Biography of Babe Ruth - History

Babe Ruth

1895- 1948

American Athlete

George Herman "Babe" Ruth Jr was born on February 6, 1895, in Baltimore Maryland. As a youngster Ruth learned to be a shirtmaker. Ruth went to school at St Mary, a Catholic school where he played on the baseball team. He became known for his pitching. In 1914 he signed a baseball contract with the minor league Baltimore Orioles. He quickly became a star pitcher, but the team itself was in trouble and Ruth was sold to the Boston Red Sox in 1914. There he became a star. He was sold to the New York Yankees in 1919 for reasons that have remained mysterious to this day.

"The Sultan of Swat," Babe Ruth was the most charismatic and perhaps the greatest player in baseball history. As a New York Yankee, Ruth was the key component of the legendary "Murderer's Row" that helped the team dominate baseball for years. Ruth's lifetime total of 714 homeruns stood as a record until 1974, when Hank Aaron finally surpassed him. Though Ruth was a pitcher at the beginning of his career, his incredible talent as a hitter was quickly recognized.

Ruth was the second person inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Yankee Stadium, the site of so many Ruth triumphs, will be forever remembered as "the house that Ruth built."


Babe: The Legend Comes to Life

Biography of Babe Ruth, Home Run King

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    Babe Ruth (February 6, 1895–August 16, 1948) is often referred to as the greatest baseball player who ever lived. In 22 seasons, Ruth hit a record 714 home runs. Many of his numerous records for both pitching and hitting lasted for decades.

    Ruth won many honors during and after his baseball career, including being named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team and the Major League Baseball All-Time Team. In 1936, Ruth was among the first five inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    Fast Facts: Babe Ruth

    • Known For: Member of the New York Yankees who became the "Home Run King"
    • Also Known As: George Herman Ruth Jr., Sultan of Swat, the Home Run King, Bambino, the Babe
    • Born: February 6, 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland
    • Parents: Katherine (Schamberger), George Herman Ruth Sr.
    • Died: August 16, 1948 in Manhattan, New York
    • Published Works: Playing the Game: My Early Years in Baseball, The Babe Ruth Story, Babe Ruth's Own Book of Baseball
    • Awards and Honors: Monument Park honoree (plaque at open-air museum at Yankee Stadium), Major League Baseball All-Century Team, Major League Baseball All-Time Team, Major League Baseball Hall of Fame
    • Spouses: Helen Woodford (m. 1914–1929), Claire Merritt Hodgson (m. April 17, 1929–August 16, 1948)
    • Children: Dorothy
    • Notable Quote: “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”

    On June 2, 1935, Babe Ruth, one of the greatest players in the history of baseball, ends his Major League playing career after 22 seasons, 10 World Series and 714 home runs. The following year, Ruth, a larger-than-life figure whose name became synonymous with baseball, was one of . read more

    On October 6, 1926, Yankee slugger Babe Ruth hits a record three homers against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth game of the World Series. The Yanks won the game 10-5, but despite Ruth’s unprecedented performance, they lost the championship in the seventh game. In 1928, in . read more

    Becomes legend with the Yankees

    In 1920 Babe Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees for one hundred thousand dollars and a three hundred fifty thousand dollar loan. This was a huge event which increased his popularity. In New York his achievements and personality made him a national celebrity. Off the field he enjoyed eating, drinking, and spending or giving away his money outright he earned and spent thousands of dollars. By 1930 he was paid eighty thousand dollars for a season, a huge sum for that time, and his endorsement income (money received in return for public support of certain companies' products) usually added up to be more than his baseball salary.

    Ruth led the Yankees to seven American League championships and four World Series titles. He led the league in home runs many times, and the 60 he hit in 1927 set a record for the 154-game season. (Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in a 162-game season in 1961.) Ruth's lifetime total of 714 home runs is second only to the 755 hit by Hank Aaron (1934–). With a .342 lifetime batting average for 22 seasons of play, many consider Babe Ruth the game's greatest player.

