Babe Ruth Biography
A biography of baseball player Babe Ruth who became an American folk hero.
Baseball player Babe Ruth became an American folk hero. Anything grand, great and glorious is known as Ruthian! George Herman Ruth, Jr. was born February 6, 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the first child of a saloonkeeper and his wife. Ruth grew up in the rough environment around his father's saloons. He was stealing from local shopkeepers by the age of five. At seven, he refused to go to school and was sent to St. Mary's Industrial School, an institution for orphans and delinquent boys run by the Catholic order of Xaverian Brothers. He stayed there until he was eighteen years old. Brother Matthias became a surrogate father to Babe, guiding him into baseball. He was a natural at every position on the diamond and by eight years old he was on the twelve year olds' team.
By 1914 Ruth had become known as Baltimore's best young baseball star. Jack Dunn, owner of the Baltimore Orioles, signed Ruth to his first professional contract. Dunn also assumed Ruth's legal guardianship, because he was nineteen years old. The team called George, Jr. Jack Dunn's "baby," which sportswriters changed to "Babe."
By 1914, Dunn sold Babe Ruth to the Boston Red Sox. When Babe was in Boston, it the first time he'd been anywhere outside of St. Mary's Industrial School. He was six foot two and weighed 198 pounds and had no self-discipline and very little education. Ruth became the best left-handed pitcher in the American League during his Boston tenure, winning 89 games in six seasons. In 1916 he got his first chance to pitch in a World Series. In the 1918 World Series he continued his pitching heroics, running his series record to 29 2/3 scoreless innings, a record that held for forty-three years.
In 1919 Ruth smacked 29 home runs, the most ever hit by a player in a single season up to that point. He began to be known for rounding the bases in his famous home run trot. That year he also led the majors in runs batted in, runs scored, slugging average and total bases. In 1917 the team was purchased by H. Harrison Frazee. He began selling off his best players to Colonel Jacob Ruppert, owner of the New York Yankees, to raise cash for a number of Broadway productions. Babe Ruth was traded in 1920 for $125,000 and the promise of a $300,000 personal loan to finance another show. Fenway Park was put up as security for the loan. The Red Sox have not won a World Series since 1918. Red Sox fans refer to this fact as "The Curse of The Bambino."
In 1920, Babe’s first year with the Yankees, he hit 54 home runs, 25 more than he hit the year before. His slugging average was .847. In the next 70 years no one came close to matching it. For the first time in baseball history, more than one million fans came to see a major league franchise and Babe Ruth. In 1921, he even lead the major leagues with an astonishing 59 home runs, 457 total bases, 171 runs batted in, and 177 runs scored. He had already hit more homers than anyone in baseball history. And he was only 26 years old. In 1923, a brand new stadium was built in the Bronx to hold all of the fans who wanted to see Babe Ruth play.
Ruth bought his wife and adopted daughter an old farmhouse in rural Massachusetts, moved into an eleven-room suite in the Ansonia Hotel on New York's Upper West Side. He and his wife soon separated. On April 9, he collapsed from a mysterious ailment that required abdominal surgery and seven weeks in the hospital. In April of 1929, three months after a fire claimed the life of his estranged wife, Babe married his longtime mistress, Claire Hodgson.
In the first All-Star Game, Babe Ruth carried the day by hitting a two-run homer in the third inning. In 1934 Ruth was titled the world's most photographed man. But by May 1935 Ruth announced his retirement from baseball. The Baseball Hall of Fame officially opened up on June 12, 1939, and thousands of fans came to see Ruth inducted.
Babe Ruth died of cancer on August 16, 1948 at the age of fifty-three. Over 100,000 fans paid their respects at Yankee Stadium, where he lay in state. Few of Babe Ruth's records have been broken over the years and no one has come close to reaching his legacy.