees…..Ruth helped the team win seven American League (AL) pennants 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 by a single home run. Ruth’s last season with the Yankees was 1934….as 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 12 times.
MLB – 2003 – HBO Sports Special – “The Curse Of The Bambino”
During Ruth’s career, he was the target of intense press and public attention for his baseball exploits and off-field penchants for drinking and womanizing. After his retirement as a player, he was denied the opportunity to manage a major league club….which was 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….then he became ill with nasopharyngeal cancer….and died from the disease two years later. Ruth remains today a part of American culture….and in 2018 President Donald Trump posthumously awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
News – 2018 – CBS Morning News Highlights – Featuring Babe Ruth, Elvis Presley, Roger Staubach, Allan Page Et Al Reveiving Medal Of Freedom From President Donald Trump
On July 11, 1914, Ruth arrived in Boston….as he later told the story of how on that morning he had met Helen Woodford, the girl who would become his first wife….when she was a 16-year-old waitress at Landers Coffee Shop….while he said that she had regularly served him when he had breakfast there…..and soon thereafter, he won his first game as a pitcher for the Red Sox, 4–3, over the Cleveland Naps….with his catcher being player / manager Bill Carrigan. Ruth lost his second start…. and was thereafter used very little….plus in his major league debut as a batter, Ruth went 0-for-2 against left-hander Willie Mitchell….while striking out in his first at bat before being removed for a pinch hitter in the seventh inning….so, in the beginning in Boston, 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 July 4th to the 1914 World Series championship.
MLB – 1915 – Rare Silent Footage – Featuring Babe Ruth Pitching And Hitting
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 being both a rookie….who did not play regularly….and a pitcher….as he arrived to find his bats sawed in half…..while his teammates nicknamed him “the Big Baboon”….which was a name the swarthy Ruth had detested…..and that is when Babe received a raise on being promoted to the major leagues….whereby he quickly acquired tastes for fine food, liquor….and women….as well as many temptations.
MLB – 1920 – MyFootage.Com Highlights – Early Red Sox Career Of Babe Ruth Manager Carrigan allowed Ruth to pitch two exhibition games in mid-August….and although Ruth won both against minor-league competition, he was not restored to the pitching rotation…..for It is uncertain why Carrigan did not give Ruth additional opportunities to pitch….as there are legends which were filmed for the screen in The Babe Ruth Story in 1948, that left the impression 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…..as it was common in that day and time 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….and that is when on July 30, 1914 that Red Sox owner Joseph Lannin had purchased the minor-league team of the Providence Grays….who were members of the International League…..as the Providence team had been owned by several people associated with the Detroit Tigers….which included 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 delayed when Cincinnati Reds owner Garry Herrmann claimed him off waivers…..after which 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….when Herrmann allowed Ruth to be sent to the minors…..while Carrigan later stated that Ruth was not sent down to Providence to make him a better player…..but to help the Grays win the International League championship…..when 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…..and Ruth was deeply impressed by Providence manager “Wild Bill” Donovan….who was previously a star pitcher with a 25–4 win–loss record for Detroit in 1907….and in later years, Ruth 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 in Toronto, Ruth pitched a one-hit 9–0 victory….and hit his first professional home run….which was his only one as a minor league player off Ellis Johnson…..then he was recalled to Boston after Providence finished the season in 1st place. He pitched and won a game for the Red Sox against the New York Yankees on October 2….while getting his first major league hit….which was a double…..as Ruth finished the season with a record of 2–1 as a MLB player….plus, a 23–8 in the International League (for Baltimore and Providence). Once the season concluded, Ruth married Helen in Ellicott City, Maryland.
MLB – 1914 To 1935 – Sports Greats Special – Babe Ruth – Part 1
In March 1915, Ruth reported to Hot Springs, Arkansas for his first major league spring training….and despite a relatively successful 1st season, he was not slated to start regularly for the Red Sox….who already had two “superb” left-handed pitchers in 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…..but injuries and ineffective pitching by other Boston pitchers gave Ruth another chance….when after some good relief appearances, Carrigan allowed Ruth another start….and he won a rain-shortened seven inning game…..then, 10 days later, the manager had him start against the New York Yankees at the Polo Grounds…..as Ruth took a 3–2 lead into the 9th….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. 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….and despite his success as a pitcher, Babe Ruth was acquirring a reputation for long home runs…..which was evidenced by a shot he hit at Sportsman’s Park that soared over Grand Avenue….while breaking a show window of a Chevrolet car dealership.
