On this historic day, May 25, 1935, Babe Ruth hits his 714th home run
On this day in history, May 25, 1935, at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, baseball great Babe Ruth hit his 714th home run – a career home run record that would stand nearly 40 years.
“It was one of Ruth’s last games and the last home run of her career,” History.com noted of the accomplishment.
“Ruth went four for four that day, hitting three home runs and driving in six runs.”
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During this memorable baseball game, Ruth broke his 712th, 713th and 714th homers.
Those last career home runs set a Major League Baseball record that would stand until 1974, when Hank Aaron passed him en route to 755, according to multiple sources.
Ruth had only played in Pittsburgh once before, when the Yankees defeated the Pirates in the 1927 World Series.
By the time of her return to Forbes Field in Pittsburgh in 1935, Ruth “had become an aging player whose titanic shots would become her last hurrah before retiring eight days later after several less impressive performances,” Sports Illustrated noted.
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“Had Ruth retired to Pittsburgh, his playing career epitaph would have been even more heroic.”
Ruth boasted an impressive number of homers in a career spanning 22 seasons – but the May 25 game was only the second time he hit three home runs in a single game, the same site says .
First of 8 children
Born George Herman Ruth on February 6, 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland, he was the first of eight children. Only he and a sister survived infancy, says History.com.
Her father was a saloon keeper on the Baltimore waterfront.
As a youngster, Ruth was known as “Gig” in her family and faced issues in her youth, the same source explains.
At age seven, his truancy from school led his parents to send him to an orphanage, St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys.
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“Ruth lived there until he was 19 in 1914, when he was signed as a (minor league) pitcher by the Baltimore Orioles,” History.com explains.
Ruth, who was also known as “The Bambino” and “The Sultan of Swat”, was given the name “Babe” because he was a favorite of Orioles owner Jack Dunn, according to baseball folklore.
He was over six feet tall and weighed over 200 pounds.
Other players started calling him “Jack’s new baby”, and the name stuck.
There’s also the legend that Ruth earned the nickname ‘Babe’ when a sportswriter called her one of ‘Dunn’s Girls’, notes Britannica.com.
Ruth had a towering stature: he was over six feet tall and weighed more than 200 pounds, the site says.
Before the end of the 1914 season, Ruth’s performance as a pitcher was so impressive that Dunn sold Ruth to the Boston Red Sox of the American League.
That same year, Ruth courted and married waitress Helen Woodford, Britannica notes.
Ruth shone as a pitcher.
In 1920, Ruth traveled to the Bronx to join the New York Yankees.
Between 1915 and 1919, he won 87 games, had an ERA of just 2.16, and won three World Series games (one in 1916 and two in 1918). During a World Series scoreless inning streak, he set a record by pitching 292 in three straight innings.
Then it was announced on Jan. 5, 1920, that Ruth was heading to the Bronx to join the New York Yankees, according to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
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The transaction had been formalized a week earlier; Ruth would become an American League franchise rival.
Newspapers across the country shared the news, the source said, with a headline such as: ‘Red Sox Sell Ruth for $100,000 Cash’ from The Boston Globe; “Ruth Bought by Americans of New York for $125,000, Highest Price in Baseball Records”, from The New York Times; and “New York Yankees buy Babe Ruth from Boston Red Sox” from the Chicago Tribune.
Ruth had a slow start to 1920 as a Yankee, says the Society for American Baseball Research, and had a disappointing April, due to a sprained right knee.
But he turned it around — and started May with homers in back-to-back games against the Red Sox.
“He then set a Major League record for the month with 11 home runs,” the Society for American Baseball Research said. “He finished the year with an unfathomable 54 home runs. He topped 14 of the other 15 major league teams.”
Ruth hit 14.6% of 369 home runs in the American League, the same site reported.
Ruth’s final outburst, which was also his last shot before he left baseball for good, came out of the stadium.
Major League Baseball is commemorated with the number 714, according to Smithsonian Magazine, and has been a benchmark for home runs since Babe Ruth batted his last on May 25, 1935, while playing for the Boston Braves.
He hit three home runs that game, and his final hit, which was also his last hit before leaving baseball for good, came out of the ballpark. That home run, the same source says, rests in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
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His tally of 714 would wipe out the 138 career homers recorded by former record holder Roger Connor, the publication adds.
On January 29, 1936, the American Baseball Hall of Fame elected its first members in Cooperstown, New York: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Matthewson and Walter Johnson, History.com reported.
Ruth died of throat cancer on August 16, 1948.
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Ruth’s record for career home runs remained unbroken until Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run on April 8, 1974 – 39 years later – says History.com