“The Sultan Of Swat” Essay, Research Paper
Babe Ruth ” The Sultan of Swat ” George Herman Ruth Jr. is by far one of Americas greatest sports heroes. He is known primarily for his great baseball exploits and secondary as a man who stayed out late before every game and partied until there was no one left to party with. There is more behind the story of Babe Ruth than just baseball and parties. As a boy Ruth was your average youth who got himself into a little to much trouble and paid the price. As an adult he was a husband and a father who cared more about his family than he liked to show. George Ruth was a baseball hero and an alcoholic, but nobody s perfect. I plan on exploring Babe Ruth s life and noting the good and bad points of Americas greatest Baseball hero. George Herman Ruth Jr. was born on February 6, 1895 in his grandparents house at 216 Emory St. in the tough water front section of Baltimore. Babe Ruth s parents Kate and George Herman Ruth were 19 and 23 when they had their first child, George Jr. The young father earned his living as a bar tender in a combination grocery store-saloon near the Baltimore water front. Babe was not an only child. He did have a sister named Mary Margaret, also known as Mamie, who was born in 1900. The Ruth s did have six other children, but none of them survived to adulthood. Soon after Mamies birth his father opened his own tavern at 426 West Camden St. The family would later move into an apartment above the bar. George spent the first 7 years of his life running around the Bay area watching street fights and stealing from the shop keepers. It didn t take long before he was known well by local police. When he was 7, Kate and her husband finally decided they could no longer tend to the mischievous boy, and brought him to St. Mary s Industrial School for Boys. Despite his crying and begging to be brought home, his custody was singed over to a group of strange men dressed in black robes. Though he didn t realize it at the time, this would become his home throughout his young adolescence. George was released to live with his family on a few occasions, but one way or the other he would return to St. Mary s. George didn t adjust well to his new home. Living on the streets was the life he was accustom to and now that there were rules to follow he was beginning to feel miserable and regretful. To add to that pain was the knowledge that he had been abandoned by his mother and father. After two years of living at St. Mary s not one of his relatives came to visit. He began to feel neglected saying that he was to fat or ugly for anyone to want to see him. Fortunately he found someone he could trust and respect. Someone that boosted his morale and made him feel good about himself. The person responsible for this act of kindness was Brother Mathias. He acted like a father to him. He taught George to read and write and the difference between right and wrong. Brother Mathias was a giant 6 6 and well built to about 250 pounds, which meant he could accomplish any objective without raising his voice or using physical force. The first time George swung a baseball bat was at the school. He knew then he was to be a hitter. He said to a friend, It was one of those things you could just feel. (59) Brother Mathias taught him to be a better ball player. He schooled Ruth in the fundamentals of the game. George finally had something to be happy about. He had Brother Mathias his new father-figure and he had baseball. Babe Ruth became a great baseball player while at St. Marys. Even when he was young he was playing in the higher age divisions. By the time he was nine he was playing on the 12 year old team. When he was 12 he was competing with the 16 year olds. And at the age of 16, he was playing on the varsity team. Because of Ruths amazing talents he was given a chance to play at a higher level. In February of 1914, shortly after Ruths 19th birthday, Jack Dunn, the manager of the Baltimore Orioles, and St. Mary s Xavernian Brothers agreed on a contract between George Ruth and the Baltimore Orioles. Ruth played great for the team while a member. Unfortunately for the Orioles because of financial problems and the fact that Ruth was the best player on the team, he was sold to the Boston Red Sox for $2,900 only five months after he was signed. Ruth was not bothered by the change having been a member with the team for such a short time. Babe Ruth performed great where ever he played. When he was signed to the Red Sox he did great things for them. He didn t just play baseball while he was in Boston. This is where he would meet his first wife to be. She was Helen Woodford, whom at the time was a waitress, working at a local cafe called Landers Coffee Shop. She waited on George every weekday morning. One morning he confronted her and asked, How about you and me getting married, hun? (183) It only took her a few minutes to think before she replied, yes. After only three months of being aquatinted they had tied the