MLB – 1914 To 1935 – Sports Greats Special – Babe Ruth – Part 2
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…..for the two met five times during the season, with Ruth winning four and Johnson one….when Ruth had a no decision in Johnson’s victory…..while two of Ruth’s victories were by the score of 1–0…..with 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…..which was 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……as this time was by defeating the Brooklyn Robins (as the Dodgers were then known) in five games…..when Ruth started and won Game 2 by a score of 2–1 in 14 innings…..which until another game of 14 innings was played in 2005, this was the longest World Series game…..and Ruth’s pitching performance is still the longest postseason complete game victory still in 2020.
MLB – 1914 To 1935 – Sports Greats Special – Babe Ruth – Part 3
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 off-season….as Lannin sold the team to a three-man group headed by New York theatrical promoter Harry Frazee….who hired Jack Barry as manager….after which Ruth went 24–13 with a 2.01 ERA and six shutouts in 1917….but the Sox finished in 2nd place in the league….and nine games behind the Chicago White Sox in the standings. On June 23 at Washington, 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….while later being suspended for ten days and fined $100. 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….as Shore’s feat was listed as a perfect game for many years….but in 1991, Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Committee on Statistical Accuracy amended it to be listed as a combined no-hitter. In 1917, Ruth was used little as a batter….which were other than for his plate appearances while pitching….as he hit .325 with two home runs.
MLB & News – 2018 – CNN Sports Special – “Who Was Babe Ruth”
The United States’ entry into 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…..which included Barry….who was a player-manager…..as he joined the Naval Reserve in an attempt to avoid the draft, only to be called up after the 1917 season. Frazee hired International League President Ed Barrow as Red Sox manager…..as 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……and that is when Ruth also noticed these vacancies in the lineup…..and 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….so Barrow used Ruth at 1B and in the OF during the exhibition season….but he restricted him to pitching as the team moved toward 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…..and since he was inexperienced as a manager, he had player Harry Hooper advise him on baseball game strategy…..and Hooper urged his manager to allow Ruth to play another position when he was not pitching….while arguing to Barrow, who had invested in the club, that the crowds were larger on days when Ruth played….and they were attracted by his hitting……so, in early May, Barrow gave in….and Ruth promptly hit home runs in four consecutive games….with the last being off of Walter Johnson…..and for the first time in his career (disregarding pinch-hitting appearances), Ruth was assigned a place in the batting order higher than 9th.
MLB – 1920 – Special Rare Footage – Boston Red Sox P Babe Ruth
Although Barrow predicted that Ruth would beg to return to pitching the first time he experienced a batting slump….but that did not occur……as Barrow used Ruth primarily as an outfielder in the war-shortened 1918 season…..when Ruth hit .300 with 11 home runs….which was enough to secure him a share of the major league home run title with Tilly Walker of the Philadelphia Athletics. He was still occasionally used as a pitcher…..and had a 13 – 7 record with a 2.22 ERA…..then in 1918, the Red Sox won their third pennant in four years and faced the 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 but 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 lead 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 and 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings……which was a World Series record that stood for more than 40 years….until it was broken by Yankees Whitey Ford after Ruth’s death…..as The Sultan of Swat was more proud of that record than any of his batting accomplishments.With the World Series over, Ruth gained exemption from the war draft by accepting a nominal position with a Pennsylvania steel mill…..as many industrial establishments took pride in their baseball teams….and sought to hire major league players…..when the end of the war in November set Ruth free to play baseball without such contrivances.