    When Ruth's career ended in 1935, he had hoped to become a major league manager, but his reputation for being out of control made teams afraid to hire him. In 1946 he became head of the Ford Motor Company's junior baseball program. He died in New York City on August 16, 1948.

    Later life and legacy of Babe Ruth

    In 1936 sportswriters honoured Ruth by selecting him as one of five charter members to the newly established Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Ruth was a hopeless spendthrift, but, fortunately for him, in 1921 he met and employed Christy Walsh, a sports cartoonist-turned-agent. Walsh not only obtained huge contracts for Ruth’s endorsement of products but also managed his finances so that Ruth lived comfortably during retirement. During his final years Ruth frequently played golf and made numerous personal appearances on behalf of products and causes but missed being actively involved in baseball. Still, he maintained his popularity with the American public after his death from throat cancer, at least 75,000 people viewed his body in Yankee Stadium, and some 75,000 attended his funeral service (both inside and outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral).

    Ruth was a major figure in revolutionizing America’s national game. While the frequent claim that his feats single-handedly saved the game from a massive public disillusionment that might have otherwise accompanied the Black Sox Scandal of 1919 is an exaggeration, his home-run hitting did revitalize the sport. Prior to Ruth, teams had focused on what they called “scientific” or “inside” baseball—a complicated strategy of employing singles, sacrifices, hit-and-run plays, and stolen bases in order to score one run at a time. But Ruth seemed to make such tactics obsolete with one mighty swat, he could clear the bases. While no other player in his day compared to Ruth in the ability to hit home runs, soon other players were also swinging harder and more freely. Indeed, Ruth helped to introduce an offensive revolution in baseball. In the 1920s batting averages, home runs, and runs scored soared to new heights. Ruth was also to a large extent responsible for manning the great Yankee dynasty of the 1920s and early 1930s. Between 1921 and 1932 the Yankees won seven pennants and four World Series.

    In the 1920s, a decade that produced a galaxy of sports celebrities such as Red Grange in gridiron football and Jack Dempsey in prizefighting, no figure from the world of sport exceeded the public appeal of Ruth. “He has become a national curiosity,” reported The New York Times as early as 1920, “and the sightseeing Pilgrims who daily flock into Manhattan are as anxious to rest eyes on him as they are to see the Woolworth Building.” Each morning men and boys across the United States unfolded their newspapers to see if Ruth had hit yet another home run. Notorious for his enormous appetites for all things of the flesh, Ruth seemed to represent a new era in American history, a time when men and women were freer than they had been in the past to enjoy themselves. He embodied a new model of success. In an increasingly complex world of assembly lines and bureaucracies, Ruth, like other celebrities of the day, leapt to fame and fortune by his sheer natural talents and personal charisma rather than by hard work and self-control. The very words “Ruth” and “Ruthian” entered the American lexicon as benchmarks to describe outstanding performers and performances in all fields of human endeavour. As with no other sports figure in American history except perhaps Muhammad Ali, Ruth continued long after his playing career ended to occupy a towering place in America’s imagination.

