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99 Cool Facts About Babe Ruth

 

Babe Ruth Courtesy of National Baseball Hall of Fame

 

Babe Ruth played his first major league game 99 years ago this week, on July 11, 1914. To mark the occasion, here are 99 things you may not know about the greatest player in baseball history, presented in chronological order, as well as a few myths that have been debunked.

Growing Up

1. His real name was George Herman Ruth, as was his father’s. He is the only player with that last name in major league history.

2. His birth date is now widely accepted as Feb. 6, 1895, but Ruth lived his entire life convinced that he was born on Feb. 7, 1894. The birth certificate with that date was for an unnamed male child in the Ruth family. Ruth’s parents lost six children in infancy, including two pairs of twins, with only George and his sister Mary Margaret, known as Mamie, surviving.

3. Ruth lived for a time on the site of what is now Oriole Park at Camden Yards, above one of his father’s string of saloons.

4. Before he turned eight, Ruth had already chewed tobacco and drank whiskey for the first time. He was sent to live at St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, a Catholic reform school, and listed as incorrigible.

5. Each boy was supposed to learn a trade for a possible career. Ruth’s was to be a shirt maker.

6. Ruth was still living at St. Mary’s when he signed with the Baltimore Orioles of the International League in Feb. 1914. He would be in the major leagues less than five months later.

Early Years in Baseball

7. He hit his first professional home run on March 7, 1914, in Fayetteville, N.C., during an intrasquad game in which he played shortstop.

8. It was while with the Orioles, a veteran team populated by numerous former major leaguers, that Ruth was given his famous nickname. No one knows who first called him Babe.

9. The Orioles sold Ruth to the Boston Red Sox on July 9, 1914 along with two other players as part of a fire sale by team owner Jack Dunn, who found himself in financial straits when the presence of a Baltimore franchise in the new Federal League obliterated the Orioles’ attendance.

10. Ruth made his major league debut at Fenway Park on July 11, 1914 as a starting pitcher. He pitched seven innings for the win but was 0-for-2 for at the plate, striking out against Cleveland lefty Willie Mitchell in his first major league at-bat.

11. Ruth’s first official professional home run came on Sept. 5, 1914 for the Providence Grays of the International League, where he had been sent by the Red Sox for more seasoning the month before.

12. Ruth’s first major league hit was a double off the Yankees’ Leonard Cole at Fenway Park on Oct. 2, 1914 in a game he started and won.

13. On Oct. 17, 1914, less than two weeks after his rookie season ended, Ruth married Helen Woodford, a 16-year-old coffee shop waitress he had met on his first day in Boston.

14. Ruth was a sidearming power pitcher who made 127 appearances on the mound before appearing at any other position in the field.

 

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15. In Ken Burns' documentary Baseball, noted journalist and author Dan Okrent said Ruth was “the best lefthanded pitcher of the 1910s, without question, in the American League.” Indeed, among AL lefties with at least 1,000 IP in the decade, Ruth had the lowest ERA (2.19) and highest winning percentage (.659) while ranking fourth in wins, tied for fourth in shutouts and ninth in strikeouts.

16. In 1916, he went 23-12 and led the American League with nine shutouts and a 1.75 ERA in 323 2/3 innings.

17. In 1917, he went 24-13 with a 2.01 ERA in 326 1/3 innings and led the AL with 35 complete games.

18. In six seasons with Ruth, the Red Sox won three World Series titles. In 107 seasons without him they have won four.

19. Ruth’s first World Series appearance came in 1915. He grounded out to first base as a pinch-hitter and did not pitch in Boston’s five-game win over the Phillies.

20. In Game 2 of the 1916 World Series, Ruth pitched 14-inning complete game to beat the Dodgers 2-1. It is still the most innings ever thrown by one pitcher in a single postseason game.

21. Ruth posted a 0.87 ERA in three World Series starts and his record of 29 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in the Fall Classic stood from 1918 until Whitey Ford broke it in 1961.

22. On June 23, 1917 at Fenway Park, Ruth was ejected by home plate umpire Brick Owens for arguing balls and strikes after walking the first batter of a game against the Senators. Ernie Shore replaced him. The baserunner, Senators second baseman Ray Morgan, was caught stealing, and Shore then retired all 26 men he faced in a 4-0 Red Sox win. Officially, Ruth is credited for participating in a combined no-hitter, but Shore is not credited with pitching a perfect game.

