Babe Ruth Day is an awesome day for baseball lovers and history buffs to unite. This celebration honors one of America’s most beloved sports icons. The day is all about the one, the only, the legendary Babe Ruth.
Babe Ruth was born George Herman Ruth, Jr., on February 6, 1895, in the “Pigtown” neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland, into humble beginnings. His parents, George, Sr., and Katherine, were Maryland natives, first generation American children of German immigrants. The family, including Babe, spoke German at home.
By the time Ruth turned six, his parents owned a saloon on Camden Street in Baltimore, complete with an upstairs apartment. Although many details about why and how are unclear, Ruth was sent to live at a reformatory school and orphanage, Saint Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, by age seven.
The reform school taught the children both academics and trades so they could make their way in life upon graduation. Ruth received training at the school as a shirtmaker and a carpenter, and he was adept at both.
He joined the school’s baseball team at around twelve years old. He played catcher, an unusual position for a left-hander. Brother Matthias, the school’s athletic director, became his mentor and first hitting coach. He continued to play baseball in organized leagues around Baltimore as a teen. He signed with the minor league’s Baltimore Orioles team in 1914. The rest of his story – as they say – is history.
History of Babe Ruth Day
Babe Ruth had a stellar career in Major League Baseball that spanned 22 seasons. During his MLB days, he played for three teams:
- Boston Red Sox from 1914-1919
- New York Yankees from 1920-1924
- Boston Braves in his final season, 1925.
Jack Dunn, then the owner of the Boston Red Sox, called his burgeoning superstar the “Bambino,” or baby, leading to the nickname “Babe.”
Although he was first signed as a pitcher, the coaching staff quickly noticed his remarkable hitting ability. The decision to switch Ruth from pitching and focus instead on developing his slugging skills may have changed baseball forever. It also earned him another new nickname: “The Sultan of Swat.”
His 1920 move to the New York Yankees created a frenzy for the sport. In fact, his following was so large that the city had to build a new stadium to accommodate the fan base. That stadium’s nickname was “The House That Ruth Built.”
During his long career, Ruth racked up numbers nobody had ever seen before, including 714 home runs and ten World Series appearances. He was also among the first five baseball players inaugurated by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
The New York Yankees invited Ruth to a ceremony in his honor on April 27, 1947, shortly after he received the devastating diagnosis of an inoperable type of throat cancer. Although he was unwell, Ruth attended the event that honored his athletic prowess and impact on his sport.
Ruth passed away in New York City on August 16, 1948, at New York Memorial Hospital (today’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center).
How to Celebrate Babe Ruth Day
Celebrating Babe Ruth Day is a must for any baseball enthusiast. Here are some ways to honor Ruth’s enduring legacy:
Seriously – can anyone think of a better way to celebrate Babe Ruth Day than by playing the sport he loved? Invite a group of friends for a game at the local park. If there are not enough players, play a quick round of catch with a few friends. Playing anything baseball-related is a great way to connect with the sport and feel like a part of Babe Ruth’s world.
Visit a Baseball Museum or Hall of Fame
Ready for a road trip? Coopertown, New York’s National Baseball Hall of Fame is an awe-inspiring place to celebrate Babe Ruth Day. Informative exhibits will educate more about America’s Pastime and pay tributes to the best MLB players through the ages. The Baseball Hall of Fame also has extensive memorabilia and stories about Babe Ruth’s life and career.
Watch Baseball Movies and Documentaries
For those who’d rather celebrate the occasion at home, it’s a great day to sit back, relax and learn more. There are so many excellent films and documentaries about Babe Ruth and the era of baseball he dominated. Watching these films can provide tremendous insight into his life. Not to mention, many of these movies document how he changed the sport.
Read More About Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth led a fascinating and colorful life. All the bookworms out there can find a wealth of literature about the legend of Babe Ruth. From biographies to books focusing on the highlights of his career, there’s much to learn about the man behind the legend.
Babe Ruth Day is not just about the records set by this iconic baseball player. The day or celebration also honors his charisma and talents, which brought new excitement and power to the sport. Some may argue that this larger-than-life personality transformed baseball into America’s Pastime.