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Fun Facts About Babe Ruth

April 20, 2020

Babe Ruth was one of the greatest baseball players of all time, and in his heyday, he was one of the highest paid athletes and most famous people in the world. Nowadays, he’s the subject of Portable Press’s Show Me History: Babe Ruth, the story of the slugger’s life in graphic novel form. Here are some facts about the “Sultan of Swat.”

While strongly associated with New York because of his time as a Yankees great, Babe Ruth started his career with the Boston Red Sox, and he grew up in Baltimore. His father owned a bar, and the family lived in an apartment above it. Those buildings were later torn down, and the site is now home to Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles.

Before his managers decided to let him focus on his hitting, Ruth was a pitcher…and he was pretty good. He had a win-loss record of 92 and 44, and the lowest (and best) earned run average (2.19) of all left-handed pictures of the time. He set a scoreless innings pitched record over three World Series (29 2/3) that stood until 1961.

Home runs were relatively rare when Babe Ruth came up in the 1910s and 1920s. In 1919, he hit more home runs by himself than all but five major-league teams. 

 In 1927, he became the first player to hit 60 in one season, which represented 14 percent of all home runs hit in the American League. (For a player to do that now, they’d have to hit about 300 dingers.)

There’s a reason why Yankee Stadium was nicknamed “The House That Ruth Built.” Before acquiring Ruth, the team never went to the World Series. When Ruth was with the team, they went seven times and won four times.

His power-hitting prowess was such that many myths surrounding Ruth developed. Have you heard the one about how he hit a ball through a pitcher’s legs that then curved up into the air and over the centerfield fence for a home run? Or how he hit a ball so high that he was able to completely circle the bases before it came back down to earth? Neither are true (as they’re not totally physically possible), but they’re based on truth. In the first story, he hit a ball near a pitcher (who had to jump to dodge it) that then bounced over the head of a centerfielder and into the stands for a ground-rule double. As for the high-hit homer…it was actually a triple.

Two other parts of the Ruth mythology aren’t true either: He didn’t promise a sick boy he’d hit a home run in his honor that day, and he didn’t point to the outfield and “call his shot” before knocking one out of the park.

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