    Babe Ruth

    George Herman Ruth, known to the world as "Babe Ruth," was the first sports superstar. He might have become baseball's greatest left-handed pitcher. Instead, he moved to the outfield and became its greatest hitter. After leading the Boston Red Sox to two World Series victories, he was traded to the New York Yankees following the 1918 season. The Yankees, who had never won a pennant before, became perennial American League and World Series champions. The Red Sox did not win another World Series until 2004. Ruth was born on February 6, 1895, in Baltimore. His parents had eight children, but only one other, his sister Mamie, survived infancy. While his parents worked in the tavern they owned, Ruth spent much of his time on his own and got into trouble frequently. Unable to control their son's behavior, Ruth's parents placed him in St. Mary's Industrial School at the age of seven. Ruth hated the regimented discipline of the school, but he learned the game of baseball. By the age of 15, he was playing both catcher and pitcher for St Mary's vasity team. At the age of 19, Ruth was spotted by Jack Dunn, owner of the Baltimore Orioles of the International League, who signed him to his first professional contract. Ruth's parents had given custody of the boy to the Jesuits at the time he enrolled at St. Mary's, where he was supposed to remain until he turned 21. To complete the contract and remove him from the school, Dunn was forced to adopt him. This led to Ruth's being described as Dunn's "baby," which became "Babe," the nickname the stayed with him for the rest of his life. Ruth spent only five months with the Orioles before he was sold to the Boston Red Sox. During three seasons in Boston, Ruth was primarily a pitcher. In his first World Series, he pitched 29 2/3rds scoreless innings, breaking Christy Mathewson's record and setting a mark that would stand for 43 years. The Red Sox won the World Series that year and again in 1918. In three regular seasons, Ruth had compiled a record of 94 wins and 46 losses, but despite his stellar performance as a pitcher, he was already developing a greater reputation as a hitter. He played some outfield and some first base during the 1918 season. Playing exclusively outfield for the first time in 1919, he set the major league record with 29 home runs, but the Red Sox finished far behind in the pennant race. Following the 1919 season, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Ruth to the New York Yankees to raise money for his Broadway theatrical productions. The sale price of $125,000 was more than double what any team had paid for any baseball player prior to that time, but it would prove to be one of the worst business decisions in history. Prior to the trade, the Red Sox had won five of the modern, post-1903, World Series. The Yankees had never appeared in one, let alone won one. It took the Red Sox until 2004 to win their sixth World Series. With Ruth, the Yankees won their first pennant in 1921, won another in 1922, and their first World Series in 1923. In 1920, the Yankees became the first team in baseball history to attract a million paying fans to its stadium, the Polo Grounds, which they shared with the New York Giants. When Yankee Stadium was opened in 1923, it became known, with good reason, as "The House that Ruth Built." After several spectacular years, Ruth had health problems in 1925 and his home run output declined to 25. Some people began to suggest that Babe was past his prime, but Ruth returned to form in 1926 and in 1927 set a single season home run record of 60 that would not be topped until Roger Maris hit 61 in 1961, in a season that was eight games longer. In 1930, Ruth was earning a salary of $80,000 a year, a spectacular number in that era. A reporter suggested that perhaps he was overpaid, since Herbert Hoover was only getting $75,000 as president of the United States. Ruth is reported to have replied, "Why not? I had a better year than he did." There have been several reported variations of the statement. In game three of the 1932 World Series against the Chicago Cubs, Babe was batting in the fifth inning. After pitcher Charlie Root took him to a count of two strikes and two balls, he appeared to point to center field and to shout something at Root. He hit the next pitch about 500 feet into the stands behind center field, the longest home run ever hit at Wrigley Field. Ruth wanted to manage a major league team following his career, but the opportunity never arrived. His production began to fall off and he ended his career with the Boston Braves in 1935. At the time of his retirement, his regular season record of 714 home runs was hundreds ahead of his closest competitor and would not be exceeded until Hank Aaron hit his 715th in 1974. His lifetime slugging average of .690 has never been approached. When the Baseball Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 1936, Ruth was one of its first six inductees. After baseball, Ruth lived a quiet life with his second wife Claire. He had married his first wife, Helen, in 1914 when she was a 17-year-old waitress. The couple had separated by 1926 and the marriage ended tragically when Helen died in an apartment fire in January 1929. Ruth married Claire within three months they remained together until his death. During the fall of 1946, Ruth was diagnosed with a malignant tumor on his neck. His health began to decline quickly. Baseball fans honored him on April 27, 1947, which was declared Babe Ruth Day for every organized baseball league in the United States. His jersey number 3 was retired at his last appearance at Yankee Stadium on June 13, 1948, which also commemorated the stadium's 25th anniversary. Ruth died on August 16, 1948. More than 100,000 people paid their respects at Yankee Stadium and at his funeral at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

    Joins the New York Yankees

    Following his tremendous 1919 season Ruth sought a salary increase from $10,000 per season to $20,000. Frazee, however, still owed the previous Red Sox owner, Joseph Lannin, money for his purchase of the team, and his credit was no longer as solid as it had been a few years earlier. Frazee, a New York theatrical producer, was also good friends with Colonel Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston, a partner in the Yankees ownership, and when Ruth kept pressuring for more money Frazee decided to sell his star for $100,000 plus a $300,000 loan from the other Yankee owner, Colonel Jacob Ruppert. The collateral on the loan was Fenway Park, where the Red Sox played ball.

