On Saturday the baseball community celebrated the birthday of the game’s greatest player, Babe Ruth. Ruth would have been 115 years old. He was born in 1895 in Baltimore and spent most of his youth in St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys.
It was at St. Mary’s where Ruth learned the game of baseball. He eventually caught the eye of pro scouts, and landed a contract with the minor league Baltimore Orioles. Ruth was then traded to the Boston Red Sox where he was a starting pitcher from 1914 to 1919.
In December of 1919 Ruth was traded to the New York Yankees in the most famous transaction in sports history. In 1920, his first year with the Yankees Ruth hit 54 home runs; in the previous year he only hit 29.
Ruth quickly became the hottest ticket in New York and the Yankees were able build the original Yankee Stadium in 1923. It was literally, “the house that Ruth built.” The Great Bambino also was the first person to hit a home run during the first game at Yankee Stadium.
In 1927 Ruth and the rest of the Yankees had a season that many have deemed the greatest sports team in history. They had a record of 110-44 and swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series. Also during the 1927 season, Ruth hit a record setting 60 home runs that would stand until 1961 when Roger Marris would break the record.
At the end of his career, in 1935, Ruth held 17 major records including those for a single season as well as over a career. Today, however, Ruth only holds on to four records: Career slugging percentage (.690), career on base plus slugging percentage (1.164), most extra base hits in a season (119), and the most times reaching base in a season (379).
Lucky for Ruth those records that remain in his name will more than likely stay that way. However, for baseball those records that Ruth once held are now questioning the sanctity of the game, most notably the home run records.
Currently Barry Bonds holds both the single season home run record (73) as well as the career home run record (762). Bonds passed Mark McGwire for the single season record. McGwire recently admitted to using steroids for the better part of a decade, and now he is back in the game.
Performance enhancing substances are ruining the game. Not just for the fans, but also for the players. Despite the fact that using these enhancing substances may give you a better season, you have to think about the effects to your reputation.
Even if a player is speculated to have taken such substances the media immediately shines a negative light and questions their ability as a player. Knowing the consequences, players are still routinely getting caught taking such substances.
Babe Ruth will always be a legend in sports history. I also don’t see any player in today’s game coming close to his greatness and his lasting legacy. As they said in Sandlot, “A hero get remembered, but a legend never dies.”