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27 April: Babe Ruth Day

Apr 27, 2014 03:18PM ● Published by Gene Kirschbaum

Babe Ruth

There was a time when USA had an undisputed national pastime -- baseball.  And there was a time when Babe Ruth (the Babe, the Bambino, the Sultan of Swat, the King of Swing, the Caliph of Clout, the Wizard of Whack, the Athlete of the Century, the Greatest Baseball Player of all Time, the Big Bam) was the undisputed superstar of baseball.  Although Babe began his baseball career at the tender age of 19 as a phenomenal pitcher, he earned his stripes as a slugger -- eventually changing the game from one of low-scoring attrition to high-scoring excitement -- peppered with home runs.  

From his humble beginning, Babe was a handful (at the tender age of seven, he was already chewing tobacco and drinking whiskey), so his folks sent him to St Mary's to acquire some "fetching up."  By the age of 19, he entered his vocation and the rest is history.  Throughout the adventure, Babe never forgot his humble beginnings -- often paying visits to children in hospitals and orphanages. 

(Note:  The Baby Ruth candybar was introduced in 1921, at the height of Babe Ruth's popularity. The Curtiss Candy Company claimed the candy bar was named after Ruth Cleveland, the late daughter of president Grover Cleveland. Frankly, this was just legal shenanigans that allowed Curtiss to name the candybar after Babe Ruth without seeking his permission.  Ruth Cleveland died in 1904 -- 17 years before the candy bar was introduced!)

"Ruth revered Brother Matthias ... which is remarkable, considering that Matthias was in charge of making boys behave and that Ruth was one of the great natural misbehavers of all time."  - George W. Creamer (biographer)

“I know, but I had a better year than Hoover.”  - Reply from Babe Ruth when a reporter objected that the salary he demanded ($80,000) was more than that of President Herbert Hoover ($75,000)

"The outrageous life . . . the don't-give-a-shit freedom of it, the nonstop, pell-mell charge into excess. How did a man drink so much and never get drunk?"  - Leigh Montville (biographer)

"I don't room with Ruth.  I room with his suitcase."  - Ping Bodie (teammate)

“He wasn't a baseball player. He was a worldwide celebrity, an international star, the likes of which baseball has never seen since.”  - Ernie Harwell (broadcaster)

“To understand him you had to understand this: he wasn't human.”  - Joe Dugan (teammate)

"It's hard to beat a person who never gives up."  - Babe Ruth

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