Babe Ruth changed the game of baseball.
George Herman “Babe” Ruth was perhaps the most recognized player in Major League Baseball history. Born on February 6, 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland, Ruth attended St. Mary’s Industrial School. At St. Mary’s, Ruth became a star baseball prospect. But these accomplishments were a mere shadow of what he would later do as Babe Ruth changed the game of baseball.
There were many reasons why Babe Ruth changed baseball but none made as much of an impact as his natural abilities and skills. Of all the things Ruth was recognized for, none were as noticed as his gargantuan home runs. Ruth started his career in 1914 as a minor leaguer of the Baltimore Orioles (Babe Ruth Museum 1).
He began his career as a pitcher but his hitting would make him famous. Ruth hit 29 home runs in 1919 with the Boston Red Sox. At the time it was the Major League record (Babe Ruth Museum 2).
The next year (1920), as a member of the New York Yankees, he outdid himself as he hit an astonishing 54 home runs
The pattern continued as he hit 59 home runs in 1921 (Creamer 239).
His pace slowed down a little for the next few years, but his pace picked up again. In 1927 he would hit his famous 60 home runs which was a record at the time and would last until 1961 when it was broken by fellow Yankee Roger Maris. He also made the first Major League Baseball All-Star Game memorable when he hit the first ever All-Star Game home run at Comisky Park in 1933 (Babe Ruth Museum 4).
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Babe Ruth had many glorious seasons and memorable moments. For instance, in 1921 he hit 59, 16 triples, 44 doubles, had 177 runs scored, 170 RBIs (Runs Batted In), a .846 slugging percentage (record), 204 hits, 144 walks, batted .378, and had an unbelievable 457 total bases (Creamer 239).
In 1927, which many people consider his greatest season of all time, he hit 60 home runs, 29 doubles, had 164 RBIs, 192 hits, 158 runs scored, 138 walks, slugged for an average of .772, had a batting average of .356, and ran for a total of 417 bases (CNNSI 2).
One of his most memorable moments was in the third game of the 1932 World Series. When he was at the plate he pointed his bat to center field. Many people say that he was calling his shot. On the very next pitch he belted the ball deep and over the center field wall (Babe Ruth Museum 4).
Another one of his greatest accomplishments was in 1924 when he won his first Triple Crown (leading the league in batting average, home runs, and RBIs in one season) (Creamer 278).
So as you can see, Babe Ruth’s baseball performance was legendary.
Babe Ruth had started to gain a tremendous following due to his ability and showmanship. In 1920, more than a million people saw the Yankees play. It was the first time ever and it was largely because of Babe Ruth. Attendance was getting so monstrous that the Yankees built a new stadium because so many people wanted to see “The Babe”. The stadium has been simply known as “The House that Ruth Built” (Babe Ruth Museum 3).
The first attendance for the house that Ruth built was a complete sell out with extra people in standing room only. Now the media was paying more attention to baseball as well. Baseball was on the radio and in the papers. Ruth made the front page sometimes just for hitting a home run (Creamer 220).
Many people had started to admire Ruth and gave him many nicknames such as, ” The Great Bambino”, ” The Sultan of Swat”, “The Wali of Wallop”, etc. (Babe Ruth Museum 3).
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America was in dire need of a hero for this was the time of “The Great Depression.” Babe Ruth was the answer.
Like many of today’s athletes, Babe Ruth was hard to please. It was hard to keep him on the team with the salaries he was receiving. In 1927, Ruth made $70,000. That’s like millions in today’s society. The next closest salary to Ruth’s was a mere $17,500 (Creamer 351).
In 1930, Ruth surpassed himself by making $80,000. It was more than anyone else had ever made at the time. In fact, Ruth made more than the president, Herbert Hoover. When asked about this Ruth stated, “Why not? I had a better year than he did” (Babe Ruth Museum 3).
Today, when you turn on the television, chances are that you will see a professional athlete endorsing a product. Babe Ruth started this trend as he endorsed many products such as, cereals, candy bars, and even toothpaste! In today’s sports world, this is a common sight, but if it weren’t for Babe Ruth it wouldn’t be.
When you think about it, without Babe Ruth, baseball would be more like Chess. Not in the public’s eyes. Today, baseball players hit so many home runs, make so much money, endorse so many products, and are constantly in the public’s eyes. Babe Ruth was a pioneer like Columbus, Edison, and so many others. He brought baseball to the next level. The game of baseball owes a debt of gratitude to George Herman “Babe” Ruth for he has done so much for it. Without him, the game you see today wouldn’t be the same.