He was born in a Baltimore neighborhood called Pigtown 128 years ago today, February 6, 1895, son of a barkeep who sent him to live in a boys reformatory where he learned shirt making, carpentry and how to play baseball better than any else one ever played baseball. Today is
NATIONAL BABE RUTH DAY!
By all reports, George Herman Ruth was a handful all his life, in trouble everywhere but on a baseball field, where it was the opposing team in trouble.
He signed his first professional contract with the minor league Baltimore Orioles in 1914, and before the season was over, was pitching games in the Major Leagues for the Boston Red Sox.
A great left-handed starter and stellar World Series performer (3-0, 0.87 ERA), Ruth was a star for Boston for 5 years and two World Championships, until Red Sox owner Harry Frazee needed $400,000 to produce a Broadway musical called “No No Nannette” and offered Babe Ruth in exchange.
The New York Yankees ponied up the dough, put The Babe in right field, then built a stadium around him. The pitching star became the best and most powerful hitter the game has ever seen, the cornerstone of the Yankees’ success, and the Bambino set all the cool records in the Bronx.
Babe Ruth was one of those larger than life characters who transcended his sport, as identifiably a piece of America as Mount Rushmore, and a hell of a lot more fun. Here’s to the Sultan of Swat, the Babe Ruth of Babe Ruths.
•Suggested Activities: Calling your shot.