George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth, Hall of Fame baseball player, died August 16, 1948. He was 53.
Ruth was born February 6, 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland. His childhood was a difficult one. At the age of seven, his parents enrolled him in St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. Ruth was described as incorrigible, but under the guidance of St. Mary’s Brother Mathias, Ruth settled down and even learned how to play the game of baseball.
Mathias also instilled in Ruth a love for children, which he carried with him throughout his life.
Ruth was an excellent baseball player at St. Mary’s, and was able to play several positions. He was an especially good pitcher and could hit the ball long distances.
After being scouted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1914, he was signed and subsequently sold to the Boston Red Sox where he became a starting pitcher in 1914. It was with Boston that he got the nickname ‘Babe,’ because of his young age.
After four successful years as a pitcher and fielder with the Red Sox, Babe was sold to the New York Yankees. Ruth switched permanently to the outfield, and his hitting soon became legendary.
He hit 54 home runs in 1920, and 59 in 1921. It was reported at the time that Ruth’s hitting helped save baseball’s image. The ‘Black Sox’ scandal of 1919 almost ruined the game.
Ruth hit 60 home runs in 1927, a record that stood 34 years. He hit 50 or more home runs four times, and 40 or more eleven time. His 714 lifetime home runs stood for 40 years. It is speculated that had Ruth been hitting, instead of pitching his first five seasons, his lifetime total would have been well over 800. Even Hank Aaron didn’t top 800.
Ruth retired from baseball in 1935, but was never able to achieve his post baseball dream of managing a major league team.
Ruth was one of the charter members of the Hall of Fame in 1936.
He was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1946, and succumbed to the disease on August 16, 1948.
Ruth was married twice. His first wife Helen died in a fire in 1929. He was married to his second wife, Claire, until his death. Ruth had two adopted daughters, Dorothy and Julia.
The ‘Sultan of Swat,’ as he was known, was buried in the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York.