    The Babe Ruth story – a snapshot biography

    “I always swing at the ball with all my might. I hit or miss big and when I miss I know it long before the umpire calls a strike on me, for every muscle in my back, shoulders and arms is groaning, ‘You missed it.’ And be­lieve me, it is no fun to miss a ball that hard. Once I put myself out of the game for a few days by a miss like that.”

    He was a man beloved. Talkative, playful, full of energy, people said he was a big kid, the kind of person who never grew up. But, as a baseball player, he was mighty, the best of his time, maybe even the best of all-time.

    Babe Ruth was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1895. A troublemaker as a child, he skipped school, took part in fights, and when his father who owned a saloon wasn’t looking, Babe took swigs of beer. His unruly behavior led his parents to send him to the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, a reform school, at the age of seven.

    At the school Babe found discipline, he found mentorship, and while it’s not entirely clear how he began playing the sport, he found baseball. And in baseball, he found much success. He would go on to stardom in the MLB, playing first for the Red Sox and then for many years with the Yankees, where he set many records, some of which stand today. And for the Yankees, who had never won a title before Babe joined the team, he would lead them to four World Series victories.

    After twenty-two seasons, he retired in 1935. He held 56 Major League Baseball records at retirement, including most home runs in a season and most total home runs.

    Amongst a number of philosophies he had for life, Babe would say, “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.”

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    Three months after Babe Ruth powered the Yankees to a World Series sweep of the Cardinals, he experienced a shocking personal loss and became enmeshed in scandal with the death of his wife.

    On Jan. 11, 1929, Babe’s wife, Helen Ruth, was killed in a house fire in Watertown, Massachusetts, near Boston.

    Helen resided in the house with a dentist, Edward H. Kinder. Helen and Babe were separated, but not divorced. Neighbors knew Helen as Mrs. Kinder, and had no idea she was Babe’s wife. Edward’s family thought Helen was Edward’s wife, but Helen and Edward weren’t married.

    Helen was alone in the house when the fire started, and though authorities determined the fire and Helen’s death were accidental, the tragedy created suspicion and revealed stunning secrets about Babe and his wife.

    Babe made his major-league debut as a pitcher for the Red Sox in July 1914. He rented a hotel room in Boston and frequently took his meals at a luncheonette around the corner. Helen Woodford was a waitress there and she and Babe connected.

    Three months later, on Oct. 17, 1914, Babe, 19, and Helen, 16, were married by Rev. Thomas S. Dolan in St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Ellicott City, Maryland, near where Babe had attended boarding school.

    Babe and Helen got an apartment in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood and lived there until 1919 when they bought a 16-room house in Sudbury, Massachusetts, according to the Boston Globe.

    In December 1919, the Red Sox sold Babe’s contract to the Yankees. Babe and Helen lived in an eight-room hotel suite in Manhattan during the baseball seasons and returned to their Sudbury estate in the winters.

    In September 1922, Babe and Helen surprised the Yankees when they brought a 15-month-old girl named Dorothy to the Polo Grounds and introduced her as their daughter. “Not even his closest friend on the team had suspected Ruth was a father,” the Boston Globe reported.

    Dorothy was raised to believe Helen was her biological mother. Years later, it was learned Babe and Helen adopted Dorothy in 1921. In a book she wrote, Dorothy revealed she discovered at age 59 in 1980 her biological mother was Juanita Jennings, a woman who had an affair with Babe in 1920. As a youth, Dorothy knew Juanita as “Aunt Nita,” a family friend.

    Keeping up appearances

    In 1923, Babe met Claire Hodgson, daughter of a Georgia attorney who did legal work for Ty Cobb. Claire and her daughter Julia moved to New York after Claire’s husband died in 1921 and she launched a career as a model and Broadway chorus line performer. Babe became a frequent visitor to Claire’s Manhattan apartment, the New York Daily News reported.