23. Ruth’s first major league home run came against the Yankees at the Polo Grounds on May 6, 1915. Exactly three years later, in the same ballpark, Ruth hit a home run in his first start at a position (1B) other than pitcher.

24. Soon after that first appearance as a position player, Ruth began to refuse to pitch, leading to tension with Red Sox manager Ed Barrow. In early July, Ruth attempted to leave the team and join a shipyard team in Chester, Pa., to avoid a fine from Barrow. Ruth quickly caved to the threat of legal action by Red Sox owner Harry Frazee and rejoined the Red Sox without playing for the shipyard team.

25. Ruth led the American League in home runs for the first time in 1918, tying the A’s Tillie Walker with 11 in the war-shortened season. He also led the league in strikeouts (58), slugging (.555) and OPS (.966).

26. Ruth is the only player since the turn of the 20th century to lead his league in Triple Crown categories as both a hitter and a pitcher and he did it in the span of three years.

27. Ruth held out in spring training in 1919, ultimately landing a three-year contract worth $10,000. He threatened a hold out again after the 1919 season, saying he was worth twice the salary he had agreed to before that season. Frazee, still in debt from his purchase of the Red Sox three years earlier, responded by selling Ruth to the Yankees on Jan. 3, 1920, for $100,000 and a $300,000 loan secured by a mortgage on Fenway Park.

28. Apocrypha, Part I: Contrary to popular belief, Frazee’s successful production of the play No, No Nanette – which featured the song “Tea For Two” – had nothing to do with Ruth or the money the Yankees sent to the Red Sox to acquire him. Frazee sold the Red Sox two years before No, No Nanette hit Broadway in 1925 and always kept his theater and baseball finances separate.

The Yankees Years: 1920s

29. While the phrase "The Curse of the Bambino" did not come into being for more than half a century, it didn't take long to notice a dramatic change in fortunes between Ruth's old and new teams. Between 1920 and 1964, the Yankees won 29 American League pennants and 20 World Series. The Red Sox won one pennant and no World Series titles.

30. Ruth was one of 17 players Frazee traded or sold to the Yankees between December 1918 and July 1923, when he finally sold the team. On New York's first World Series title team of 1923, half the regular players and six of the seven pitchers to throw more than a dozen innings were acquired from Frazee.

31. During his first spring training with the Yankees in 1920, Ruth went into the stands after a heckler who subsequently pulled a knife on him, but Ernie Shore, who preceded Ruth to the Yankees, intervened and any actual violence was avoided.

32. The famous line “I don’t room with Ruth, I room with his suitcase,” a reference to Ruth’s late-night proclivities, has been attributed to two former Yankees: outfielder Ping Bodie, his first roommate with New York, and second baseman Jimmie Reese, who roomed with Ruth a decade later.

33. Ruth broke the single-season home run record in three consecutive seasons, with 29 in 1919, 54 in 1920 and 59 in 1921. Prior to Ruth, the record was 27 and had been set in 1884 by the Chicago White Stockings’ Ned Williamson, who played in a home ballpark in which the rightfield wall was just 196 feet from home plate.

34. Only five teams hit more home runs than Ruth did by himself in 1919 (not counting Ruth’s own Red Sox), and only two teams had more than his total in 1920 (this time including Ruth’s Yankees, who hit 61 in addition to his 54). Ruth also hit more home runs than half of the teams in baseball in 1921.

35. Ruth is often credited with saving baseball in the wake of the Black Sox scandal, though his influence is often overstated. What is certain is that in 1920, Ruth’s first year with the Yankees, they became the first team ever to top 1,000,000 in attendance, and outdrew the majors’ least-attended team, the Boston Braves, by more than 1.1 million fans.

36. Ruth moved into first place on the career home run list in 1921 with No. 139, breaking the record of Hall of Fame first baseman Roger Connor that had stood since 1895. Ruth ultimately expanded that record to 714 home runs, more than five times Connor’s career total. It was broken by Hank Aaron in 1974.

37. Ruth hit 575 home runs after breaking Connor’s record. Only nine players have hit that many in their entire careers since, and four of those nine have been implicated as steroid users.

38. Ruth’s record-setting home run came off Tigers reliever Bert Cole in Detroit on July 18, 1921. Hall of Fame historian Bill Jenkinson once estimated it as the longest home run ever hit. Ruth hit the ball clear out of Navin Field (Tiger Stadium) to center field, a shot Jenkinson estimates would have traveled 575 feet unencumbered. Jenkinson credits Ruth with the three longest home runs ever hit as well as two more tied for fourth place.

39. In 1921, Ruth had what may have been his finest season. He hit .378/.512/.846 with 59 home runs, 171 RBIs and 177 runs scored. The home run and RBI totals were single-season records.

40. Apocrypha, Part II: The Baby Ruth candy bar was introduced in 1921, but the Curtiss Candy Company officially claimed that it was named after Ruth Cleveland, the late daughter of former president Grover Cleveland. There are plenty of reasons to believe that story was merely a legal ploy to allow Curtiss to name the confection after Babe Ruth without requiring his permission. Most notably, Ruth Cleveland died of diphtheria in 1904 at the age of 12, 17 years before the candy bar was introduced at the height of the slugger's popularity.

41. After signing Ruth for a vaudeville tour after the 1921 World Series, Edward F. Albee II, adoptive grandfather of the famous playwright, wrote Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, author of Pygmalion (the source material for My Fair Lady) and mentioned Ruth. Shaw’s famous response was, “Sorry, never heard of her. Whose baby is Ruth?”

42. In 1921, Ruth and Helen adopted a daughter, Dorothy, who learned in 1980 that she was actually the biological daughter of Ruth and Juanita Jennings, a women she knew as a close family friend and with whom Ruth had one of his many affairs.

43. The Yankees had never been to the World Series before acquiring Ruth from Boston, but they went to seven World Series in his 15 years with the team, winning four of them. Their first pennant came in 1921. Their first championship came in 1923 in the third of three consecutive World Series confrontations with John McGraw’s New York Giants.

44. McGraw and Giants owner Horace Stoneham soured on sharing the Polo Grounds with the ascendant Yankees in the wake of Ruth’s arrival as the major league’s premier gate attraction and attempted to evict them after the 1921 season. The Yankees wrangled one more lease out of Stoneham, but also set about building their own ballpark on a plot of land in the Bronx to be ready in time for the 1923 season.

45. Ruth and teammate Bob Meusel were suspended for the first six weeks of the 1922 season by new baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis for participating in a postseason barnstorming tour in October 1921 in violation of league rules. Ruth missed the Yankees’ first 33 games.

46. Ruth was appointed Yankees captain prior to the 1922 season, but on May 25, just his sixth game after returning from his suspension, he was ejected and responded to the taunts of the home crowd by jumping into the stands in pursuit of a heckler. Ruth didn’t catch his man, but he was suspended for one game, fined and stripped of his captaincy.

47. Ruth incurred two more suspensions in 1922. In late June, he was suspended for three days after charging in from leftfield to dispute a call at second base and calling umpire Bill Dinneen, “one of the vilest names known,” according to AL president Ban Johnson. Furious about his three-game suspension, Ruth got into it with Dinneen during batting practice the next day, resulting in Johnson adding two more days. On Aug. 30, he was ejected after responding to a called third strike with an obscenity and was again suspended for three days.

48. After losing a ball in the sun in the Polo Grounds’ leftfield on July 16, 1922, Ruth refused to ever play the sun field again, and he didn't. His position thereafter was determined by the geographic orientation of the ballpark in which he was playing. For the rest of his career, Ruth played exclusively in rightfield at the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium, as well as in Washington and Cleveland but exclusively in leftfield at the other AL cities (Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and St. Louis).

49. Yankee Stadium, dubbed “The House That Ruth Built” by sportswriter Fred Lieb, opened on April 18, 1923. Ruth hit the new ballpark’s first home run, a three-run shot in the third inning off the Red Sox’ Howard Ehmke, the key blow in the Yankees’ 4-1 victory.

 

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50. Ruth hit 259 home runs in 12 seasons at Yankee Stadium, second only to Mickey Mantle’s 266, which came in 18 seasons.

51. In July 1923, Ruth began using a new type of bat devised by retired future Hall of Famer Sam Crawford that was composed of four pieces of wood glued together. Ruth’s use of the bat and the publicity it engendered prompted Ban Johnson to institute a rule change in late August insisting that all bats be made of a single piece of wood. From his reported first use of the bat on July 2 to the institution of the ban on August 28, Ruth hit .457/.586/.882 with 18 home runs in 53 games.

52. In 1923, Ruth hit for his highest single-season average: .393. He came within four hits of batting .400.

53. Ruth won just a single Most Valuable Player award in his career, that coming in 1923. There was no such award from 1915 to 1921 and repeat winners were ineligible until the Baseball Writers Association of America took over the voting in 1931.

54. However, he led the American League, pitchers included, in wins above replacement (Baseball-Reference.com version) 10 times, in OPS+ 12 times, in OPS 13 times and in two of the three Triple Crown categories seven times.

55. On July 5, 1924, Ruth knocked himself unconscious by running head-first into a concrete wall in foul territory at Washington’s Griffith Stadium. He was out for five minutes, but he not only stayed in the game, he went 3-for-3 with two doubles and then played the nightcap of that day’s doubleheader as well.

56. Among players who debuted in the Modern Era (1901-present), Ruth has the seventh highest career batting average (.342) but won just a single batting title: .378 in 1924.

57. Apocrypha, Part III: Ruth missed the first 41 games of the 1925 season with what was termed “the bellyache heard ‘round the world” and has subsequently been rumored to have been a sexually transmitted disease. According to biographer Robert Creamer, however, Ruth had surgery to address an intestinal abscess three days after Opening Day. Ruth spent a month and a half in a Manhattan hospital before rejoining the team.

58. Ruth returned to the lineup on June 1, the day before Lou Gehrig replaced Wally Pipp at first base, but was never fully himself that season. His .290 batting average, .393 on-base percentage, .543 slugging percentage, .936 OPS and 137 OPS+ were all lows for his 15 seasons with New York. That season, the Yankees posted their only losing record between 1919 and 1964.

59. Tired of Ruth’s carousing and insubordination,Yankees manager Miller Huggins suspended Ruth indefinitely and fined him $5,000 after Ruth arrived late the ballpark on Aug. 29, 1925. Huggins made Ruth apologize for his transgressions in front of the rest of the team before finally reinstating him on Sept. 7.

60. Apocrypha, Part IV: Prior to the 1926 World Series, 11-year-old Johnny Sylvester was hospitalized after falling off a horse. A friend of his father brought him autographed baseballs from the Yankees and a promise from Ruth that he would hit a home run for him. Ruth homered four times in the Series against the Cardinals and visited the boy in the hospital after it was over. Sylvester eventually recovered from his injuries. That sequence of events gave birth to a myth in which Ruth visited a dying boy in the hospital and promised he would hit a home run for him that afternoon and the boy experienced a miraculous recovery after Ruth delivered.

61. With the Yankees trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 1926 World Series, Ruth drew a two-out walk to put the tying run on base against the Cardinals’ Pete Alexander. Ruth was then caught stealing second for the final out of the Series. It remains the only time in World Series history that the final out was recorded on a caught stealing.

62. Ruth hit three home runs in Game 4 of that year’s World Series, a feat he duplicated against the Cardinals two years later, again in Game 4. That record has since been tied three times (by Reggie Jackson, Albert Pujols, and Pablo Sandoval), but never broken, and Ruth is the only man to have hit three home runs in any postseason game twice.

63. Ruth’s 15 World Series home runs were a record until Mickey Mantle broke it in 1964. Ruth hit .326/.467/.744 in 10 Fall Classics.

64. Ruth set the single-season home run record for the final time in 1927 with 60. That mark stood until 1961, when Roger Maris broke it only to have baseball commissioner (and Ruth’s former ghostwriter) Ford Frick insist that Maris’s record be listed separately since he needed more games than Ruth had in ’27 to break the record. To this day, Ruth and Maris are the only players to hit 60 or more home runs in a season who have not been linked to steroid use.

65. In 1927, Ruth and Gehrig became the first pair of teammates in baseball history to each hit 30 home runs. Gehrig walloped 47 to go with Ruth’s record 60.

66. Ruth and Gehrig had a falling out in 1932 over a remark Gehrig’s mother made about how Ruth’s wife dressed his two daughters, to which Gehrig took offense. The two did not speak again outside of the context of a game until Gehrig’s retirement ceremony on July 4, 1939.

67. Ruth was estranged from his first wife by the time she died in a fire in January 1929 at her new home where she was all but officially living as another man’s wife. Three months later Ruth married Claire Hodgson. Ruth adopted Claire’s daughter Julia, who would throw out the first pitch before the final game at Yankee Stadium in 2008.

68. Apocrypha Part V: Ruth first wore his iconic No. 3 – which came from his spot in the batting order – in 1929 but contrary to popular belief, the Yankees were not the first team to wear numbers on their backs. The Indians did so briefly in 1916 and 1917, the Cardinals did so for a short time in 1923, and the Indians made them a permanent addition in 1929, beating the Yankees to the punch when Opening Day in the Bronx was rained out.

The Yankees Years: 1930s

69. Ruth never wore the Yankees’ famous interlocking NY logo on his jersey. It didn’t become a permanent part of the Yankees’ jerseys until 1936, two years after Ruth left the team.

70. Apocrypha, Part VI: Ruth has long been credited with saying, when asked in 1931 why he should make more money than President Herbert Hoover, “Why not? I had a better year than he did,” but there is no record of such a statement.

71. Ruth’s top single-season salary was $80,000, which he made in both 1930 and 1931. He was the first player ever to earn $50,000 in a season when he made $52,000 in 1922. According to a CPI inflation calculator from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, $80,000 in 1930 is the equivalent of a little more than $1.1 million today. (For the record, President Hoover made $75,000 in 1931).

72. On April 2, 1931, Ruth was struck out in an exhibition game with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts by a 17-year-old female pitcher named Jackie Mitchell. It has never been determined accurately whether or not it was legitimate or a publicity stunt.

73. Ruth’s famous “Called Shot” home run came in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series against the Cubs. Ruth was being taunted by the Cubs and made a gesture before hitting his second home run of the game, though to whom and in what direction he was pointing have never been accurately determined. Nevertheless, the headline in an afternoon edition of the New York World-Telegram from the day of the game read “Ruth Calls Shot As He Puts Homer No. 2 In Side Pocket.” Did he actually call his shot? Judge for yourself.

74. Ruth made just two All-Star teams because the first All-Star Game wasn’t played until 1933, his penultimate season with the Yankees, when he was 38 years old. Nonetheless, Ruth hit the first home run All-Star Game history, a two-run homer off the Cardinals’ Bill Hallahan in the third inning of the 1933 game that made the difference in the AL’s 4-2 victory.

75. Ruth pitched five more times after leaving the Red Sox, first in 1920 and then twice in 1921. He then stayed off the mound for nearly a decade before pitching a complete game victory against Boston in the 1930 regular season finale. He replicated the feat against the Red Sox three years later, beating them on Oct. 1, 1933, one year to the day after his alleged Called Shot home run.

76. Ruth badly wanted to be a major league manager, but his opportunities were limited. The reason why is perhaps best summed up by Yankees GM Ed Barrow, who said, “How can he manage other men when he can’t even manage himself?”

77. After the 1934 season, his last with the Yankees, Ruth went on a barnstorming tour of Japan led by Connie Mack, then proceeded with Claire to circumnavigate the globe, a trip that took a total of four months. Ruth hit 14 home runs in 17 games against the Japanese All-Stars as Mack's team went undefeated. A bust of Ruth erected during that trip still stands outside of Osaka's Koshien Stadium.

78. The Yankees released Ruth after the 1934 season with the understanding that the Boston Braves would then sign him.

79. On May 25, 1935, Ruth went 4-for-4 with three home runs in Pittsburgh. His last major league hit was his third home run on that day, a solo shot that was the first ever to clear the roof of the double-decked stands in Forbes Field’s rightfield and considered the longest home run in the history of that ballpark, which was home to Pirates games from 1909 to 1970.

80. Ruth played five more games to honor his commitment to the Braves’ owner that he would play in every city on that road trip. In his final game, on May 30, he struck out against Phillies starter Jim Bivin in the top of the first inning, then hurt his knee chasing a fly ball in leftfield the bottom of the first and came out of the game. He was replaced by Hal Lee. Two days later he officially retired.

The Records

 

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81. Ruth retired as the career record-holder in home runs, RBIs, total bases, walks, strikeouts, on-base percentage and slugging percentage as well as the single-season record-holder in home runs, total bases, walks and slugging, and he was briefly the single-season record-holder in RBIs during his career.

82. Ruth set the single-season record for RBIs with 171 in 1921, though future teammate Lou Gehrig broke that record just six years later. Ruth's career total of 2,220 stood as the record until Hank Aaron broke it in 1975.

83. Ruth set the single season record for walks twice, with 150 in 1920 and 170 in 1923. The latter mark stood until 2001, when Barry Bonds walked 177 times. Ruth held the career mark for bases on balls from 1930-2001 when Rickey Henderson passed him.