MLB – 2018 – Boston Red Sox Report – “1918: 100 Years Later” – On The Red Sox World Series Championship Year
During the 1919 season, Ruth was used as a pitcher in only 17 of his 130 games and compiled an 8–5 record….as 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…..but by late June, the Red Sox were clearly out of the race…..and Barrow had no objection to Ruth concentrating on his hitting…..which was mainly because it drew people to the ballpark. Ruth had hit a home run against the Yankees on Opening Day…. and only one other during a month-long batting slump that soon followed…..but relieved of his pitching duties….that is when Ruth began an unprecedented spell of slugging home runs….which gave him widespread public and press attention…..as even his failures were seen as majestic….with one sportswriter saying….”When Ruth misses a swipe at the ball, the stands quiver.”….when he had two home runs on July 5…..which was followed by one in each of two consecutive games a week later….which raised his season total to 11…..and tying his career best from 1918…..then the first record to fall was the AL single-season mark of 16….which was set by Ralph “Socks” Seybold in 1902…..as Ruth matched that on July 29….then pulled ahead toward the major league record of 25…which was set by Buck Freeman in 1899…..and by the time Ruth reached this in early September….that is when writers had discovered that Ned Williamson of the 1884 Chicago White Stockings had hit 27….although 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….which tying Williamson…..and then he broke the record four days later against the Yankees at the Polo Grounds…..then hit one more against the Senators to finish with 29…..as this home run made Ruth the first major league player to hit a home run at all eight ballparks in his league…..but, in spite of Ruth’s hitting heroics, the Red Sox finished 6th…..and a whopping 20 1⁄2 games behind the league champion White Sox. In his six seasons with Boston, he won 89 games as a pitcher…..and recorded an ERA of 2.19….as he had a four-year stretch where he was 2nd in the AL in wins and ERA behind Walter Johnson….plus, Ruth had a winning record against Johnson in head-to-head match-ups.
MLB – 1920 To 1923 – Special Silent Film Highlights – Babe Ruth And The New York Yankees
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…..but even so, Frazee was successful in bringing other players to Boston…. especially as replacements for players in the military….as this willingness to spend for players helped the Red Sox secure the 1918 title. The 1919 season saw record-breaking attendance….while 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…..however, on December 26, 1919, Frazee sold Ruth’s contract to the New York Yankees….as not all 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 deal….when Boston pitcher Carl Mays left in a contract dispute….and Frazee settled the matter by selling Mays o the Yankees, even though the deal was opposed by AL President Johnson.
News & MLB – 2019 – FOX 13 Tampa Bay Special – 100th Anniversary Of Babe Ruth’s 587 Foot Home Run Blast
According to one of Ruth’s biographers, Jim Reisler, “why Frazee needed cash in 1919….with large infusions of it quickly…..is still, more than 80 years later, a bit of a mystery”. There were other financial pressures on Frazee, despite his team’s success….and Ruth was fully aware of baseball’s popularity and his role in it….and he wanted to renegotiate his contract…..which was signed before the 1919 season for $10,000 per year through 1921…..as he demanded that his salary be doubled….or he would sit out the season and cash in on his popularity through other ventures….plus, Ruth’s salary demands were causing other players to ask for more money….and Frazee still owed Lannin as much as $125,000 from his purchase of the club.
MLB – 1924 – Special Film – “Babe Ruth Fancy Curves”
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….the fact remained that 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….while building a stadium in New York would be expensive….however, when Frazee….who moved in the same social circles as Huston, hinted to the colonel that Ruth was available for the right price….that is when the Yankees owners quickly pursued the purchase…..as Frazee sold the rights to Babe Ruth for $100,000….which was the largest sum ever paid for a baseball player….as the deal also involved a $350,000 loan from Ruppert to Frazee….which was secured by a mortgage on Fenway Park…..and once it was agreed to by all parties….Frazee informed Barrow….who was stunned and 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….whereby in 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…..along with notes for the same amount that were due November 1 in 1920, 1921 and 1922….as Ruppert and Huston assisted Frazee in selling the notes to banks for immediate cash.