    By August 1925, Helen and Dorothy went to live fulltime at the house in Sudbury and Babe remained in New York year-round.

    In 1927, Helen moved into the Watertown house of dentist Edward Kinder. Helen and Edward had known one another since childhood and their families lived in the same South Boston neighborhood, according to the New York Daily News. Edward was a World War I veteran, graduated from Tufts dental school in 1924 and established a practice in Boston.

    Neighbors said Helen was known to them as Mrs. Kinder and Dorothy went by the name of Dorothy Kinder. Edward’s brother William said the Kinder family was under the impression Edward and Helen were married in Montreal in 1927, the Boston Globe reported. The 1928 Watertown city directory listed: “Kinder, Edward H. (Helen M.), dentist.”

    Tragic night

    During the separation from his wife, Babe hit a record 60 home runs for the Yankees in 1927 and batted .625 versus the Cardinals in the 1928 World Series.

    On Friday night, Jan. 11, 1929, Edward Kinder went to the boxing matches at Boston Garden. Seven-year-old Dorothy was at a Catholic boarding school in nearby Wellesley, Massachusetts. Helen settled in for the night at the Watertown house. She turned on the radio, took sleeping pills and fell asleep in a second-floor bedroom.

    About 10 p.m., a passerby saw smoke seeping from windows. When firefighters arrived, flames had reached the second story. Helen was found dead on the bedroom floor. Because of the sleeping pills, she wasn’t awakened by the smoke and flames until it was too late, the New York Daily News reported.

    Helen’s body was taken to a hospital and then to undertakers. Edward was paged at Boston Garden and told by telephone a woman died in a fire in his house, detectives said. “She is my wife. Her name is Helen Kinder,” Edward told medical examiner George West, the Boston Globe reported.

    West did an autopsy, but his examination was limited because the corpse had been embalmed by undertakers. In his report to district attorney Robert Bushnell, West determined “there was no indication of violence and the condition of the body was consistent with a theory of death from suffocation in a fire,” the Boston Globe reported.

    The state fire inspector filed a report, saying the fire was caused by overloaded electrical wires and there were traces of amateur repair work where wires had been fixed but not soldered, leaving the chance for a short-circuit and fire, according to the Boston Globe.

    Bushnell concluded there was no evidence of anything criminal in the case and Helen’s body was released to Edward for burial. Based on Edward’s remarks, West prepared a death certificate identifying the deceased as Helen Kinder.

    Edward, who spent the weekend in seclusion at the home of his parents in South Boston, arranged to have Helen buried on Sunday, Jan. 13, in the Kinder family plot at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.

    Mistaken identity

    In reading newspaper accounts of the fire, Helen’s relatives recognized published pictures of the victim as Helen Ruth and notified police, who put a halt to the burial plans, according to the New York Daily News.

    Babe was contacted in New York and arrived in Boston by train on Jan. 13. “My wife and I have not lived together for the last three years,” Babe told reporters. “During that time, I have seldom met her. I have done all that I can to comply with her wishes. Her death is a great shock to me.”

    The next day, Monday, Jan. 14, Edward Kinder, accompanied by an attorney, arrived at the Watertown police station and was questioned by a group led by police chief John Millmore. Edward told the police he and Helen weren’t married and claimed he never tried to convey to anyone Helen was his wife. When asked about telling the medical examiner the victim was Helen Kinder, Edward denied making the statement and later said he didn’t remember, the Boston Globe reported.

    Police said they were satisfied with Edward’s explanations.

    Helen’s mother, sisters and brothers, however, demanded a more thorough investigation. The family was suspicious of both Babe and Edward _ and for different reasons.

    Motive for murder?

    Helen’s sister, Norma Woodford, revealed she accompanied Helen to a meeting with Babe on Dec. 10, 1928, at Yankees headquarters, the New York Daily News reported. Norma said Babe asked Helen for a divorce so he could marry Claire Hodgson. When Helen demanded $100,000, Babe said no and stormed out of the meeting.

    A month later, Helen was dead.

