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Photo and Information Page for:

George Herman "Babe" Ruth

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FEATURE! - A 1930's Babe Ruth Original Mutoscope

From a bygone era, this is a vintage coin operated Mutoscope machine that is fully functional and has been professionally restored featuring none other than the Bambino himself, New York Yankee legend Babe Ruth on the rare original Mutoscope reel inside. Hand turning a crank once a coin is placed in operates the original Mutoscope reel that projects like an early moving picture through the viewer of Ruth warming up before a game in his road New York Yankees’ uniform by home plate. The frame of this item is metal that was painted black. There is paint wear and chipping evident throughout. The front has a yellow backdrop with “REAL MOVING PICTURES” in dark green and “BABE RUTH” in white and “WARMING UP” below. There are drawings of a pair of cleats and a glove and ball with “ONE 1 CENT” below Ruth’s image in dark green. A gold plated “PUSH COIN” plate is on the base and reads “PUSH COIN IN SLOT THEN TURN CRANK TO THE RIGHT”, “TRADE MUTOSCOOPE MARK”, “PATENT NO. D.74,698 OTHER PATENTS PENDING” and “MANUFACTURED BY INTERNATIONAL MUTOSCOPE REEL CO Inc. NEW YORK USA”. The gold colored crank is below with a key lock below that. There is an attached electrical cord. While video entertainment has developed a long way since, this hefty countertop attraction would still serve as the centerpiece for any serious sports memorabilia display.

The Mutoscope is an early motion picture device, invented by W.K.L. Dickson and Herman Casler and later patented by Herman Casler on November 21, 1894. Like Thomas Edison's Kinetoscope, it did not project on a screen and provided viewing to only one person at a time.

Here is a sample of a Babe Ruth "slide" from a Mutoscope Circa 1927

RUTH to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom
Ruth Gets Medal of Freedom!

"I don't remember when I first heard about Babe Ruth.  His name, image, and accomplishments predate my memory" (only Elvis comes close...and ironically, he and the Babe both passed away on August 16). 
No matter where you call home, it's impossible not to be a fan of the Babe; but my being from Richmond, Virginia has it's perks.  Richmond, and it's cleverly named team, the Virginians, served as the Yankees' AAA affiliate from 1953 through 1964.  I really don't remember those days. I wasn't aware of the World Series untill 1965, when Koufax and the Dodgers vanquished the Minnesota Twins.  Strange it now seems that the pennants ran out just when the Team left Richmond. 
Babe will always be the yardstick by which all "sluggers" are measured.  He was the first, and as columnist, George Will has said, he was "like an Everest in Kansas."  There was nothing even remotely like him before, and the game today is the way it is because of what he started almost a century ago.  He was the consummate pitcher/hitter of the late teens and baseball savior following the 1919 World Series. His bat forever changed the "inside" game of bunt, steal, and hit and run, so loved by McGraw and Cobb, into the "power" game we see today.
As a side-note, Babe pitched five games as a Yankee (1920-1934) and won all of them.
So here's to the Babe, on the centennial celebration of his foray into professional baseball and his stride across the American stage, as the greatest and most loved athlete in history." - Chris Jones

Birth Name:   George Herman Ruth
Nickname:   The Bambino or The Sultan of Swat
Born On:   02-06-1895
Born In:   Baltimore, Maryland
Zodiac:   Aquarius
Died On:   08-16-1948
Died In:   New York, New York
Cemetery:   Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, New York
College:   None Attended
Bats:   Left
Throws:   Left
Height:   6-02
Weight:   215
First Game:   07-11-1914 (Age 19)
Last Game:   05-30-1935
Draft:   Not Applicable

Click on the links below to navigate to the section you wish to read more about.

Ruth's Biography        Ruth's Stats        Linda Ruth Tosetti            Babe Ruth Museum and Birthplace        Baltimore Sports Museum

Babe Ruth 60th Memorial Mass        Photo Gallery

A Great Website on Babe Ruth hitting.  Watch him in action!  -

Babe Ruth as Santa Claus - 1947 - Go Here!

A great video clip of the Babe (He is in the middle of the video) -

Babe Ruth in Color!

Babe Ruth - World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame Induction - Read About it HERE!

Read the speech given by Bill Jenkinson HERE!