MLB – 1914 To 1935 – Special Documentary – “Babe Ruth: The Man Who Defined The Home Run”
The transaction was contingent on Ruth signing a new contract….which was quickly accomplished….as Ruth agreed to fulfill the remaining two years on his contract….but was given a $20,000 bonus….which was payable over two seasons. The deal was announced on January 6, 1920…..as reaction in Boston was mixed….with some fans being embittered at the loss of Ruth…..while others conceded that Ruth had become difficult to deal with. The New York Times suggested that “The short right field wall at the Polo Grounds should prove an easy target for Ruth next season while playing seventy-seven games at home…. which meant that 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.”…..and according to Marty Appel in his history of the Yankees….when he said that the transaction “changed the fortunes of two high-profile franchises for decades”…..as the Red Sox, who had been winners of five of the first 16 World Series played between 1903 and 1919, would not win another pennant until 1946….or another World Series until 2004….which was a drought attributed in baseball superstition to Frazee’s sale of Ruth….which had been dubbed for decades as the “Curse of the Bambino”. The Yankees, on the other hand, had not won the AL championship prior to their acquisition of Ruth…..after which they won seven AL pennants and four World Series with Ruth….while leading baseball with 40 pennants and 27 World Series titles in their history.
MLB – 1929 – Special Highlights – New York Yankees in Florida for Spring Training – Featuring Babe Ruth
When Ruth signed with the Yankees, he completed his transition from a pitcher to a power-hitting outfielder….when his fifteen-season Yankee career consisted of over 2,000 games….while breaking many batting records…..after making only five widely scattered appearances on the mound….while 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…..as Ruth had done little after having injured himself swinging the bat…..however, both situations began to change on May 1….when Ruth hit a tape measure home run that sent the ball completely out of the Polo Grounds….which was a feat believed to have been previously accomplished only by Shoeless Joe Jackson….as the Yankees won the game 6–0….while taking three out of four from the Red Sox. Ruth hit his 2nd Yankee 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….of which he promptly broke when he hit 13 in June…..and the Yankee 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….as 15,000 fans were turned away…..and then large crowds jammed stadiums to see Ruth play when the Yankees were on the road.
MLB – 1914 To 1935 – Special Film – “Babe Ruth: The Fence Buster”
The home runs kept on coming….as 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…..when 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 seasonby snapping Perry Werden’s 1895 mark of 44 in the minor Western League…..and the Yankees played well as a team after 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….which 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….which was the first time a team had drawn a seven-figure attendance…..while the rest of the league sold 600,000 more tickets as a result of many fans being at the ballparks to see Ruth lead the league with 54 home runs….158 runs ….and 137 runs batted in.
MLB – 2019 – Special Highlights – “The Debut And The Greatest Trade In Sports History”
From 1920 on in his career, Ruth was aided in his power hitting by the fact that A.J. Reach Company…. who was the maker of baseballs used in the major leagues…..when they started using a more efficient machine to wind the yarn found within the baseball…..and as the new baseballs went into play in 1920…. which ushered the start of the live-ball era….as the number of home runs across the major leagues increased by 184 over the previous year. Baseball statistician 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….which was accelerated after the death of Ray Chapman….who was struck by a pitched ball thrown by Mays in August 1920….along with the more frequent use of new baseballs. 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….and 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. Yankee’s business manager, Harry Sparrow, had died early in the 1920 season….so, Ruppert and Huston hired Barrow to replace him…..and 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….which included catcher Wally Schang and pitcher Waite Hoyt…..as the 21-year-old Hoyt became close to Ruth…..whose outrageous life fascinated Hoyt….with the don’t-give-a-shit freedom of it, the nonstop, pell-mell charge into excess….for how did a man drink so much and never get drunk?….as the puzzle that was Babe Ruth was never dull….regardless of how many times Hoyt picked up the pieces and stared at them. After games he would follow the crowd to the Babe’s suite….and no matter what the town, the beer would be iced and the bottles would fill the bathtub.