    Meanwhile, federal narcotics agents were looking into reports Edward supplied Helen with opium, according to the New York Daily News. Helen’s family, including a brother, Thomas Woodford, a former Boston policeman, suggested Helen was drugged with opium and the house deliberately was set on fire.

    In an effort to resolve the matter, district attorney Bushnell ordered a second autopsy and brought in an expert pathologist, George Magrath, and a team from Harvard.

    Meanwhile, Babe met reporters in his suite at the Hotel Brunswick in Boston. With “red-rimmed eyes” and “quivering chin,” Babe spoke in “trembling tones” about the grief he felt, the Boston Globe reported.

    “His great chest rose and fell, he gulped audibly and his eyes filled as he dabbed at them with his big hands,” according to the Boston Globe. “For fully five minutes, he struggled for control of his feelings and emotions.”

    Rest in peace

    On Jan. 16, the results of the second autopsy confirmed Helen’s death was by suffocation from a fire and there were no signs of foul play.

    Also, narcotics agents came up empty in their search for opium at Edward’s office and found no evidence Helen was prescribed opiates. In addition, Ellis Dennis, a state electrical examiner, confirmed the fire started in a partition on the first floor near a wall receptacle. Dennis said original wiring in the house was excellent, but additional wiring installed later was of “a faulty and amateurish sort,” placing too great a load on the circuit wires and receptacle, the Boston Globe reported.

    The district attorney declared the investigations closed and released Helen’s remains to the family.

    A seven-minute funeral service was held at the home of Helen’s mother on Jan. 17, followed by burial at Old Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Babe was present at the service and the burial Edward did not attend either.

    At the cemetery, “tears streamed down the Babe’s tanned cheeks as he saw the body of his wife lowered to its grave,” the New York Daily News reported. “Unmindful of the snow which fell from a gray sky, the Babe, hat clutched in his huge hand, stood among his wife’s relatives, sobbing.”

    After the funeral, Babe returned to New York with his daughter Dorothy.

    Three months later, on April 17, 1929, Babe and Claire married. The next day, the Yankees opened the season at home against the Red Sox. In his first at-bat, Babe hit a home run. Boxscore

    Ruth’s Childhood

    It’s 1895. In this year, the x-ray form of radiation is discovered. Alfred Nobel creates his last will and testament that will establish and fund the “Nobel Prize” upon his death the following year. Frederick Douglass, the ex-slave and author, and Louis Pasteur, the French microbiologist, die. J. Edgar Hoover (who will become FBI Director), Bud Abbott and Buster Keaton (both actors) are born. And, on Wednesday, February 6, 1895, so is a baby boy born to working-class parents in a brick row house in Baltimore, MD.This baby boy is George Herman Ruth, Jr., who will later become known as “Babe” Ruth – one of the greatest professional athletes of all time. The house is at 216 Emory Street, which will later become the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum – a shrine to this baseball great.

    George Jr. was the son of George Herman, a saloon keeper of German descent, and Kate, a mother with an Irish and German background. George Sr. and Kate had a total of eight children, although only George Jr. and his sister, Mamie, survived childhood. The Ruths were hardworking people. George Sr. was employed as a bartender at a local tavern and Kate also worked there. The hours were long and the work was hard. It did not leave much time for the family and raising the children.

    And, George Jr. was considered to be an “incorrigible” kid, making it even harder for his time-strapped parents to properly raise their son. By age 7, George Jr. was running around the streets of the neighborhood, called “Ridgely’s Delight”, between the docks of the central harbor and the terminals of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad. It was in these streets that young, George Jr., got himself into constant trouble, picking up some of his behavior from the dockyard workers. He was said to throw tomatoes at police officers. He was said to roughhouse and get into some minor fights. He was said to be caught chewing tobacco and occasionally drinking. In general, he was a child, lacking the supervision and discipline from adults, who didn’t know better.

    But at age 7, that all changed. Recognizing that they did not have the time, or maybe also the ability, to control their trouble-making son, his parents made a difficult decision. They determined that George Jr. needed a stricter environment and more direction. They sought that from the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, also in Baltimore, where they sent George Jr. in 1902.

