|World Series Wins
|Years in League
|New York Yankees
|St. Louis Cardinals
|Boston Red Sox
|Los Angeles Dodgers
|Athletics/ Giants/ Pirates/ Reds
|120/ 138/ 134/ 131
Between 1919 and 1924, no one dominated and changed a national sport, or any sport for that matter, more than George Herman "Babe" Ruth did with American baseball. The generation that lived to see and hear him play are now almost gone, and younger generations may not realize the impact that Babe Ruth had on sport, and indeed, on an entire nation. His .690 career slugging percentage will almost certainly never be broken and many of his baseball records still stand to this day. He was also one of the best pitchers to have ever played the game of baseball. He was one of a kind and it is doubtful that we will ever see a sportsperson like him again.
Babe Ruth was born in Baltimore Maryland on February 6th, 1895, at a time in American history where the infant mortality rate was astonishingly high. Housing in an industrial city like Baltimore was crowded, unsanitary, and often unheated. Diseases were rampant, were not treated at all, or were simply untreatable. Children among the working class at that time were frequently undernourished, susceptible to deadly diseases, and were either living in poverty or on the edge of poverty and they died in the thousands. So many infants died in the first year of birth in the late 1800's, that many babies were not even named by their parents until they reached the age of one. This was the type of world that George Herman Ruth Jr. was born into, and his family, like many families at that time, suffered the terrible consequences. Tragically, out of eight children, six of his brothers and sisters would die in childhood. Exactly how they died, is seemingly lost to history and completely overshadowed by the success of the life of the brother that lived.
As a boy, Babe Ruth grew up in a rough and tumble area of Baltimore called "Pig Town". His father was a bar owner or "saloon" owner as bars or taverns were called in those days. Ruth's father, George Herman Ruth was in many ways, an absent father, as most working fathers were during that time. He was also an alcoholic who stayed out late at night working in the bar he owned. As the story goes, a great deal of the senior Ruth's time was likely consumed with the day to night running of the business rather than the raising of his children, which to be fair, would have been a luxury at that time in American history.
Ruth's mother, Catherine Schamberger, was chronically sick with tuberculosis and thus was not likely able to attend her two children either, this, combined with the fact that George Sr. was known to drink heavily and would sometimes be unable to work as a result of his drinking, led to the young Babe being sent to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, an orphanage and reform school run by the Catholic Church, when he was seven years old.
St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, as it was called in those days, was a Catholic reform school located in Baltimore, Maryland that operated during the early 1900s. It was established in 1866 by the Xaverian Brothers, a Catholic religious order, with the goal of providing a home and education for boys who were orphaned or from troubled families. The school aimed to provide the boys with a stable environment where they could learn useful skills and values, and ultimately become productive members of society. it was located in the southwestern part of the city, near the intersection of Wilkens Avenue and Caton Avenue.
At the time that Babe Ruth was sent to the school in 1902, this area of Baltimore was primarily a working-class neighborhood, with many factories and industrial facilities nearby. The school was situated on a large campus that included several buildings, including dormitories, classrooms, and workshops. The location of the school was significant because it provided the boys who attended with access to the city's urban amenities, such as parks, libraries, and museums. It also gave them exposure to the diversity of the city, which was home to many different ethnic and religious groups. Baltimore itself was a major port city at the time, and it was an important hub for transportation and industry. It was also a city with a rich baseball history, and it was home to several professional baseball teams during Babe Ruth's early years. This likely contributed to Ruth's love of the game and his eventual success as a player.
At St. Mary's, Babe Ruth lived in a dormitory-style setting with other boys and was required to participate in daily activities such as mass, classes, and work duties. However, he also had the opportunity to play baseball, which became his passion and ultimately his path to a professional career. The school had a baseball team, and Babe Ruth was quickly recognized as a talented player. He was given special permission to play on the team, even though he was younger than the other boys.
Babe Ruth remained at St. Mary's until he was 19 years old, and he credited the school with providing him with the structure and guidance that he needed to succeed. The Xaverian Brothers who ran the school were an important influence on Ruth, and he remained close to them throughout his life. The school itself continued to operate until 1950, when it was closed due to changing societal attitudes towards institutional care for children. At St. Mary's, Ruth was cared for by the Xaverian Brothers, a group of Catholic laymen who devoted themselves to teaching and helping young boys. One of the Brothers who took a particular interest in Ruth was Brother Matthias, a former minor league baseball player who taught Ruth the game of baseball. Brother Matthias recognized Ruth's natural athletic ability and worked with him to develop his skills as a baseball player. Ruth quickly showed promise on the field, and Brother Matthias became his mentor and coach. He spent hours with Ruth, teaching him the fundamentals of the game and encouraging him to practice and improve. Ruth thrived under Brother Matthias's guidance and quickly became one of the best players on the team. He was a natural hitter and had an impressive pitching arm. His size and strength also made him a formidable presence on the field.
In addition to teaching Ruth the game of baseball, Brother Matthias also had a profound impact on his character and work ethic. He instilled in Ruth a sense of discipline and determination, and encouraged him to strive for excellence in all areas of his life. Ruth's time at St. Mary's had a profound impact on his later career. It was there that he developed his love for baseball and honed his skills as a player. But perhaps more importantly, it was there that he learned the values of hard work, discipline, and perseverance that would serve him well throughout his professional career.
Today, the site where St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys once stood is a mixed-use development called St. Agnes, which includes a hospital, medical offices, and retail space. However, the legacy of the school and its impact on Babe Ruth's life and career continue to be remembered and celebrated in the city of Baltimore.
Babe Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees by the Boston Red Sox for $125,000 on December 26, 1919, or about $2,000,000 in today's money (you could buy a house for $3,000 in 1919). This was a record-breaking sum at the time and was more than twice the amount of the previous highest sum of $50,000 paid for player Eddie Plank in 1914 for the St. Louis Terriers. Ruth's time with the New York Yankees is one of the most storied and successful periods in baseball history. Ruth joined the Yankees in 1920, after spending his early years in the major leagues with the Boston Red Sox. At the time, the Yankees were not yet the dominant team that they would become, but Ruth's arrival helped to change that. During his 15 seasons with the Yankees, Babe Ruth established himself as one of the greatest players of all time. He was a prolific home run hitter, and his power at the plate helped to revolutionize the game of baseball. In his first season with the Yankees, he hit 54 home runs, which was more than any other team in the American League at the time. Over the course of his career with the Yankees, Babe Ruth helped lead the team to seven American League pennants and four World Series championships. He was a key contributor to the team's success, both on and off the field. On the field, Babe Ruth's hitting prowess was unmatched. He set numerous records during his time with the Yankees, including the single-season home run record of 60, which he set in 1927. He was a consistent threat at the plate, and his ability to hit home runs helped to change the way that baseball was played. Off the field, Babe Ruth was a larger-than-life personality who helped to popularize the sport and make it more accessible to fans. He was known for his outgoing personality, his love of food and drink, and his willingness to engage with fans and the media. He became a national celebrity and a symbol of the American Dream, and his popularity helped to boost the profile of the Yankees and of baseball as a whole. Overall, Babe Ruth's contributions to the success of the New York Yankees were immeasurable. His power at the plate, his larger-than-life personality, and his status as a national icon helped to make the Yankees one of the most successful and iconic teams in sports history.Writing in progress, please come back soon...