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Picture from the official Babe Ruth Site

George Herman Ruth. The Babe

My reasons for adding The Babe to my list of favorites goes beyond just his great talent as a player. He made it to the top dispite adversity.

Unlike so many players that have the love and support of their family and friends Ruth made it to the top on his own. He had no family to back him up and help him on his way. Although he had parents they left the boy to fend for himself.

At the tender age of seven he was taken to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys in Baltimore. Once left there his parents never went to see him again. Growing up in the home was not easy. It was prison like with guards on duty.

Baseball was very popular at the school and a young Ruth showed great potential right from the start. He played all fielding positions and was a great pitcher.

At the age of 19 he was signed by Jack Dunn, who was the manager of the Baltimore Orioles, to his first pro contract. As Ruth was a ward of St Mary's until his 21st birthday, Dunn became his legal guardian to enable him to leave.

After just five moths with Baltimore he was sold to the Boston Red Sox. He made his major league debute on July 11 1914 at Feway in Boston.

In December of 1919 he was sold to the Yankees. Until this time the Yankees had never won a pannant, but after his arrival the won seven pennants and four World Series titles.

During this time Ruth married Helen Woodford, a 17 year old waitress. In 1921 the couple adopted a baby girl whom they named Dorothy. Sadly Helen was killed in a fire in 1929 aged just 31 years.

Three months later Ruth met and married a young widow, Clair Hodgson. Clair had a young daughter, Julia, of her own that Ruth went on to adopt the way he had Dorothy.

Ruth loved kids and never complained when they would mob him in the streets, and showed great love and affection to them all.

In 1946 The Babe was diagnosed with throat cancer. His final appearance at Yankee stadium actually came on June 13, 1948, during the 25th anniversary of "The House that Ruth Built." During the celebration the Yankees also retired his uniform, number 3, and for that reason Babe put on the uniform for one last time.

The Babe lost his battle with cancer on August 16, 1948. His body laid in state at Yankee Stadium for two days after his death. Hundreds of thousands lined up to say goodbye to their hero. Babe Ruth was gone, but his ledgend will live forever.

The Babe was my first baseball hero. He's the one player who I would have dearly loved to meet. Sadly he died several years before I was born.
Info from the official Babe Ruth Site

Babe Facts

Birth Name: George Herman Ruth
Born: February 6, 1895 (Baltimore, Maryland)
Died: August 16, 1948 (New York, New York)

Batted: Left -- Threw: Left
Position: Pitcher, Outfield
Began his career as a left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox in 1914.
He compiled a 78-40 record in four years with the Red Sox.
Became a full time outfielder in 1919 because of his hitting ability.
1919 season he set a new home run record (29) and led the league in runs, RBIs, and slugging.
Over the next two years he hit 113 home runs and thus became nicknamed "The Sultan of Swat."
Over the next two years he hit 113 home runs and thus became nicknamed "The Sultan of Swat."

He led the league in home runs eight of the next ten years.

In 1927 he broke his own record by hitting 60 home runs.
During his twenty full seasons, he led the league in home runs 12 times, runs 8 times, RBI's 6 times, and slugging 13 times.
His 714 career home runs was a record until 1974 when Hank Aaron broke it.
Lifetime batting average: .342.
He is the all-time leader in home run percentages (8.5), walks (2056), and slugging (.690).
He is second of all time in runs and RBIs.
He hit 15 home runs in 41 World Series games.
He ranks in the top ten in nine World Series categories.
He retired after playing 28 games in Boston.
Was one of the first five elected to the Hall of Fame in 1936, receiving 95% of the vote (215 out of 226).
From the official Babe Ruth Site