Heroes in memorable days are remembered, legends remain in history.
This has happened with thousands of athletes, especially with one of the great baseball players of all time who turned Yankee Stadium into the capital of sports and the most famous baseball franchise in North America, en route to conquering 40 League titles. American and 27 World Series.
George Herman Ruth, better known as Babe Ruth, was born on February 6, 1895, in Pigtown, Baltimore. He was also called “The Sultan of the Stake” and “The Bambino”.
He started in the Major Leagues as a pitcher in 1914 with Boston. He was good on the mound, posting 94 with 46 losses with a 2.28 ERA. In 1916 he won 23 at 1.75 earned runs, and in 1917 he had 24 wins at 2.01. With the Yankees he went 5-0. But he really was born to hit.
In his first five seasons he was limited in hitting home runs acting more as a pitcher than as an outfielder, hitting only 20 in 678 times at bat. But in the year before he arrived in New York in 1919 he set a record of 29 in 432 at-bats playing frequently in right field.
In 1920, exactly on January 5, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Ruth for $125,000 to Jacob Ruppert’s Yankees.
At that time no one imagined the value of such change. For many it was the cheapest gift that they have given to a team in the history of this sport, because Ruth with his home runs led large crowds to the new stadium inaugurated in 1923 where they won seven American League titles from his arrival until his retirement. and three World Series, becoming the “Cathedral of Baseball”.
Before this date (1901 and 1902) they played under the name of Baltimore Orioles because they were located in Maryland. On April 30, 1903 they began under the name of the New York Highlanders in victory over the Washington Senators playing at the Hilltop Park of the Polo Ground, a stadium that alternated with the other city team, the New York Giants led by John McGraw.
Starting in 1920, the Yankees were called the ”Manhattan Mules”, the ”Bronx Bombers” and some opponents also called them ”The Evil Empire”. They had great hitters, but Ruth made the difference by being the first player to exceed 30 home runs in a season when in 1920 he had 54, a figure that was individually higher than any team in the league.
Ruth was the first batter to hit a home run in the stadium opened in 1923 against the very ninth where he had started his career, the Boston Red Sox. Between 1919 and 1934, he accumulated more than 20 home runs per season, in 13 he exceeded 30 and in four he exceeded 50. The 60 of 1927 were untouched until 1961 when Roger Maris hit 61.
Due to the significant change that his time in the franchise represented, the stadium was called “the house that Babe Ruth built”.
Such was his dominance in the 1920s and mid-1930s, that when he retired in 1935 he accumulated an average of .342 with 2,214 RBIs and 714 home runs. The closest hitters of his era in home runs were Jimmie Foxx (534), Lou Gehrig (493) and Rogers Hornsby (301).
The difference of 180, 221 and 413 home runs over Foxx, Gehrig and Hornsby indicates that Ruth was a unique hitter in his day.
He participated in 10 World Series, three with Boston (1915-16-18) and seven with the Yankees, adding six crowns between both teams.
Ruth’s record of 714 home runs was broken by Hank Aaron when he hit his number 715 in 1974 en route to his 755. The latter number was surpassed by Barry Bonds when he completed 762 in 2007.
Bonds, Aaron and Ruth have been the three greatest homers of all time, each in different times and circumstances in terms of technique and science. But Ruth was the first figure to transform baseball with his hits to start America’s global sporting blaze, which was reasserted decades later when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier to help open up other professional sports to all. athletes without distinction of race, sex and nationality.
Babe Ruth died on August 16, 1948, in New York. In 1936 he was elected to the Cooperstown Hall of Fame.
This story was originally published on January 13, 2022 5:24 p.m.
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Why is Babe Ruth considered by many to be the best player to ever step foot on a Major League pitch?