Explore the intriguing and lesser-known aspects of Babe Ruth’s life, from his unexpected beginnings to his iconic moments in baseball history.
The Lesser-Known Side of Babe Ruth
Baseball icon Babe Ruth, known as the “Sultan of Swat” and the “Great Bambino,” holds an enduring legacy in sports history. Here’s a look at some of the intriguing and lesser-known facts about this baseball giant.
1. Early Days as a Pitcher
Babe Ruth first gained fame as a dominant left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox in the 1910s, playing a crucial role in three World Series titles. His shift from pitcher to outfielder marked the beginning of his legendary home run journey.
2. A Career Beyond the Yankees
Contrary to popular belief, Ruth’s career both started and ended in Boston, but his final games were not with the Red Sox. Ruth’s last major-league appearance was with the Boston Braves, a stint that ended in just 28 games.
3. Not a Unanimous Hall of Famer
In a surprising turn, 11 out of 226 voters excluded Ruth from their ballots during the first Baseball Hall of Fame induction. Despite his astounding career, Ruth trailed behind Ty Cobb in votes.
4. The Reality of His Childhood
Ruth was not an orphan, as widely believed. His parents, overwhelmed by his behavior, sent him to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Orphans, Delinquent, Incorrigible, and Wayward Boys in Baltimore at age seven.
5. A Birthday Misunderstanding
Ruth spent most of his life believing he was born on February 7, 1894. However, his birth certificate revealed a different date, February 6, 1895, a discovery made late in his career.
6. Tragic Family Incident
Ruth’s father, George Herman Ruth Sr., died in a fight with a family member, an altercation that led to a fatal head injury.
7. A Unique No-Hitter
Ruth once pitched a combined no-hitter for the Red Sox, though he was ejected early in the game. His replacement, Ernie Shore, completed the no-hitter.
8. Legal Troubles and Speeding
Ruth faced jail time for reckless driving, underscoring his penchant for speed both on and off the baseball field.
9. Coaching Days and Missed Opportunities
Post-retirement, Ruth served as a first base coach for the Brooklyn Dodgers, a role that never led to the managerial position he aspired to.
10. Mysterious Death of His First Wife
Ruth’s first wife, Helen, died under mysterious circumstances, with her true identity coming to light only after her death.
11. The Legacy of His Last Home Run
Ruth’s last home run, a legendary feat, is commemorated in the Baseball Hall of Fame, marking the end of an era in baseball history.
Babe Ruth remains a figure of intrigue and admiration in the world of sports. Beyond his well-known exploits on the field, these lesser-known aspects of his life add depth to the legend of the Great Bambino.