Did you know?  Ruth was the only player in MLB history to end a game 7 World Series game by being thrown out trying to steal a base.  With the "Babe" being as important as he was in baseball his picture and name have become something known by people not just in New York but all over the world. At any given time you will see his picture or hear his name when the word baseball comes up. These pictures you may or may not have seen before, some were made famous by baseball cards and magazines and others you might have seen in local establishments like hotels or sports bars. You will see them all over his hometown and in New York hotels and bars where the greats are always celebrated. Go to a place like Las Vegas and there will be games in the casinos of your Vegas hotels dedicated to him. Ruth did amazing things for the game of baseball on and off the field and has given fans everywhere something to remember and cherish about the game. Below are just a few of the many images of Ruth out there, I hope that you enjoy them!

Here, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth are pictured with Andy Sannella in 1928.
Both Gehrig and Ruth campaigned for Al Smith who ran for president
in 1928 as the Democratic nominee.  Look closely at the guitar as it
is full of autographs.  Both Gehrig and Ruth added their signatures to the
famous C.F. Martin and Co. guitar.


Babe Ruth Auction Makes History at Yankee Stadium

A Ruth jersey sold for $5.64million on June 15, 2019.  It was the most expensive
piece of sports memorabilia ever sold!  Ruth wore the jersey from
1928 to 1930.  His family put many Ruth items up for sale.  The auction
was run by Hunt Auctions.  The auction was held at Yankee Stadium.


Photo Gallery



Photo credit: colorized by Larry Bodnovich

Below are REAL color photos taken of Babe Ruth by Ralph Morse of Life Magazine. Amazing shots Mr. Morse! 
Credit: Ralph Morse and Life Magazine

Did Babe Ruth really call his shot in the 1932 World Series?  Read the letter below from a pretty good source and then you can decide for yourself.  (Letter Credit: Tom Noonan)


In 1941, there was a ceremony held in honor of the hot dog!  Below is the proclamation of the event signed by Babe Ruth, who was also in attendance!  It was held on Janaury 14, 1941 at the Hotel Commodore in New York City.  Click on the image to see a larger version.  Ruth's signature is right above Ford Frick's.

Below are some great photographs and items that were sold through Goldin Auctions for an auciton to Benefit the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum in 2017.  Photo Credits: Goldin Auctions



This is Babe Ruth Memorial Field at McCombs Park and the last picture is how the new stadium is sitting ...


28.425 acres

This park was named for the Macomb family of millers who, in the 19th century, operated a dam and mill on the site. In 1813 Robert Macomb was granted permission by the New York State Legislature to construct a dam across the Harlem River. Macomb's dam was required to operate a lock, keeping navigation open along the river. However, only small boats were able to pass through the lock, severely limiting the river's capacity. By 1838 residents along the riverbank questioned the private usurpation of the public waterway. Led by Lewis G. Morris, the angered citizens chartered a coal barge and paid the crew to break through the dam with axes. Charges were filed against Morris, but the court, declaring Macomb's dam a "public nuisance," prohibited obstruction of the Harlem River by dam or bridge.

By 1858 the dam had been entirely removed and the toll-free Central Bridge was constructed. The bridge was replaced in 1890 with a new structure. The Department of Public Parks commissioned engineer A.P. Boller to design the new bridge. Its massive steel central swing span was considered at the time to be the world's heaviest movable mass. After the Brooklyn and Washington Bridges, Macomb's Dam Bridge is the third oldest major bridge in New York City. The bridge was named Macomb's Dam Bridge by the Board of Aldermen in 1902. It was designated a city landmark in 1992. The property for Macomb's Dam Park was acquired by condemnation in 1897 and 1924. The park opened in 1899, drawing neighborhood children and aspiring athletes to its extensive recreational facilities including a track, baseball fields, tennis courts, comfort stations, and a playground. The quarter-mile track was a favorite for local and European runners. Hannes Kohlesmainen used the park during his training for the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, where he won three gold medals.

