The Sarasota – Baltimore Connection! Babe Ruth, A Baltimore Oriole?
Huh?? Ruth played for the Red Sox and then hit homers for the Yankees. Yep he did — and was a Baltimore Oriole before! George Herman Ruth, of Lithuanian heritage, was born in the Baltimore neighborhood of Pigtown February 6, 1895. Babe’s mother did not want him born in her apartment, because it was above a Pub owned by his father.
And so, Babe was born in his grandmother’s house. He weighed 5 lbs. At age of 7, his father sent him to St. Mark’s Industrial school run by Franciscan Monks. Mathias Boutlier, the school disciplinarian, taught the Sultan of Swat to play baseball, all positions.
At age of 15, Ruth was signed by owner/manager John Dunn of the Baltimore Orioles, one of the three oldest professional baseball teams. He played on Dunn’s minor International League team. Since he was so much younger than most all of the players, they nicknamed him ‘Babe’. Ruth played primarily as a sidearm left-handed pitcher for the Orioles for less than a year. The minor league team folded, and Ruth was sold for $25,000 dollars, with two other players, to the Boston Red Sox. The Babe pitched for them with great success—over 23 wins each in 2 years. Many have said he would have been one of the greatest lefties of all time. And the BAMbino also hit home runs, with bats weighing over 50 ounces, in a ‘dead ball era’. Today, after the Ted Williams era, bats are 35 ounces at most.
Harry Frazee, owner of the Red Sox and a theatre entrepreneur, sold Ruth in 1919 to the NY Yankees for $100,000 dollars—the equivalent to about $1.5 million today. Frazee supposedly wanted proceeds from the sale to invest in the Broadway production, “No, No Nanette,” featuring his favorite lady as lead actress. Thus, began the 86 year ‘Curse of the Bambino’ of the Red Sox, ended in 2004.
Coffee table trivia bets? Ruth hit most all of his 714 home runs for the NY Yankees. When and where did he hit the last 3? Babe Ruth had wanted to manage at the end of his career, but no American League Club was interested, so he signed on with the Boston Braves of the National League, as a player. On May the 25th 1935, at Ebbets Field, Pittsburg, the Babe went 4 for 4 hitting 3 home runs, the last in the seventh inning. His last home run cleared the stadium, the only one ever to do so. Sitting on the bench after, Ruth said to a teammate, “Boy, that last one felt Good.” Ruth was out of baseball a week later.
At his height of his popularity the Babe made approximately $10,000 a year. He was very supportive of our troops in WWII, and the Japanese insult during that War was “To Hell with Babe Ruth”. He was one of the 5 original inductees of the Hall of Fame. The Babe Ruth Candy Bar is also the Official Major League candy.
The ‘Babe’ was a lifelong Baltimorean, even in his many exploits. Today, the Right Field grass of the Orioles Baseball Stadium at Camden Yards, reportedly stands on the former site of the pub owned by Babe’s father and the apartment above it where Babe grew up.
About Paul-Allan Louis
Paul-Allan Louis is a Custom Guide and Museum Historian in Baltimore. Formerly, an Information Processer (Computer Analyst/Engineer?) for the Government and Military, he is currently finishing a book on Baltimore’s Historic Cultural Journeys.
A lifelong Yankee fan (Shhhh…) he sleeps with his baseball memorabilia. Knowing Florida from the days with Grandparents in Tampa, he is continually involved in today’s sports, world events, and enjoyable trivia.
A father of five wonderful children, he is a country boy brought to the historic city. Gregarious, vivacious, he is (attempts to be…) a voice of cultural perspective on our modern fast lifestyle.
A country boy, he attempts to bring perspective to the Charm City Baltimore through understanding of the heritage of American sports. Traveling, he has decided to roost in the country and live in the city of Charm.
Tall with tight pants he strives to express interesting truths in facts interpreted.
Photo by Paul-Allen Louis