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.