Little Bits of History

Swat

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 11, 2012

Babe Ruth

August 11, 1929: Babe Ruth starts a new club. George Herman Ruth was familiarly known as Babe Ruth, the Bambino, and the Sultan of Swat. He was born February 6, 1895 in a rough section of Baltimore, Maryland. Although there were eight children in the family, only he and one sister (Marnie) survived past infancy. At the age of seven, Ruth was signed over to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory and orphanage. He spent the next twelve years there, although he was able to visit his family on rare occasions. While there, he was introduced to baseball – and tailoring; he became a qualified shirt maker.

In 1913, while playing ball for St. Mary’s, Ruth was noticed by Joe Engel who was an alumni and now a pitcher for the Washington Senators. Jack Dunn, manager of the minor-league Baltimore Orioles, came to watch Ruth pitch. Dunn signed Ruth to a $250 per month contract ($5,500 per month in today’s dollars), beginning in February 1914. Ruth was only 19 and so Dunn became his legal guardian (the age of majority was 25 at the time). The new kid was nicknamed “Jack’s newest babe” and the name stuck.

In July 1914, Dunn attempted to sign Ruth and two other players with the Philadelphia Athletics. His asking price was too high. The Cincinnati Reds also passed on Ruth, but the Boston Red Sox signed him for a disputed amount. Ruth played for the Red Sox until 1919. It was during that time, his emergence as a strong hitter began. He was sold to the New York Yankees in 1919 and played for them from 1920 to 1934.

So what club did the Sultan of Swat start? The 500 Home Run Club. He was the first player to achieve this goal. The next person to join the club was Jimmie Foxx on September 24, 1940. Foxx played for the Boston Red Sox. Gary Sheffield joined on April 17, 2009, the latest to join. Babe Ruth’s career record was 714 home runs which stood until Hank Aaron surpassed it in 1974. Today, Barry Bonds, with 762, is the home run leader.

As soon as I got out there I felt a strange relationship with the pitcher’s mound. It was as if I’d been born out there. Pitching just felt like the most natural thing in the world. Striking out batters was easy.

Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.

The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.

You just can’t beat the person who never gives up. – all from Babe Ruth

Also on this day:

The Rock – In 1934, Alcatraz opens as a federal prison.
Shop Til You Drop – In 1992, the Mall of America opened.
Watts Riots – In 1965, the Watts Riots began.

One Response

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  1. Bobby Dias said, on August 11, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Babe Ruth still has the best home run efficiency record because Barry Bonds had about twice as many games per season in his career. As his own team’s game announcer said: “Barry Bonds is boring to watch”.


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