Baseball player. Born George Herman Ruth, Jr., on February 6, 1895, in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the first of eight children born to Kate and George Herman Ruth, Sr. Most of the Ruth children died in infancy and only George Jr. and his sister Mamie survived to maturity. Little George, as he was called, grew up in a poor waterfront neighborhood in Baltimore, where he lived above the family saloon.
In 1902, the Ruth’s sent their son away to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, which was both a reformatory and an orphanage. Ruth developed a love for sports, particularly baseball, which served as his escape from the strict environment at St Mary’s. From an early age he showed potential as an athlete, and in his late teens he had developed into a professional candidate. His tough southpaw pitching attracted Jack Dunn, manager of the minor league Baltimore Orioles. In 1914, the Orioles signed Ruth to his first professional baseball contract. He became the team’s youngest member, and was befittingly nicknamed “Babe.”
Within five months, 19-year-old Ruth graduated to the major leagues, and signed with the Boston Red Sox. He remained with the team for six seasons, alternating positions as pitcher and outfielder. With his great pitching, powerful bat, and winning personality, he was quickly on his way to greatness, overshadowing players like Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner.
After a controversy revealed that the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the 1919 World Series, the sport of baseball was in need of a hero. The scandal had shaken the public’s faith in the game. However, in 1919, while still a part-time pitcher for the Red Sox, Ruth made his home-run assault on the record books. His 25th home run that year shattered the modern major league record held by the now forgotten Gabby Kraveth. By the end of the year, Ruth’s record was an unprecedented 29 home runs, and he was credited with reviving faith in the game.
In December of 1919, the Boston Red Sox sold the invaluable player to New York Yankee owner Colonel Jacob Ruppert. Ruppert bought Ruth’s contract for over $100,000, which was a staggering price at the time. In 1920, Ruth joined the Yankees, who as yet had never won a pennant. For years they played in the shadow of the New York Giants. Without a baseball park to call their own, the Yankees were forced to hold their games at the Giants’ Polo Grounds.
Ruth started as a full-time outfielder, hitting 54 home runs his first year with the Yankees. Shortly after, he became baseball’s preeminent player, and such a drawing card that New York built a new stadium for the crowds he was attracting. Yankee Stadium had its opening day on April 4, 1923, with a total attendance of 74,000. The stadium became known as “The House That Ruth Built,” and the period became known as the Golden Age of Baseball. On opening day, Ruth made the first home run in Yankee Stadium history.
Ruth's slugging percentages in 1920 and 1921 were .847...