41 Days till Baseball – The Babe

Spring Training in Tampa is almost in full swing and of course the core of the 2010 Yankee squad has hit the ground running. Forget all the contract nonsense with Jeter and Mariano, if all goes well both men will retire in pinstripes and hopefully not too soon.  So before we look forward lets look back at another Yankee legend, the second player in our RETIRED NUMBER SERIES, a man who needs no introduction , a man who truly was bigger than the game and perhaps one of the most famous athletes of all time…THE BABE.

The Babe

George Herman Ruth, Jr. (February 6, 1895 – August 16, 1948), best known as “Babe” Ruth and nicknamed “the Great Bambino“, “the Sultan of Swat“, “the King of Crash“, and “the Colossus of Clouts“, was an American Major League baseball player from 19141935. Ruth originally broke into the major leagues with the Boston Red Sox as a starting pitcher, but after he was sold to the New York Yankees in 1919, he converted to a full-time right fielder and subsequently became one of the league’s most prolific hitters. Ruth was a mainstay in the Yankees’ lineup that won seven pennants and four World Series titles during his tenure with the team. After a short stint with the Boston Braves in 1935, Ruth retired. In 1936, Ruth became one of the first five players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Ruth has since become regarded as one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture.[1] He has been named the greatest baseball player in history in various surveys and rankings, and his home run hitting prowess and charismatic personality made him a larger than life figure in the “Roaring Twenties“. Off the field he was famous for his charity, but also was noted for his often reckless lifestyle. Ruth is credited with changing baseball itself. The popularity of the game exploded in the 1920s, largely due to his influence. Ruth ushered in the “live-ball era,” as his big swing led to escalating home run totals that not only excited fans, but helped baseball evolve from a low-scoring, speed-dominated game to a high-scoring power game.

Ruth was the first player to hit 60 home runs in one season (1927), setting the season record which stood until broken by Roger Maris in 1961. Ruth’s lifetime total of 714 home runs at his retirement in 1935 was a record, until first surpassed by Hank Aaron in 1974. Unlike many power hitters, Ruth also hit for average: his .342 lifetime batting is tenth highest in baseball history, and in one season (1923) he hit .393, a Yankee record. His .690 career slugging percentage and 1.164 career on-base plus slugging (OPS) remain the major league records.[3] Ruth dominated in the era in which he played. He led the league in home runs during a season twelve times, slugging percentage and OPS thirteen times each, runs scored eight times, and runs batted in (RBIs) six times. Each of those totals represents a modern record (as well as the all-time record, except for RBIs). (Courtesy Wikipedia)

The First true legendary Yankee and the backbone of Murderer’s Row, The Babe is credited with truly setting the tone for what would become the greatest sports franchise in the World.  Before there was Jordan or Tiger (well forget Tiger)… before there were any star athletes that transcended sports, there was Babe Ruth. True Yankee for real!

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