Sporting Heroes: Babe, still the daddy of them all in baseball


George Herman Ruth Jnr, better known as “Babe”, is synonymous with baseball.

The most renowned player of all time has almost as many nicknames as he has home runs, including the “Sultan of Swat” and the “Bambino”.

Born in Baltimore in 1895, Babe was initially a troublemaker and was sent to St Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, which served as both an orphanage and a reformatory.

Many boys at St Mary’s played baseball, and Babe had tried lots of different fielding positions. Brother Matthias, a teacher at the school, recounted how Babe had been laughing at other boys’ pitching. When told to go in and do better himself, he took to it like a duck to water and became the best.

In 1914, Babe signed with the Baltimore Orioles and was soon a star pitcher. He was sold to the Boston Red Sox in July 1914, before becoming more of an all-round pitcher and hitter and winning three World Series titles with them.

In 1919, Babe was sold to the Red Sox’s arch-rivals the New York Yankees. Boston would not win another World Series until 2004. This was dubbed the “Curse of the Bambino”.

Babe would win four more World Series with the Yankees and became the game’s most prolific hitter. Many of his records stand to this day, and he is still ranked third in the all-time list for home runs hit. Yankee Stadium is now referred to by many as the “House that Ruth Built”; a nod to the impact he had on the team.

After a brief stint with the Boston Braves in 1935, Babe (below) retired. He was one of the first five members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. After contracting cancer, Babe passed away in 1948. He is best remembered in his beloved Yankee pinstripes, cigar always in hand.