MLB – 1920 – Highlights of Yankees Vs Cleveland At League Park – Featuring Slow-Mo Footage of Babe Ruth’s Swing 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 of 138…..as 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….who had won the 1920 World Series the year before….then on September 15, Ruth hit his 55th home run….which shattered his year-old single season record. In late September, the Yankees visited Cleveland and won three out of four games….thus giving them the upper hand in the race….and they clinched their first pennant a few days later. Ruth finished the regular season with 59 home runs….while batting .378….with a slugging percentage of .846. The Yankees had high expectations when they met the New York Giants in the 1921 World Series….when every game would be 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….after he had walked and stolen both second and third bases ….when after the game, he was told by the team physician not to play the rest of the series….but despite this advice, he played in the next three games….and pinch-hit in game 8 of the best-of-nine series….but the Yankees lost five games to three….as Ruth hit .316, drove in five runs and hit his first World Series home run. After the Series, Ruth and teammates Bob Meusel and Bill Piercy participated in a barnstorming tour in the Northeast…..but a rule then in force prohibited World Series participants from playing in exhibition games during the off-season….with the purpose being to prevent Series participants from replicating the Series and undermining its value….and that is when MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis suspended the trio until May 20, 1922….and fined them their 1921 World Series checks…..however in August 1922, the rule was changed to allow limited barnstorming for World Series participants….with Landis’s permission required.
MLB – 2017 – Special – The Truth About the Origin of the Name of the Baby Ruth Candy Bar On March 6, 1922, Ruth signed a new contract for three years at $52,000 a year (equivalent to $794,266 in 2019)…..which was more than two times 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…..when 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….and then on May 25, he was thrown out of the game for throwing dust in umpire George Hildebrand’s face….plus, he climbed into the stands to confront a heckler…..and was then 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 the World Series for the second consecutive year….when Giants manager John McGraw instructed his pitchers to throw him nothing but curveballs….and Ruth never adjusted…..as he had just two hits in 17 at bats…..and the Yankees lost to the Giants for the second straight year by 4–0….with one tie game…..when 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 while weighing only 210 pounds (95 kg).
MLB – 1922 – World Series Highlights – New York Yankees Vs New York Yankees
The Yankees’ status as tenants of the Giants at the Polo Grounds had become increasingly uneasy, and in 1922, Giants owner Charles Stoneham said the Yankees’ lease, expiring after that season, would not be renewed……as 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…..when Yankee Stadium was completed in time for the home opener on April 18, 1923….at which Ruth hit the first home run in what was quickly dubbed “the House that Ruth Built”. The ballpark was designed with Ruth in mind….albeit the venue’s left-field fence was further from home plate than at the Polo Grounds….but in the new Yankee Stadium, right-field fence was closer…..thus 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….thus resulting in left fielder Meusel suffering headaches from squinting toward home plate.
MLB – 1923 – Special On Yankee Stadium – “The House That Ruth Built”
During the 1923 season, the Yankees were never seriously challenged….and won the AL pennant by 17 games….as 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….plus, The Bambino hit a career high 45 doubles in 1923….while reaching base an MLB record of 379 times. For the third straight year, the Yankees faced the Giants in the World Series…..which Ruth dominated as 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 two.
MLB – 1923 – World Series Highlights – New York Yankees Vs. New York Giants – Featuring Yanks Babe Ruth
In 1924, the Yankees were favored to become the first team to win four consecutive pennants….when plagued by injuries, they found themselves in a battle with the Senators….and although the Yankees won 18 of 22 at one point in September, the Senators beat out the Yankees by two games….as Ruth hit .378 in winning his only AL batting title….with a league-leading 46 home runs.
MLB – 1924 – Special Highlights – Babe Ruth’s Baseball Bat
Babe Ruth did not look like an athlete…..as he was described as “toothpicks attached to a piano”….with a big upper body but thin wrists and legs….when Ruth 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…..when he collapsed in Asheville, North Carolina….as the team journeyed north…..and 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…..when he was taken to a hospital where he suffered multiple convulsions. After sportswriter W. O. McGeehan wrote that Ruth’s illness was due to being on hot dogs and soda pop before a game….as 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, writes that the Ruth legend is “still one of the most sheltered in sports”….and he suggests that alcohol was at the root of Ruth’s illness….while 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….and he concludes that the hospitalization was behavior-related. Playing just 98 games, Ruth had his worst season as a Yankee….when he finished with a .290 average and 25 home runs ….as the Yanks finished next to last in the AL with a 69–85 record….which was their last season with a losing record until 1965. Ruth spent part of the offseason of 1925–26 working out at Artie McGovern’s gym….where he got back into shape…..as Barrow and Huggins had rebuilt the team and surrounded the veteran core with good young players like Tony Lazzeri and Lou Gehrig….both of whom went on to Hall of Fame careers….but the Yankees were not expected to win the pennant.
