Babe Ruth retires 1935
On this day in 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 the first five players inducted into the sport’s hall of fame.
George Herman Ruth was born February 6, 1895, into a poor family in Baltimore. As a child, he was sent to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, a school run by Roman Catholic brothers, where he learned to play baseball and was a standout athlete. At 19, Ruth was signed by the Baltimore Orioles, then a Boston Red Sox minor league team. Ruth’s fellow teammates and the media began referring to him as team owner Jack Dunn’s newest “babe,” a nickname that stuck. Ruth would later acquire other nicknames, including “The Sultan of Swat” and “The Bambino.”
Ruth made his Major League debut as a left-handed pitcher with the Red Sox in July 1914 and pitched 89 winning games for the team before 1920, when he was traded to the New York Yankees. After Ruth left Boston, in what became known as “the curse of the Bambino,” the Red Sox didn’t win another World Series until 2004. In New York, Ruth’s primary position changed to outfielder and he led the Yankees to seven American League pennants and four World Series victories. Ruth was a huge star in New York and attracted so many fans that the team was able to open a new stadium in 1923, Yankee Stadium, dubbed “The House That Ruth Built.”
The southpaw slugger’s final season, in 1935, was with the Boston Braves. He had joined the Braves with the hope that he’d become the team’s manager the next season. However, this dream never came to pass for a disappointed Ruth, who had a reputation for excessive drinking, gambling and womanizing.
Many of the records Ruth set remained in place for decades. His career homerun record stood until 1974, when it was broken by Hank Aaron. Ruth’s record of 60 homeruns in a single season (1927) of 154 games wasn’t bested until 1961, when Roger Maris knocked out 61 homers in an extended season of 162 games. The Sultan of Swat’s career slugging percentage of .690 remains the highest in Major League history.
Ruth died of throat cancer at age 53 on August 16, 1948, in New York City. His body lay in state at Yankee Stadium for two days and was visited by over 100,000 fans.
(More Events on This Day in History)
- 1774 Parliament completes the Coercive Acts with the Quartering Act
- 1970 Race car driver and designer Bruce McLaren dies in crash
- 1815 Philip Kearny is born
- 1954 McCarthy charges communists are in the CIA
- 1985 Serial killing spree is put to an end
- 1921 Flash floods ravage Colorado
- 1865 American Civil War ends
- 1886 President Cleveland marries in White House
- 1924 The Indian Citizenship Act
- 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
- 1997 McVeigh convicted for Oklahoma City bombing
- 2012 Longtime Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak sentenced to life in prison
- 1989 Dead Poets Society released in selected theaters
- 1977 Raymond Carver quits drinking
- 1962 Ray Charles takes country music to the top of the pop charts
- 1823 Ashley’s fur trappers attacked by Indians
- 1886 Grover Cleveland gets married in the White House
- 1924 Coolidge signs Indian Citizen Act
- 1985 English football clubs banned from Europe
- 1965 First contingent of Australian combat troops arrives
- 1967 Green Beret doctor convicted in court-martial
World War I
- 1915 Austro-German forces attack Russians at Przemysl
World War II
- 1944 United States begins “shuttle bombing” in Operation Frantic