George Herman Ruth
There are few names in the history of baseball that produce as much respect as that of Babe Ruth. Known as a Yankee slugger, George Herman Ruth, Jr. hit 714 home runs had 2,213 runs batted in and a slugging percentage of .690. These numbers have set records and many athletes today struggle to come even within range of many of the numbers put up by this baseball legend. The Babe Ruth nicknames of “the Bambino” and “the Sultan of Swat” were well earned throughout his time as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and then as an outfielder for the New York Yankees. Babe Ruth’s legacy stretches far beyond his outstanding percentages and records, however. He changed the nature of the game.
Babe Ruth’s Baseball Career
Babe Ruth got started playing baseball while attending the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory and orphanage. Here, Brother Matthais Boutlier began teaching the young boy the basics of the game. He quickly showed an aptitude for the sport and was signed at 19 by Jack Dunn to play for the International League for the Baltimore Orioles. He then went on to have his first professional appearance with the Boston Red Sox. He was sold to the New York Yankees in 1920, and helped to turn the mediocre team into a baseball powerhouse.
How Babe Ruth Changed Baseball
The Yankees[paragraph_left][block] Before Babe Ruth came to the club, the Yankees were a virtually unknown team. They had just been renamed, shared a field with another team, and drew minimal crowds. By the time Babe Ruth left the team, the franchise had become the team that come to symbolize major league baseball. It is from this incredible influence he had over the team that one finds the expression, “The House that Ruth Built.” [/block][block] [/block][/paragraph_left]
Baseball Within Popular Culture
It was in the 1920’s that Americans became more interested in leisure activities and there was a general shift in American culture towards sports. Babe Ruth, and his ability to draw crowds to watch the superstar slug the ball, helped make baseball America’s pastime. Ruth was known for being good to people and treating those he came into contact with well, which helped his reputation.
How the Game Changed
As Babe Ruth’s popularity rose, those who ran the game realized that making the game more exciting drew more fans. This transition was known as the switch between the dead ball era to the live ball era.
Prior to the change, only one ball was used throughout the game. As the game was played, the ball would become worn, difficult to see, and difficult to hit far. This led to many advantages for pitchers, who would purposed scuff up the ball to slow down hitters. The pitcher’s advantage was largely blamed for very low scoring games, which had been uninteresting for many fans. As the live ball era came into play, balls began to be replaced at the first sign of wear, which made them easier to see and hit.
Pitchers also had an advantage because of a particular pitch known as a ‘spitball’, in which the ball would have saliva, jelly, or something similar applied to it that changes how it reacts to the wind and how it spins. When this pitch was banned, hitters became increasingly more successful.
As these two major changes went into effect, offensive statistics went up considerably, which helped to draw even more fans to the game. Many people credit Babe Ruth for helping to ushering in the new era.
How did Babe Ruth Die?
Babe Ruth passed away from cancer at the age of 53 in 1948. He had been diagnosed just two years earlier. His fame and fortune had awarded him many experimental treatments, including simultaneous radiation and drugs, but it was not enough and he passed away in his sleep.
Babe Ruth continues to be a legendary ball player and a cultural icon for people across the country. With famous Babe Ruth quotes like, “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way” and “Watch my dust” he continues to be praised and highly spoken of by fans of the game. He transformed America’s pastime, and will not be forgotten.
“To say ‘Babe Ruth’ is to say ‘Baseball’.”
– Will Harridge (ex-President of the American League)