knot. Helen was shy, reserved, and quiet. She was the exact opposite of her husband. George liked to go out drinking almost every night. Their marriage lasted legally for fifteen years but only the first few were happy. From there on, despite his intentions, the more famous Babe became, the farther they drifted apart. Playing with the Red Sox was a great time for Ruth. Even though his teammates at first made fun of him because of his looks, he still enjoyed the game. Of course, it couldn t have hurt too much, considering they were too scared to say it to his face. Even so to the Red Sox Ruth was a savior, though none of his teammates looked at it that way. If it wasn t for Babe, they probably never would have won the World Series three times in four years, (1915, 16, & 18). He also set a record when he pitched 29 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in the 1916 and 1918 World Series, a record which still stands today. And in 1919 Ruth shocked the baseball world by hitting 29 homers in a season, something that was never thought of in his days. Yes, sir the Red Sox really had it good when they got Ruth. He was someone that every team wanted, and unfortunately would have a chance to get, for the Red Sox were about to make the biggest mistake in Franchise history. In 1920 Ruth was traded to the New York Yankees for $125,000. He was traded because the team and Harry Frazee, the manager of the team were in debt. Of course, when he was traded things would never be the same. As everybody knows, the Red Sox have not won another world series since. By 1921 Babes marriage was a mess. He would be on long road trips and was hardly home. Helen got very upset by this. Their home was in Sudbury, Mass. which meant George would only be able to visit when he was playing in Boston. Helen was getting tired of being home in such a big house by her self. So in an effort to relieve Helen of her loneliness, in 1921 George adopted a baby daughter, whom they named Dorothy. She brought much happiness to the couple, but unlike George had hoped her arrival did not repair their marriage. It s not that George was a bad husband but between the many differences the couple had and the fact that George was obligated to play baseball, which was his job, that they knew it was not going to work out. Ruth and Helen never got a divorce, because of religious beliefs, but still the Babe dated other women. There was this one woman in particular that George grew very fond of. Her name was Claire Hodgson, a pretty and brainy young widow from Georgia, who had come to New York in 1920 with her three year old daughter Julie. She was introduced to the Babe in 1923 while she was at a casino in New York. Shortly after their introduction they had fallen in love but couldn t get married because he was still married to Helen. This would change soon enough. One night while Helen was sleeping in her home a serious problem occurred. There was an electrical failure which caused a large fire to burn down the house and it took Helen with it. The death of Helen would now allow Claire and George to get married. So they did so on April 17, 1929. Luckily Dorothy was not in the house at the time of the fire. Since Helen had been killed the couple received custody of Dorothy. As expected Ruth played great baseball for the Yankees. He broke all of his old season highs in batting.. Beside putting up incredible statistics, Babe Ruth helped lead the Yankees to World Series championships as well. They won four World Series in fact, in 1923, 27, 28, and 32. When Yankee Stadium was built, in the Bronx in 1923, it became known as the House that Ruth Built . Indeed, you can say this man made himself into somewhat of a legend. He was also given many nicknames during his glory years. Probably the most famous being Sultan of Swat . Babe Ruth finished his career with the Boston Braves in 1935, after being released by the Yankees. He signed a one year deal with the Braves. Ruth was told he would manage the team after the year was over. Mid way through the season George found out that he was just being used to draw crowds, but still finished out the season because he was under contract. Ruth dreamed of managing a major league team, but never got that chance because of his wild reputation. In 1948 after two years of heart problems Babe Ruth passed away. He died at 8:01 p.m. on August 16th at Memorial Hospital at the age of 53. If you wanted to say George Ruth had it made all his life, you could. He made a lot of money, had two great wives and two great children, played the game he loved, partied half his life, and broke all the standing baseball hitting records of his time. But I bet if you were able to ask him today if he felt he had it made, he would probably say no. He did many great things on the field, but you have to remember the only way he became a star was by losing something every child needs, his parents. George Ruth had it all and was every little boys idol, but it didn t come easy.