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Babe Ruth, the Legend

Babe Ruth, the Legend
September 08
14:21 2019

Babe Ruth

The Legend of The Babe

By John Christian Hopkins

At the end of “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” the newspaper editor tells his young reporter that when the myth becomes bigger than the truth, print the myth.

Baseball – “America’s Pastime” – is like that.

Was it really invented in Cooperstown, N.Y.? Did Ty Cobb really sharpen his spikes? Did Dock Ellis really throw a perfect game while high on LSD?

And did The Babe really call his home-run in the 1932 World Series? Did he really promise a sick kid in the hospital that he’d hit a home-run for him? Did he really throw his wife’s piano in a Boston river?

No ballplayer before or since has reached the magical pantheon where the legend of George Herman Ruth, Jr. resides.

Calling him larger than life seems somehow inadequate.

The Babe began drinking before his age reached double digits. Or so the legend says. His parents were unable to control him and he was sent to a juvenile home – where he discovered baseball.

The age of majority was 21 at the time, so when Babe signed his first professional contract the team’s manager had to assume guardianship.

Ruth started off as a pitcher and was a good one. He soon found his way to the Boston Red Sox, where he quickly became one of the top lefthanded pitchers of his time.

How good was he? The Babe faced off against the legendary Walter Johnson (417 career wins) six times in his career – and won five of those starts. It is not a stretch to suggest he would have been a Hall of Famer even if he had remained pitcher.

But it isn’t pitching that he is remembered for.

In his final season with the Red Sox Babe set a new single-season home run record with 29. In 1920, his first as a Yankee, Ruth blasted 54 dingers – more than all but one other team!

More than a slugger, The Babe once hit.393 for a season and his lifetime average of .342 is still among the top half dozen batters of all time.

He also ended his career in a way that befits the legend he had become.

On May 25, 1935, Ruth slammed the last three homers of his career.

He was playing for the Boston Braves then, and they were a pathetic team – 28 games into the season and they were already in last place, 11 games out.

In typical fashion, the Braves would lose that day by an 11-7 score.

But the story was The Babe.

Babe was 41, batting a measly.153 – nearly 100 points below his weight! He opened the season with a home-run off Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell. But he had struggled since. As of May 25, he had only three homers and five runs batted in.

In the first inning, Ruth connected for a two-run shot against starter Red Lucas. His second time up he hit another two-run shot off of Guy Bush, He singled in a run in the fifth and ended his day with a solo shot of Bush in the 7th.

Legend has it that The Babe walked away after that. In fact, he planned to, but the team had a road trip to finish and a chance to see Ruth meant more tickets sold. The Babe went 0-13 over the next five days before he finally called in quits on June 2. 1935.

Even at the height of his fame, Babe never forgot the kids; he would visit orphanages, schools, and hospitals – often secretly – to bring cheer to the kids.

Oh, and the Baby Ruth candy bar is NOT named for him. (Its name was inspired by President Grover Cleveland’s daughter.)

And baseball has never forgotten its Sultan of Swat.

Babe Ruth died on August 16, 1948.

Babe Ruth, the Legend - overview

Summary: The legend of baseball star, babe Ruth

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