George Herman “Babe” Ruth, Jr. was born to George Herman, Sr., and Katherine Schamberger on February 6, 1895 in Pigtown, a rough neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland. Ruth’s parents worked very hard and had little time to watch over their eight kids. The lack of parental guidance caused Ruth to become a trouble child, skipping school and causing mischief around the neighborhood. When Ruth turned seven years old his parents decided to send him to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. The school was run by Catholic monks and provided a strict environment that would eventually shape George Jr. future.
Ruth looked up to Brother Mathias, who became a father figure to him. Mathias, along with other monks, introduced George Jr. to the game of baseball, which he excelled at. At the age of 15 he showed skills as both a pitcher and hitter. He caught the eye of Jack Dunn, the owner of the minor league Baltimore Orioles. At the time the Orioles were the minor league team for the Boston Red Sox.
At 19, Dunn became Ruth’s legal guardian, giving Ruth the ability to sign a baseball contract to play professionally. Ruth’s teammates would jokingly call Ruth “Dunn’s new babe.” The result of the joke was Ruth nickname “Babe,” which we still call him to this day.
Ruth played in Baltimore for a short time before the Red Sox called him up to the majors. Ruth proved his worth immediately as a left handed pitcher, leading the team to three World Series titles in 1915, 1916, and 1918.
The good times in Boston wouldn’t last for long when Red Sox owner Harry Frazee shipped Ruth off to the New York Yankees to help pay off his debts. Frazee sold the rights of Ruth’s contract for $100,000 ($1,350,907.51 in 2015), and the club wouldn’t win another championship until 2004, it was known by most as the curse of the Bambino.
The Yankees clearly won in the trade, before Ruth’s arrival the team had never won a title. Over the next 15 seasons New York would win the World Series four times, with Ruth at the center of it all.
Ruth set the single season home run record four different times. He hit 29 in 1919 and then turned around and hit 54 homers the next season. Ruth would break his own record yet again in 1921 by hitting an incredible 59 homers. Babe wouldn’t be done breaking the single season home run record either. In 1927 he hit 60 homers, a record that would stand for 34 years.
Ruth went on to break of baseball important records, including most seasons leading the league in home runs (12), most total bases in a season (457), highest slugging percentage in a season (.847). He also hit 714 career home runs a record that would stand until 1974, when Atlanta Braves outfielder Hank Aaron surpassed him.