If you follow professional baseball, you’ve probably noticed that the best hitters and the best pitchers are usually not the same players. Pitchers tend to focus on pitching and usually don’t lead the league in hits or home runs. The best hitters are usually field players that play any position except pitcher.

Would you believe that one of baseball’s all-time greats was both a fantastic pitcher and a world-class hitter? It’s true! Who are we talking about? “Babe” Ruth, of course!

George Herman “Babe” Ruth, Jr., was born on February 6, 1895. His famous baseball career lasted from 1914-1935. He got his start in the big leagues as a southpaw pitcher with the Boston Red Sox. In 1919, though, he was traded to the New York Yankees, where he switched to right field and soon became one of the best hitters the league has ever seen.

While with the Yankees, “Babe” won seven pennants (American League Championships) and four World Series. His outstanding play earned him many different nicknames. In addition to “Babe” Ruth (more on that name in a bit), you’ll also hear him referred to as “the Great Bambino,” “the Sultan of Swat” and “the Colossus of Clout.”

A year after his retirement in 1935, “Babe” Ruth became one of the first five players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Over time, his accomplishments have only become more legendary. Today, he’s seen as one of the greatest sports heroes of all time — in any sport.

His effect on baseball was tremendous. The popularity of baseball exploded in the 1920s, due in large part to “Babe” Ruth’s play and outgoing personality. Many baseball experts consider him to be the greatest baseball player ever.

He set famous records for home runs that stood for many years. For example, his single-season record of 60 home runs (in 1927) stood until it was broken by Roger Maris in 1961. His record for most home runs in a career (714) stood until it was broken in 1974 by Hank Aaron.

So how did George Herman Ruth become “Babe” Ruth? There are several theories about how the nickname came about, but the most likely story involves a famous baseball recruiter named Jack Dunn. Because “Babe” Ruth got started in baseball when he was only 19, another player was thought to have said, “Here’s one of Dunnie’s babes,” when Ruth showed up for spring training.


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  1. I know exactly where that picture is taken and I know exactly what it feels like to hold that bat and I know exactly what I need to do –write a blog post about our amazing WONDER adventure to Louisville Slugger. Thanks for the push!!!

    • We can’t wait to read your blog post, Maria! What a WONDERful experience it must have been to get to hold Babe’s bat! :-)

  2. Louisville slugger factory is an amazing venture for anyone. Holding the bats of Babe Ruth and other famous players was exciting, but seeing the bats made and each individual player’s design is interesting. They also have a batting cage to try out player’s bats. Awesome trip with many wonders for the whole family.

    • Hello, Neil! Thanks for sharing your personal connection to today’s Wonder! We appreciate you letting our other Wonder Friends know the exciting, WONDERful things that are in store for them when they visit Louisville! How COOL that you got to hold Babe Ruth’s bat and the bats of so many other famous players! :-)

  3. I think that today’s wonder of the day wasn’t so interesting, but it was a good one for baseball lovers. I like soccer a lot more than baseball. I also like basketball. Wonderopolis is the best website ever, you know.

    • It sure is a favorite movie of many Wonder Friends, Mr. P. and Mrs. Barthelmes’ 4th graders! That is also a favorite quote from the movie…we hear it a lot! Thanks for making us smile today! :-)

    • Thank you for sharing something about yourself, Faris! We like learning about our GREAT Wonder Friends (like you!) who visit Wonderopolis each day! We appreciate you and hope you have a WONDERful day! :-)

  4. Hello there, David and Nicole! Thanks so much for visiting Wonderopolis today! This Wonder of the Day® is about Babe Ruth, who was also known as the Great Bambino! We encourage you both to re-explore today’s Wonder to learn more about one of the most famous baseball players of all time! :-)

    • Hi, Kabir! “Bambino” is the Italian word for “baby!” Since George Ruth’s nickname was “Babe,” and he was a GREAT baseball player, we think that’s where “The Great Bambino” came from! Thanks for WONDERing about that word…we’re sure other Wonder Friends were WONDERing the same thing! :-)

  5. I WONDER what tomorrow’s wonder will be? It’s gonna be fun because I like wonderopolis!!!!!!! Today’s wonder was funny!!! :) I like wondering and I wonder all the time!!

    • We think it ROCKS that you WONDER all the time, Vickie…we do, too! Thanks for being such an AWESOME Wonder Friend and also for being so enthusiastic…we appreciate your positive attitude about learning! :-)

    • We think it would have been awesome to see Babe Ruth compete in multiple sports like some modern-day athletes do, Devin! Thanks for stopping by Wonderopolis today!

    • We WONDER that, too, Maven! We’ll all have to visit Wonderopolis again tomorrow to see what WONDERful stuff we will be learning about! :-)

    • It’s definitely a GREAT movie, Calvin! We like that all those kids became best friends through playing baseball! We also like “The Beast,” and how he ended up being a super nice dog instead of the mean one that everyone thought he was! :-)

    • That makes us super happy to hear, Mary and Ann! Thank you BOTH for visiting today’s Wonder and for letting us know you liked it! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing some neat things about yourself, Clay! We think it ROCKS that you love sports! We bet you are GREAT at playing them! :-)

  6. I watched this video clip with my friends at school. We really liked it.

    “OH MY GOSH, IT’S THE SAME PERSON?!?!?!” Loved it.

    • Thanks for letting us know you and your classmates liked this Wonder, Cassidy! You are an AWESOME Wonder Friend! :-)

  7. Hi Wonderopolis! I love this this wonder because I love baseball. I knew that Babe Ruth had many nicknames. “The Saltan of Swat” and “Colossus of Clout” are two that I had not heard of before. I also have a question; what does Bambino mean? Thank you for making me wonder!!

    • Hello there, Team Unger 9! “Bambino” means “baby” in Italian (Babe). We thought that was cool to learn and we hope you did, too! Thanks for hanging out in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  8. I so wish I met Babe Ruth. In a movie I saw, I acted like I was in it with Babe. It showed when he made history by being the 4th to hit 400 balls in his whole career.

    • What a cool way to be creative and admire a hero of yours at the same time, Kalleey! Thanks for sharing your story about Babe Ruth! :-)

    • Yes we did know that, Kalleey! Thanks for reminding us, though! We hope you have a WONDERful day…thanks for visiting Wonderopolis! :-)

    • Hey Christian, it sure was! The Great Bambino, or Babe Ruth, played baseball before the movie, The Sandlot, was even filmed! :)

    • We’re so glad to hear it, Wonder Friend Michael, and we bet there are a LOT of people who agree with you! Thanks for hitting one out of the park today! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Who was the Great Bambino?
  • What other nicknames did “Babe” Ruth have?
  • How did he get the nickname “Babe” Ruth?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

The Sultan of Swat. The Great Bambino. The Colossus of Clout. “Babe” Ruth sure had a lot of nicknames, didn’t he? Fans often give popular athletes special nicknames to recognize their accomplishments.

As one of baseball’s all-time greats, “Babe” Ruth certainly earned his multiple nicknames. But what about you? Do you have any nicknames?

Whether you currently have a nickname or not, think about what you want to be when you grow up. What kinds of great things do you want to do? If you accomplish your goals, what nickname do you think you would deserve? What nickname would you like to have some day?

When you’re finished daydreaming about future nicknames, take some time to watch “Babe” Ruth in a couple of old movies. We bet you didn’t know “Babe” Ruth was a movie star, too!


Still Wondering

With ArtsEdge’s All Around the Baseball Field lesson, children can explore the sport of baseball through art, movement and sound as they construct a mock baseball field using an assortment of materials, including pattern blocks, tiles and a variety of geometric shapes.


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