    Although only a few miles away from the row house where George Jr. was born and the neighborhood in which he roamed, St. Mary’s School was a world apart from his former surroundings. The school was run by Xaverian Brothers- a brotherhood of lay men who take religious vows, but are not ordained. It was part orphanage, part trade school and, even, part reform school. The rules were strict and the Brothers enforced discipline. They also taught vocations to their students and encouraged participation in sports.

    It was only discovered more recently, that Babe actually suffered from ADHD (attention deficit disorder), which contributed to Babe’s wild, hyperactive nature – both in childhood and at times as an adult. It is also believed that Babe’s ADHD was a factor in his excellent baseball skills. ADHD generally limits one’s focus however, when the mind is completely engaged in a particular subject or skill, ADHD can actually enhance that skill. Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and Mozart are some other significant figures whose ADHD actually increased their level of ability in their field of expertise.

    Being sent away to St. Mary’s by his parents would ultimately have a significant impact on Babe’s future personality. And, in this very different setting, George Jr.’s life began to dramatically change. It was where Babe was introduced to two of the most important influences in his life: his mentor, Brother Mathias, and his key to greatness, baseball.

    Brother Mathias was one of the brothers at St. Mary’s who quickly took a liking to George. Brother Mathias was one of the school’s disciplinarians, yet he was the closest thing to a father figure for George while he living at St. Mary’s.

    Brother Mathias was stern, but kind. Most importantly, he was George Jr.’s primary source for attention and confidence while growing up in the orphanage.

    St. Mary’s had multiple Baseball leagues, broken out by age groups, and George Jr. was instantly drawn to the game. Several of the monks, including Brother Gilbert, taught Babe the finer points of baseball, although Brother Mathias was his first and favorite instructor of the game. In Julia Ruth Stevens’ words: “I think a lot of Babe’s good coordination came from when he lived at St. Mary’s and played baseball with Brother Mathias. He took a great interest in Daddy and Daddy loved Brother Mathias. He was the one that introduced Babe to Baseball and showed him what the game was all about. Daddy did, he really did love Brother Mathias.”

    To hear a little bit more about the special relationship Babe had with Brother Mathias, please visit Julia Ruth Stevens’ interview in the Audio Interviews section.

    Babe later attributed his good fielding abilities to Mathias, who worked frequently with him, playing catch and hitting lobs and fungoes to George. The two of them worked for hours at a time, honing Babe’s skills. Mathias can also be attributed with turning George into a pitcher. It was said that, one day, George was teasing his team’s pitcher, when this pitcher was having a bad day at the mound. Brother Mathias responded by putting George into the game as a reliever for the teammate that he had just been taunting. George went in and pitched a great game. After that, he quickly became a regular pitcher.

    It was as a pitcher, that George was first discovered by a professional baseball team in 1914. Jack Dunn was owner of the minor league Baltimore Orioles, and was considered by many to be a good scout for promising potential Major League players. He had heard through the grapevine about an 18-year-old by the name of George Ruth, who was part of a traveling team for St. Mary’s Industrial, and was a dominant pitcher in his league. After George was scouted by the Orioles, it wasn’t long before Ruth was signed to play.

    In order for Ruth to play with the team, however, Jack Dunn needed to sign for him and become his legal guardian (at the time it was required for a minor to have a legal guardian until the age of 21). And so, George became a Baltimore Oriole, with Jack Dunn as his trustee.

    Given that Ruth had spent most of his formative years – from age 7 to age 18 — behind the protective walls of St. Mary’s, it was at first overwhelming for George to suddenly be on the outside in the real world. As such and as the youngest member of the Orioles team, he tended to tag-along with his new guardian Dunn. Legend has it that, when Babe walked to the pitcher’s mound for the first time in Spring Training, with Dunn at his side, one of his new teammates shouted “Look at Dunnie and his new babe.” Yet, however it actually happened, George quickly became known to the other Orioles as “Jack’s babe” and, ultimately, the nickname stuck. George became most popularly known as Babe Ruth.

    Watch the video: Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend (January 2022).