In 1914 the Parks and Playgrounds Association established new playgrounds in eight Bronx parks. The playground at Macomb's Dam Park opened in the summer of that year with swings, shoot-the-chutes (slides), see-saws, swings for different age groups, sand boxes, and basketball courts. According to the 1914 Annual Report of the Department of Parks, children were "drawn to these playgrounds where they were able to give full vent to their excess of feelings, and enjoy to the fullest extent those kinds of exercise which were conducive to their well-being both mentally and physically." Yankee Stadium, to the east, was built in 1923 and became home to great Bronx heroes and legends. Babe Ruth Memorial Stadium, dedicated to baseball favorite George Herman "Babe" Ruth, further enhanced the facilities of Macomb's Dam Park.

In 1936 the park benefited from the installation of a fountain by Martin Schenck and Arthur V. Waldregon. Known as Macomb's Dam Fountain, it consists of a large granite basin ornamented with carved limestone dolphins and a lion's head. The park has maintained its extensive facilities with several reconstructions of the playing fields and bleachers. Macomb's Dam Park continues to be a mecca for athletes and the surrounding community.

Below is a great article from a fan.


The St. Mary's Miracle

Ninety-five years ago this spring, Baltimore landed the greatest young talent in baseball history

By Tom Flynn

The greatest Oriole of them all, Babe Ruth was lost to a mid-summer fire sale.  (Courtesy of Sports Legends)
Orioles owner Jack Dunn knew the spring of 1914 would be tough. The Sun was running articles all winter about the upstart Federal League, a so-called third major league that would have a Baltimore entry beginning play in April.

As February wore on, Dunn didn't need to read the Sun; across the street from his own park the Fed's ballpark was being thrown up quickly for Opening Day. The echo of a dozen hammers could be heard at all hours.

The new Terrapin Park was a colossus compared to Dunn's Oriole Park. Dunn had a grandstand from first base around home to third, but the new place had a towering seating area that would extend all the way down the left field and right field lines. Terrapin Park shouted majors and Dunn's park minors, loud and clear.

It was Ned Hanlon who had a hand in all this mess. Hanlon, manager of the great 1890s National League Orioles, was one of the Terrapins' owners. It was Hanlon who had started the minor league Orioles that Dunn now owned. It was Hanlon who managed Dunn in 1899 when both were briefly in Brooklyn (Dunn won 23 games that year, thanks in part to Hanlon). Now it was Hanlon who he had to beat.

Dunn wasn't idle in light of the new threat to his ballclub. He had fought through hard times before. As a child growing up in New Jersey, his left arm had been so damaged in an accident that a doctor told his mother that the 9-year-old's limb would have to be amputated or he would die.

"If it makes no difference to you, I'd just as soon die with my arm on," he reportedly told the two. The arm stayed, and Dunn lived.

He couldn't raise that arm above his head for the rest of his life, yet he made it to the major leagues. He played for both John McGraw and Hanlon, two of the greatest managers the game had ever seen. Dunn developed their same eye for talent and had a special knack for spotting ballplayers around Baltimore, guys that other people missed. Fritz Maisel turned up in nearby Catonsville and now was playing third base for the Yankees. He had stolen 44 bases for the Orioles in 1913 to lead the league, and then left before the season was through for the big leagues, where he stole another 25. Nobody could throw him out.

Now word was making it up from the same area, down near Wilkens Avenue, that St. Mary's Industrial School had a boy that Dunn should see. He wanted another player; a pitcher at Mount St. Joseph's College, but Brother Gilbert Cairnes at St. Joe's had a national powerhouse on his hands and wasn't going to part with a star pitcher so easily. He suggested a boy over at St. Mary's, a left-handed pitcher named George Herman Ruth. Dunn respected the brother's opinion and with the Terrapins breathing down his neck, it was worth a look. Hell, if Hanlon got wind of him he'd be gone soon enough.

Accounts vary on Ruth's signing. A fellow student at St. Mary's described a game involving the Babe staged for Dunn's viewing. Ruth's autobiography mentions throwing for a half-hour for Dunn before he was signed. Brother Gilbert's later printed version, written along with longtime Baltimore sportswriter Rodger Pippen, varies from both accounts.

According to Gilbert, there was no game because of the cold February weather. Brother Gilbert, Dunn and Maisel traveled in Maisel's car to visit Brother Matthias, the St. Mary's prefect who, along with the school's other Xaverian Brothers, oversaw the boy in class and on the diamond.

The trio spoke with Matthias, and received a concise assessment of his talents.

"Ruth can hit," said Matthias.  

"Can he pitch?" the Orioles' manager asked.

