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April 16, 2014

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SPOTLIGHT ON...

BABE RUTH

Photo of Babe Ruth

BABE RUTH

George Herman Ruth Jr. survived a stormy childhood, growing up mostly in a Baltimore orphanage and reform school where his parents had abandoned him at the age of seven, to become the biggest celebrity in American sports history.

In 1914, the 19 year old Ruth started his major league career as a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox and soon became the club's best hurler. In 1916 he lead the A.L. with a 1.75 ERA and 9 shutouts while posting a 23-12 record.

But his ability to handle the bat caught the Red Sox management's eye and they gradually moved him into the outfield. In 1918 his 66 RBI was third best in the league, and when he walloped a League leading 29 homers the following season his career as a pitcher was over.

That winter Boston sold him to the New York Yankees and in 1920, (the year that a livelier ball was introduced to the game), Ruth responded to the friendly confines of the Polo Grounds by hitting a record 54 home runs. The fans flocked to see him, and that season the Yankees became the first team to draw over one million customers.

On April 18, 1923 when the Yankees opened their new ballpark some 74,000 people showed up, and Ruth reacted by hitting a home run in his first time at bat. That year he hit .393 and led the Yankees to their third straight A.L. pennant and first world championship.

In his 22 year career "the Sultan of Swat" rewrote the record books time and time again. He led the American League in home runs 12 times and averaged 50 home runs a year from 1926 through '31.

Ruth's playing abilities and his exuberant, larger than life personality, made him the biggest draw in baseball and the highest paid player of his time.

The "Bambino" single-handedly changed baseball forever, by bringing on the era of the slugger, and is still considered to be the greatest player of all time.

 CAREER STATISTICS

  In 22 years in the big leagues Babe Ruth played in 2505 games.

 Lifetime Batting Average:  .342
 At Bats:  8399
 Hits:  2873
 Doubles:  506
 Triples:  136
 Home Runs:  714
 Runs Scored:  2174
 Runs Batted In:  2213
 Bases on Balls:  2056
 Strikeouts:  1330
 Stolen Bases:  123
 

Links to the Bambino: