Baseball history would have been flawed without its pioneering son, Babe Ruth. George Herman Ruth. Jr. was born on 6 February 1895, and graced Major League Baseball for 22 seasons. The “Sultan of Swat” or “the Bambino” as he was lovingly called, Ruth featured for three clubs during his career – Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Boston Braves. His brilliance with the bat was truly extraordinary as he set record after record in his time.
Most famous for the 714 home runs that made him the highest scoring ballplayer of all-time until the 1950s, the “Babe” also held records for the highest RBI at 2213 and 2062 bases on ball. Although these records were broken over the decades, Ruth’s slugging percentage of .690 and OPS (on-base plus slugging) of 1.164 are records that remain intact to this very day.
Ruth made his mark in MLB as a pitcher with the Red Sox, but his switch to the Yankees saw him convert into an out-and-out right fielder. As the years passed, Ruth established himself as one of America’s most prolific sluggers. His uncanny ability to hit home runs at will made him an irreplaceable asset for his team, and a frightening prospect for his opponents. His prowess with the bat helped New York Yankees claim four World Series championships and seven pennants. Following his retirement in 1935, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame only one year later.
Ruth’s sixty home runs during the 1927 season was the first time Major League Baseball had witnessed such an achievement. The record remained a daunting challenge for ballplayers of future generations until Roger Maris, after 34 years, surpassed it in 1961. The Babe’s career home run record of 714 stood strong until Hank Aaron came along and surpassed it in 1974. Unlike most of the hard hitters, Ruth also displayed tremendous ability with his batting average. While his career average of .342 is listed tenth on the all-time charts, his .393 during the 1923 season remains a Yankee record.
During his time as a player, Ruth was clearly the undisputed best. He finished twelve seasons as the highest home runs scorer, thirteen times each with his OPS and slugging percentage, eight times for the runs scored and six times for RBIs. These figures represent a record that no player in baseball has managed to even challenge.
Ruth’s Role in MLB’s Fame
Ruth is often credited with taking baseball to a new level during his time. The sport exploded in popularity during the 1920s, primarily due to the Babe’s influence. His powerful swings facilitated an escalation in home runs and not only had the fans excited with frenzy, but changed baseball from a speed-dominated and low-scoring game to a powerful and high-scoring sport. Ruth has since been considered as one of America’s greatest sportsmen. His charismatic personality and legendary power made him the role model for hundreds of thousands of children. Many people in the baseball world believe, with good reason that Babe Ruth set the standards for future generations to follow.