"Sure, he can do anything," Matthias responded.

Dunn looked the boy over. He was big enough, certainly, and signing him would at least ensure the Terrapins didn't get him right away, even if he didn't work out. So on Feb. 22, 1914, at age 19, Ruth became a Baltimore Oriole.

Dunn wasted no time in getting Ruth to training camp in Fayetteville, N.C. It was best to get him out of town before Hanlon had at him. A contract would not get in Hanlon's way; all winter the Federal League had convinced major league players to "jump" contracts over to their league.

From there, the legend of Babe Ruth quickly took root. On March 7, Ruth hit a home run in practice so far that 38 years later, in 1952, 10,000 Fayetteville residents attended a ceremony to place a plaque where it landed.

In mid-March, Ruth became Babe Ruth, as Pippen overheard Steinman allude to the kid as one of "Dunnie's babes" and found the perfect nickname for the teenaged marvel. Later that same month Ruth shut down the major league Phillies and then the world champion Philadelphia A's. Just weeks removed from St. Mary's schoolyard and Ruth was handling the A's.

In a letter to Brother Gilbert, Dunn stated simply, "Brother, this fellow Ruth is the greatest young ballplayer who ever reported to a training camp."

Unfortunately for Dunn, time was running out on Ruth's stay with the Orioles before it ever started. The Terrapins opened to 30,000 fans and towering front page headlines on April 13. The Orioles battled the New York Giants in an exhibition the same day before fewer than 1,000. Ruth won his first start later in April before perhaps 200 fans.

Dunn undoubtedly had the better team but Hanlon had the better label. The Orioles were 47-22 on July 4 and Ruth had 14 wins, but it didn't matter.

Dunn was bleeding money with each game. He was faced with a simple and painful solution: sell players or lose his franchise. On July 10, Ruth, pitcher Ernie Shore and catcher and captain Ben Egan were on a train north to Boston, sold to the Red Sox for an announced price of $25,000, although the true sum was likely less.

The greatest Oriole of them all, and Dunn's greatest find, was lost to a mid-summer fire sale.  

Issue 135: March 2009

The Kids Can't Take It If We Don't Give It!

October 1948

by GEORGE HERMAN RUTH, Babe Ruth's Last Message, from Guideposts magazine


Bad boy Ruth-that was me.


Don't get the idea that I'm proud of my harum-scarum youth. I'm not. I simply had a rotten start in life, and it took me a long time to get my bearings.


Looking back to my youth, I honestly don't think I knew the difference between right and wrong. I spent much of my early boyhood living over my father's saloon, in Baltimore-and when I wasn't living over it, I was in it, soaking up the atmosphere. I hardly knew my parents.


St. Mary's Industrial School in Baltimore, where I was finally taken, has been called an orphanage and a reform school. It was, in fact, a training school for orphans, incorrigibles, delinquents and runaways picked up on the streets of the city. I was listed as an incorrigible. I guess I was. Perhaps I would always have been but for Brother Matthias, the greatest man I have ever known, and for the religious training I received there which has since been so important to me.


I doubt if any appeal could have straightened me out except a Power over and above man-the appeal of God. Iron-rod discipline couldn't have done it. Nor all the punishment and reward systems that could have been devised. God had an eye out for me, just as He has for you, and He was pulling for me to make the grade.


As I look back now, I realize that knowledge of God was a big crossroads with me. I got one thing straight (and I wish all kids did)-that God was Boss. He was not only my Boss but Boss of all my bosses. Up till then, like all bad kids, I hated most of the people who had control over me and could punish me. I began to see that I had a higher Person to reckon with who never changed, whereas my earthly authorities changed from year to year. Those who bossed me had the same self-battles-they, like me, had to account to God. I also realized that God was not only just, but merciful. He knew we were weak and that we all found it easier to be stinkers than good sons of God, not only as kids but all through our lives.


That clear picture, I'm sure, would be important to any kid who hates a teacher, or resents a person in charge. This picture of my relationship to man and God was what helped relieve me of bitterness and rancor and a desire to get even.


I've seen a great number of "he-men" in my baseball career, but never one equal to Brother Matthias. He stood six feet six and weighed 250 pounds. It was all muscle. He could have been successful at anything he wanted to in life-and he chose the church.