MLB – 1914 To 1935 – Sports Century Documentary Special – The Life And Times Of Babe Ruth
Ruth returned to his normal production during 1926….when he batted .372 with 47 home runs and 146 RBIs….as the Yanks built a 10-game lead by mid-June….and coasted to win the pennant by three games. The 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….and although the Yankees won the opener in New York….it was St. Louis who took games two and three….but in game four, Ruth hit three home runs….which was the first time this had been done in a World Series game….as he then led the Yankees to victory. In the 5th game….when Ruth caught a ball as he crashed into the fence….as the play was described by baseball writers as a defensive gem. New York took that game, but Grover Cleveland Alexander won game six for St. Louis to tie the Series at three games each….but 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 4th home run of the Series earlier in the game and was the only Yankee to reach base off Alexander….when he walked in the 9th inning before being thrown out to end the game when he attempted to steal second base. Although Ruth’s attempt to steal second is often deemed a base running blunder….that’s when Creamer pointed out that the Yankees’ chances of tying the game would have been greatly improved with a runner in scoring position. The 1926 World Series was also known for Ruth’s promise to Johnny Sylvester….who was a hospitalized 11-year-old boy…..as Ruth promised the child that he would hit a home run on his behalf. Sylvester had been injured in a fall from a horse…..when 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 so.. Ruth’s 1926 salary of $52,000 was far more than any other baseball player….but he made at least twice as much in other income, including $100,000 from 12 weeks of vaudeville. Ruth took time off in 1927 to star with Anna Q. Nilsson in this First National silent production Babe Comes Home. This film is now lost.
MLB – 1923 To 1926 – Special – Yankees Tribute Featuring Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig
The 1927 New York Yankees team is considered one of the greatest squads to ever take the field….which was known as Murderers’ Row because of the power of its lineup….as the team clinched first place on Labor Day….whil winning a then-AL-record 110 games…..as they took the AL pennant by 19 games….and since there was no suspense in the pennant race….that is when the nation turned its attention to Ruth’s pursuit of his own single-season home run record of 59 round trippers….for the fact remains that Ruth was not alone in this chase….as teammate Lou Gehrig proved to be a slugger….who was capable of challenging Ruth for his home run crown….for he was tied Ruth with 24 home runs late in June….then through July and August, the dynamic duo was never separated by more than two home runs….as Gehrig took the lead, 45–44 in the first game of a doubleheader at Fenway Park early in September….but Ruth responded with two blasts of his own to take the lead….as it proved to be permanently….albeit 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….then he hit two in the first game of the series…. which included one off of Paul Hopkins while 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 off 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….then in the 1927 World Series, the Yankees swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in four games….after the National League players 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 team.”
MLB – 1927 – Special Film – “A Championship Legacy: The 1927 New York Yankees”
The following season started off well for the league leading Yankees….but injuries began to plague the Yankees…..when they had eratic pitching and inconsistent play….which resulted in the upstart Philadelphia Athletics erasng the their big lead and….as the A’s even took over first place briefly in early September….but the Yanks rebounded and regained 1st place….then 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….as he got off to a hot start and on August 1, he had 42 home runs…which put him ahead of his 60 home run pace from the previous season….but he slumped for the latter part of the season….while hittin a mere twelve home runs in the last two months….and his batting average also fell to .323….which was well below his career average…. but he ended the season with 54….which ain’t too shabby. 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….with one being off Grover Alexander…..who would end up in the Hall of Fame.
