Babe Ruth

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Babe Ruth

Baseball player. Born George Herman Ruth, Jr., on February 6, 1895, in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the first of eight children born to Kate and George Herman Ruth, Sr. Most of the Ruth children died in infancy and only George Jr. and his sister Mamie survived to maturity. Little George, as he was called, grew up in a poor waterfront neighborhood in Baltimore, where he lived above the family saloon.

In 1902, the Ruth’s sent their son away to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, which was both a reformatory and an orphanage. Ruth developed a love for sports, particularly baseball, which served as his escape from the strict environment at St Mary’s. From an early age he showed potential as an athlete, and in his late teens he had developed into a professional candidate. His tough southpaw pitching attracted Jack Dunn, manager of the minor league Baltimore Orioles. In 1914, the Orioles signed Ruth to his first professional baseball contract. He became the team’s youngest member, and was befittingly nicknamed “Babe.”

Within five months, 19-year-old Ruth graduated to the major leagues, and signed with the Boston Red Sox. He remained with the team for six seasons, alternating positions as pitcher and outfielder. With his great pitching, powerful bat, and winning personality, he was quickly on his way to greatness, overshadowing players like Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner.

After a controversy revealed that the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the 1919 World Series, the sport of baseball was in need of a hero. The scandal had shaken the public’s faith in the game. However, in 1919, while still a part-time pitcher for the Red Sox, Ruth made his home-run assault on the record books. His 25th home run that year shattered the modern major league record held by the now forgotten Gabby Kraveth. By the end of the year, Ruth’s record was an unprecedented 29 home runs, and he was credited with reviving faith in the game.

In December of 1919, the Boston Red Sox sold the invaluable player to New York Yankee owner Colonel Jacob Ruppert. Ruppert bought Ruth’s contract for over $100,000, which was a staggering price at the time. In 1920, Ruth joined the Yankees, who as yet had never won a pennant. For years they played in the shadow of the New York Giants. Without a baseball park to call their own, the Yankees were forced to hold their games at the G...

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Ruth was diagnosed with cancer in 1946. Although the extent of his illness was kept from him, he knew that his time was limited. He spent the remainder of his life making countless visits to children’s hospitals and orphanages. In 1948, Ruth made his final appearance at Yankee Stadium, celebrating the 25th anniversary of “The House that Ruth Built.” His number was retired, and April 27th was declared “Babe Ruth Day.”

On August 16, 1948, Ruth died at the age of 53. At the time of his death, he held 54 major league records, including most years leading a league in home runs (12), most total bases in a season (457), and highest slugging percentage for a season (.847).

While with the Red Sox, Ruth married 18-year-old waitress Helen Woodford, whom he had known less than three months. In 1929, Ruth’s wife died in a fire. At the time, they had been separated for three years. Her tragic death allowed him to marry Claire Hodgson, a former model and actress. With Claire’s daughter from a previous marriage and Ruth’s adopted daughter (with Woodford), they became an immediate family. Ruth and Hodgson remained together until Ruth’s death.

Bibliography:

biography.com

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