It was he who introduced me to baseball. Very early he noticed that I had some natural talent for throwing and catching. He used to back me in a corner of the big yard at St. Mary's and bunt a ball to me by the hour, correcting the mistakes I made with my hands and feet. I never forget the first time I saw him hit a ball. The baseball in 1902 was a lump of mush, but Brother Matthias would stand at the end of the yard, throw the ball up with his left hand, and give it a terrific belt with the bat he held in his right hand. The ball would carry 350 feet, a tremendous knock in those days. I would watch him bug-eyed.


Thanks to Brother Matthias I was able to leave St. Mary's in 1914 and begin my professional career with the famous Baltimore Orioles. Out on my own... free from the rigid rules of a religious school . . . boy, did it go to my head. I began really to cut capers.


I strayed from the church, but don't think I forgot my religious training. I just overlooked it. I prayed often and hard, but like many irrepressible young fellows, the swift tempo of living shoved religion into the background.


So what good was all the hard work and ceaseless interest of the Brothers, people would argue? You can't make kids religious, they say, because it just won't take. Send kids to Sunday School and they too often end up hating it and the church.


Don't you believe it. As far as I'm concerned, and I think as far as most kids go, once religion sinks in, it stays there - deep down. The lads who get religious training, get it where it counts-in the roots. They may fail it, but it never fails them. When the score is against them, or they get a bum pitch, that unfailing Something inside will be there to draw on. I've seen it with kids. I know from the letters they write me. The more I think of it, the more important I feel it is to give kids "the works" as far as religion is concerned. They'll never want to be holy-they'll act like tough monkeys in contrast, but somewhere inside will be a solid little chapel. It may get dusty from neglect, but the time will come when the door will be opened with much relief. But the kids can't take it, if we don't give it to them.


I've been criticized as often as I've praised for my activities with kids on the grounds that what I did was for publicity. Well, criticism doesn't matter. I never forgot where I came from. Every dirty-faced kid I see is another useful citizen. No one knew better than I what it meant not to have your own home, a backyard, your own kitchen and icebox. That's why all through the years, even when the big money was rolling in, I'd never forget

St. Mary's, Brother Matthias and the boys I left behind. I kept going back.

As I look back those moments when I let the kids down-they were my worst. I guess I was so anxious to enjoy life to the fullest that I forgot the rules or ignored them. Once in a while you can get away with it, but not for long. When I broke training, the effects were felt by myself and by the ball team-and even by the fans.


While I drifted away from the church, I did have my own "altar," a big window of my New York apartment overlooking the city lights. Often I would kneel before that window and say my prayers. I would feel quite humble then. Id ask God to help me not make such a big fool of myself and pray that I'd measure up to what He expected of me.


In December, 1946 I was in French Hospital, New York, facing a serious operation. Paul Carey, one of my oldest and closest friends, was by my bed one night.


"They're going to operate in the morning, Babe," Paul said. "Don't you think you ought to put your house in order?"


I didn't dodge the long, challenging look in his eyes. I knew what he meant. For the first time I realized that death might strike me out. I nodded, and Paul got up, called in a Chaplain, and I made a full confession.


"I'll return in the morning and give you Holy Communion," the chaplain said," But you don't have to fast."


"I'll fast," I said. I didn't have even a drop of water.


As I lay in bed that evening I thought to myself what a comforting feeling to be free from fear and worries. I now could simply turn them over to God. Later on, my wife brought in a letter from a little kid in Jersey City. "Dear Babe", he wrote, "Everybody in the seventh grade class is pulling and praying for you. I am enclosing a medal, which if you wear will make you better. Your pal-Mike Quinlan.


P.S. I know this will be your 61st homer. You'll hit it."


I asked them to pin the Miraculous Medal to my pajama coat. I've worn the medal constantly ever since. I'll wear it to my grave.



This is Babe Ruth's last mesquite. It was written with the help of friends

Joe L. Brown (of the MGM Studios which produced "The Babe Ruth Story"*),

Paul Carey, and Melvyn G. Lowenstein not long before the Babe died. The

Guideposts office received it on the fatal day-August 16, 1948.


We bring it to our readers as a notable guidepost to the solution of the serious problem of juvenile delinquency, it is the simple, honest story of a man who relearned what faith meant, and who says so humbly and proudly, knowing it was his most valuable legacy to his fellow man.