MLB – 1928 – Rare Special Film – “Speedy Driving Around New York City With Harold Lloyd and Babe Ruth”
Before the 1929 season, Ruppert….who had bought out Huston in 1923….announced that the Yankees would wear uniform numbers to allow fans at cavernous Yankee Stadium to easily identify the players…. albeit the Cardinals and Indians had each experimented with uniform numbers…..but the Yankees were the first to use them on both home and away uniforms….and since The Sultan of Swat” was batting 3rd in the line-up….then he 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 1915.
MLB – 1928 – Special Film – “A Championship Legacy: The 1928 New York Yankees”
In 1929, the Yankees started well….but the A’s soon proved they were the better team…while 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…..and although Ruth performed well, the Yankees were not able to catch the Athletics….as 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 25th….which was only ten days after he had last directed the team….and despite their past differences, Ruth praised Huggins and described him as a “great guy”. The Yankees finished 18 games behind the Athletics to finish 2nd….as Ruth hit .345 during the season…..with 46 home runs…and 154 RBIs. On October 17th, the Yankees hired Bob Shawkey as manager….who was their 4th 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….and would prove unable to command Ruth’s respect.
Music & MLB – 1920 To 1935 – Murderers Row Sings – “Babe Ruth: King Of Them All”
On January 7, 1930, salary negotiations between the Yankees and Ruth quickly broke down….after having just concluded a three-year contract at an annual salary of $70,000….when Ruth promptly rejected both the Yankees’ initial proposal of $70,000 for one year and their ‘final’ offer of two years at $75,000….with the latter figure equaling the annual salary of then US President Herbert Hoover….but instead, Ruth demanded at least $85,000 and three years…..and 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.” ….when exactly two months later, a compromise was reached with Ruth settling for two years at an unprecedented $80,000 per year. Ruth’s salary was more than 2.4 times greater than the next-highest salary that season….which was still a record margin as of the 2019 season.
MLB – 2013 – Bill Mooney Teaches The Mechanics Of Babe Ruth’s Swing – “How Power Was Generated”
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 A’s won their second consecutive pennant and World Series….as the Yankees finished in 3rd place and 16 games back. At the end of the season, Shawkey was fired and replaced with Cubs manager Joe McCarthy….even though Ruth once again unsuccessfully sought the job. McCarthy was a disciplinarian…who chose not to interfere with Ruth….cuz The Bambino did not seek conflict with the manager. The team improved in 1931….but were no match for the A’s….who won 107 games….and a mere 13 1⁄2 games in front of the Yankees…..albeit Ruth hit .373, with 46 home runs and 163 RBIs….and his 31 doubles were his most since 1924…..so, Babe did his part. In the 1932 season, the Yankees went 107–47 and won the pennan….while Ruth hit .341 with 41 home runs and 137 RBIs…..even though he was sidelined twice due to injuries during the season.
MLB – 1920 – Rare ALCS Highlights – Yankees Vs Indians – With Game Winning Home Run By Babe Ruth
The Yankees faced the Cubs, McCarthy’s former team, in the 1932 World Series….as there was bad blood between the two teams as result of the Yankees resenting 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….while many in the crowd threw lemons at Ruth….with 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 were soon revived by tying the score at 4–4 in the 4th inning….which was partly due to Ruth’s fielding error in the outfield. When Ruth came to the plate in the top of the 5th, the Chicago crowd and players, led by pitcher Guy Bush, were screaming insults at Ruth….and with the count at two balls and one strike….that is when The Sultan of Swat gestured in the direction of center field….and then again after the next pitch (a strike)….that’s when he pointed there with one hand…..and proceeded to hit the 5th pitch over the center field fence….with estimates that the ball 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.
MLB – 1932 – Rare World Series Highlights – Babe Ruth Calls His Home Run Shot Against The Cubs
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 manager Connie Mack selected him to play right field in the first Major League 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…..and during the final game of the 1933 season….as a publicity stunt organized by his team…..Babe Ruth took the mound and pitched a complete game victory against the Red Sox….which was his final appearance as a pitcher…..as Ruth had amassed a 5–0 record in five games for the Yankees….which raised his career totals to 94–46…..I mean, that’s a 67% winning percentage…..and there is not a manager on the face of the Earth that wouldn’t want a pitcher with a 67% winning percentage on his staff today.