84. Ruth never struck out 100 times in a season, though he did retire as the career strikeouts leader with 1,330. He no longer ranks in the top 100 in that category.

85. Ruth set the single-season record for total bases with 457 in 1921 and still holds it today.

86. Ruth set the single-season record for slugging percentage in 1920 at .847. It stood until Bonds broke it in 2001. Ruth’s career slugging percentage of .690 remains the major league record. Ted Williams is second at .634.

87. Ruth’s career on-base percentage of .474 is second behind only Williams’ .482.

88. Ruth’s career OPS of 1.164 remains the record, as does his career OPS+ of 206. The latter stat adjusts OPS for a player’s home ballpark and compares it to his league with 100 being league average. Ruth’s career OPS+ is thus more than twice as good as an average mark. By way of comparison, the last player to have a single-season OPS or OPS+ higher than Ruth’s career was Barry Bonds in 2004.

89. Ruth is the career leader in Baseball-Reference.com’s wins above replacement (183.8, including a record 163.2 as a hitter) and is the owner of the top three single-season bWAR totals of all time: 14.0 in 1923, 12.9 in 1921, and 12.4 in 1927.

90. Ruth led the majors in home runs 11 times, slugging 11 times, walks 11 times, OBP 10 times, runs eight times, RBIs six times, total bases six times, OPS and OPS+ 11 times and bWAR seven times.

91. Ruth was one of the five initial inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 along with Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson. Out of that group, only Cobb had a higher percentage of the vote than the 95.1 percent Ruth received just six months after his retirement.

After Baseball

92. Ruth’s last official appearance as a uniformed member of a major league team was as a first base coach for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1938, a job he took mid-season, starting on June 19. He was mainly a gate attraction and would take batting practice and play in exhibition games. Ruth never did get a chance to manage a major league team.

93. Ruth appeared in four feature films as himself or a thinly fictionalized version of himself. The last was The Pride of the Yankees, which was filmed the year after Gehrig’s death in 1942. Ruth lost 40 pounds to play his only slightly-younger self in the film.

94. On Aug. 24, 1942, Ruth hit a home run off Walter Johnson at Yankee Stadium in a charity game for Army-Navy relief in front of a crowd of more than 69,000. The ball actually curved foul, but Ruth rounded the bases and tipped his cap anyway. He appeared in two more charity games in 1943, the latter at Yankee Stadium. They were the last organized game he ever took part in.

95. With Ruth’s health failing, April 27, 1947 was declared Babe Ruth Day around the major leagues by commissioner Happy Chandler. Ruth famously addressed the crowd at Yankee Stadium that day, his voice reduced to a hoarse croak by cancer. You can listen to Ruth’s speech here.

96. Ruth’s final appearance at a ballpark came on June 13, 1948 at Yankee Stadium. Photographer Nat Fein’s famous photograph of Ruth from that day, in full uniform, shot from behind while leaning on a bat, won the Pulitzer Prize.

97. Ruth’s No. 3 was the second Yankee number ever retired, but while Ruth was the first to wear it, he was far from the last. Seven other Yankees wore No. 3, and from 1935 to 1948 it was never unassigned. Outfielder Cliff Mapes was wearing it in 1948 when it was retired. Mapes switched to No. 7 the next year. After he was traded to the Browns in mid-1951, No. 7 went to a rookie named Mickey Mantle.

98. Ruth’s last public appearance came on July 26, 1948, when he attended the premier of The Babe Ruth Story, the film starring Williams Bendix as Ruth. He left before the film was over and returned to the hospital.

99. Ruth died of throat cancer on Aug. 16, 1948 at the age of 53. His body lied in state at Yankee Stadium for two days.

Sources:

Achorn, Edward. Fifty-nine in ’84: Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball & the Greatest Season a Pitcher Ever Had. New York: HarperCollins, 2010.

Creamer, Robert W. Babe: The Legend Comes to Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974.

Jenkinson, Bill. Baseball’s Ultimate Power: Ranking the All-Time Greatest Distance Home Run Hitters. Guilford, Connecticut: Lyons, 2010.

Solomon, Burt. The Baseball Timeline. New York: DK, 1997.

Stout, Glenn and Richard A. Johnson. Yankees Century: 100 Years of New York Yankees Baseball. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

Whiting, Robert. You Gotta Have Wa. New York: Vintage, 1989.

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Baseball-Almanac.com

Baseball-Reference.com

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