Before he died, Babe Ruth demonstrated his love and gratitude to American kids. Through the Babe Ruth Foundation boys will receive scholarships, funds to set up sports programs, and prizes for special achievements-the primary aim of the Foundation to help develop good character among the youth of America.


Albert B. Chandler, Commissioner of Baseball, Ford Frick, President of the National League, Will Harriadge, President of the American League, Eric Johnston, head of the Association of Motion Picture Producers, and Grantland Rice, dean of American sportswriters are some of the directors who will see that it carries on and does a job.


Below is the speech given by Bill Jenkinson at the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame Induction


Tribute To Babe Ruth’s Humanity:

Renowned sportswriter Tommy Holmes of the Brooklyn Eagle and New York Herald-Tribune once wrote:

          “Some 20 years ago, I stopped talking about the Babe for the

            simple reason that I realized that those who had never seen

            him didn’t believe me.”

Wow, can I relate to that!

Whether talking about Babe’s nearly superhuman athletic ability, his legendary showmanship, his extraordinary charisma or his seemingly endless charitable and humanitarian activities, the tale indeed sounds like fiction. Upon Ruth’s death in 1948, famed New York Times columnist Arthur Dailey expressed a similar sentiment:

        “Writing about Babe Ruth is akin to trying to paint a landscape on a

           postage stamp. The man was so vast, so complex and so totally

           incredible that he makes mere words so puny and insignificant. They

           say that truth is stranger than fiction. So was Ruth. No Hollywood

           scenarist would dare borrow fragments of the Babe’s life for use in a plot.

          They would seem much too fantastic for belief.”

So, here we are sixty-two years later, engaging in the joyous ritual of honoring Babe Ruth as a humanitarian. We start by acknowledging that George Herman Ruth was a naturally nice person. Yes, he was a tough kid, growing up wild and reckless on the waterfront streets of Baltimore, resulting in behavior that placed him in a reform school at age seven. Yet, where some boys might have become embittered, not so with young George. He established a demonstrable record of kindness and gentleness for fellow residents, especially with the younger boys as he personally grew into his teenage years.

When he became a professional ball player at age nineteen, Ruth was coarse and crude, but what else could be expected from a youth with such an emotionally crippling background? In those early years, he did struggle to balance his newfound freedom and notoriety, but was never known to be hurtful or mean-spirited. It just wasn’t in Babe’s nature to cause sadness to other human beings. As he matured, Babe Ruth evolved into one of the most charitable and generous souls that anyone could ever meet.

Babe Ruth became actively involved with at least 42 different charities and organizations whose purpose was to serve their fellow man. He regularly visited hospitals, orphanages, prisons, schools, sanitariums and other similar institutions. During a visit to Hawaii In 1933, he spent time at a leper colony despite warnings from local authorities.

 In fact, Babe was the first prominent American athlete to regularly participate in philanthropic activities. Certainly, there were kind-hearted athletes prior to Ruth, but, for whatever reasons, they just didn’t do the things that the Babe did. Essentially, every socially active athlete since Babe Ruth has followed in his footsteps. And please do not indulge in the myth that these activities were performed for notoriety. Dozens of Ruth’s associates have gone on record saying that for every such publicized event, there were, at least, twenty that went unnoticed except to the beneficiaries. 

Babe Ruth made it a habit to champion any worthy cause. Although of German descent, he spoke out against Nazi Germany long before it became fashionable. He sold war bonds throughout World War II, and, when he became terminally ill soon after that great conflict, he volunteered to receive experimental treatment which put his life at risk for even earlier death. Even in his passing, Babe found a way to help mankind. And, even though most modern Americans are unaware of Ruth’s contribution to race relations, it was a very important part of his life.

As early as 1918, at age 23, Ruth began his long journey to integrate Major League Baseball. Men of color from Ruth’s day were well aware of Babe’s efforts on their behalf, and, to a man, told me in numerous interviews of their heartfelt appreciation. In fact, the historical evidence strongly suggests that Babe Ruth did not achieve his lifelong dream of managing a Big League team because of his advocacy of integration.

Some of Ruth’s biographers have implied that he was not hired due to his lack of personal discipline. After years of research, I can lay that fiction to rest. First, when on the ball field, nobody played with more discipline and courage than Babe Ruth. Second, although the Babe liked to party, I can state unequivocally that most stories of Ruth’s rowdiness are vastly exaggerated. Most importantly, I have confirmed that at least half of the franchise owners of Ruth’s day, including Yankee owner Jacob Ruppert, extolled Babe’s qualifications to manage. I am convinced that it never happened because Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis knew that Babe Ruth would have advocated the inclusion of African-American players on any team that he managed.

In the matter of race, Babe Ruth was simply color blind. Wherever he went around the world, including Latin America and the Far East, the Babe loved everybody and everybody loved him. He had the extraordinary capacity to make people of every background and ethnicity feel good about themselves, and this reminds us of Babe Ruth’s greatest legacy. Somehow, this unlikely fellow imbued his fellow man with hope.

Everybody knew his story, and understood his flaws. They saw a man who regularly experienced adversity. He battled weight problems, he became ill, he suffered injuries. Early in his career, Ruth was suspended for different reasons, and, during his entire career, he frequently struck out. But, no matter what happened, he always picked himself up and swung for the fences. People loved him for that. Despite the fame and fortune that he eventually earned, everybody related to Babe Ruth. They were one with him. Folks who were sick or “down and out” would look at Babe, and say to themselves: “If that poor kid from the streets of Baltimore can overcome his problems, so can I.” But when they couldn’t quite get the job done themselves, it was Babe Ruth who they often turned to when help was needed most.

Many folks, even today, have heard the story of young Johnny Sylvester of New Jersey. In 1926, he was very ill, and, desperate for hope, his family reached out to Babe Ruth who was playing in St. Louis during the World Series. After hearing about Johnny’s dire condition, Ruth recorded three prodigious home runs, thereby infusing Sylvester with such positive energy that he immediately began to rally. Upon returning to New York, Babe delayed the start of his first barnstorming game to personally visit Johnny at his bedside. He eventually made a complete recovery. But doesn’t that all sound rather fantastic?

Well, it really happened that way, and it is amazing that this scenario occurred over and over again. In that same year, young Billy Kennedy of Massachusetts was pinned against a gasoline pump during an auto accident. According to the Boston Globe: “Little hope was entertained for the recovery of the boy.” However, Billy’s dad contacted Babe Ruth, and requested an autographed ball. Babe complied, and upon receipt of the gift, the little fellow quickly began to recover. Naturally, Ruth met with Billy at their first opportunity. These requests from the very ill were a regular part of Babe Ruth’s life. When he arrived at Forbes Field on May 25, 1935, where he hit the final three home runs of his fabulous career, Ruth had a message waiting for him from a frantic mother. Once more, there was a dangerously sick child who needed him. Babe’s fortunes were slipping downhill at that moment, but, before taking the field, he made careful arrangements to insure the child’s well-being.

It is difficult to imagine how stressful it would be to carry such a burden: knowing each day that someone was likely to reach out to you in the hope that you could either save them or someone that they held dear. But this was the life that Babe Ruth willingly embraced. In 1928, when traveling by train through the Mid-West on a barnstorming tour, a man suffered a heart attack. Babe was not trained to deal with such medical crises, but, when professional help boarded the train at the next stop, they discovered that Ruth had struggled valiantly for thirty minutes to save the man’s life.

That leads directly to the oddest incident in Major League history. On May 19, 1929, a violent thunderstorm roared past Yankee Stadium, causing the players to run for cover and the game to be delayed. Tragically, there was a stampede for an exit in the right field bleachers, whereupon hundreds of fans were injured, two mortally. Seventeen-year-old Eleanor Price was one of them, and she was carried unconscious across the playing field by a policeman. Babe Ruth saw their approach, and immediately shouted into the stands for a doctor. One gallant physician stepped forward, but he had no equipment with which to help.

So, young Eleanor was carried into the Yankee clubhouse, and when the emergency personnel entered, they found her in Babe Ruth’s arms as he rubbed her head, imploring her to live. When medical intervention was not possible, it had been decided that her best chance was for someone to raise her spirits. Who better than Babe Ruth to do that? It was an impossible task; Eleanor’s injuries were so massive that she never had a chance. Babe probably sensed that, but he tried anyway. And when he failed, he couldn’t overcome his sense of loss. Within a fortnight, Ruth suffered a nervous breakdown which forced him out of the lineup for three weeks.

As always, he resumed carrying his burdens, and continued being Babe Ruth. But, isn’t it difficult to truly comprehend all this? Even though we know by way of careful research that these things actually happened, they still seem implausible. Like Tommy Holmes and Arthur Dailey, whose quotes we heard at the outset, I have given up trying to explain Babe Ruth. Unlike them, I haven’t stopped talking about him. I know that many folks won’t believe what they hear, but I still enjoy trying.

 Babe Ruth is an American original. He belongs to all of us. If someone chooses not to invite him into their heart, it is their loss. If Babe Ruth had not existed, we would almost certainly have invented him, just like other fictional heroes who make us feel good…characters like Paul Bunyan and Superman.

But, thankfully, Babe Ruth did exist. His elegant daughter Julia is with us tonight as proof. Despite his imperfections, Babe left us a legacy of extraordinary kindness, courage, hope and almost unbelievable optimism. Okay, he wasn’t a choir boy, but he didn’t have to be. Ruth left the entire world significantly happier as a result of his all-too-brief time on earth. He instilled us with joy and wonder about just being ourselves. We will never see his like again, and very few others who embody true humanitarianism as did Babe Ruth.

Bill Jenkinson, Baseball Historian

Speaking at the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame

Boise, Idaho

June 12, 2010

Baseball: The Great Bambino’s granddaughter cherishes the memories

Last Updated: June 18, 2010 9:30pm


QMI Agency

ST. MARYS — Few of the lessons from elementary school remain with us for long, but Linda Ruth Tosetti learned something in Grade 8 that changed her life.

That year, she became aware she was the granddaughter of baseball’s biggest legend, the Great Bambino, the Sultan of Swat, Babe Ruth.

“My mother kept it hidden from us because of the Lindbergh kidnapping,” Tosetti said Friday at St. Marys Golf and Country Club. “She was afraid someone would kidnap us, so I didn’t have baseball in my life. I’d ask my mom about her dad and she just said, ‘Oh, he played baseball for a living.’

“Later, when I was in Grade 8, I had a schoolmate tell me who Babe Ruth was and I went home that day and said, ‘Ma, why didn’t you tell me I was famous.’ And she said, ‘because you’re not. You’re lucky to be born in this family and you’ve got a lot to learn.’ Most of all, I came to learn that it was my responsibility to give back in his name.”

Tosetti, who now in Connecticut, has spent much of her adult life representing the Ruth family at functions around the world. She is in St. Marys this weekend for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2010 Induction Day ceremony, and yesterday, she posed for photos and shared stories with other celebrities and fans at the Hall’s annual golf tournament.

“I was born in 1954 (six years after her grandfather died, at age 53), and until the late 60’s when I found out about the Babe, famous people to me were Davy Jones of the Monkees and the actor Tyrone Power. But in 1970, my mother took me to Cooperstown for the first time and I met all the ballplayers and started finding out just who this man was, and of his place in history.

“My grandfather spent his life loving sports, loving golf, loving people. The unique thing about the Babe is that he was not only one of the greatest ball players that ever lived and surely the most famous, he was a champion for the people. He was brilliant at bringing people together.”

Although she didn’t have baseball in her life growing up, Tosetti has since made countless friends through the Grand Old Game. She says the thing that has impressed her the most about her grandfather was not what he accomplished on the ball field but in life.

“The thing I’m proudest of is the way he’d stand up for human rights, with the barnstorming of the Negro Leagues and speaking up for the Mexican leagues,” she said. “He was a prominent German, and signed an anti-Nazi bill for the Holocaust. He did what he could to help people. “

Stratford Beacon Herald

His heart was in everything he did. He was a kind man.”

He did everything with grace, and when I meet him some day, I’ll ask him how he did it.”

Tosetti added that nary a day goes by without someone coming up to her and telling her something about the Babe that she hadn’t heard before.

“Babe is so vast, every time I think I’ve learned everything, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’ comes out of my mouth. And the last breath I take, I know I will say, ‘my grandfather did what?!”

“I learned from my mom that my name is magic. As she reminded me, I’m not famous, it was the Babe that was swinging the bat. But I am very, very lucky that he was my grandfather.”

Stratford Beacon Herald

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