George Herman Ruth was possibly the greatest baseball player of all time; certainly he was the most famous. He was the “Sultan of Swat,” the “Bambino,” or simply the “Babe.”
Babe Ruth made the home run a new force in baseball, and so changed the way the game was played. Fans in enormous numbers came to see him hit. In the 1920s, at the peak of his game, Babe Ruth was as well known as anyone in America.
Ruth began his major-league career with the Boston Red Sox in 1915 – as a pitcher. He became one of the best in the league, pitching a remarkable 29 straight scoreless innings in World Series play. But he was also so powerful a hitter that he played in the outfield between pitching starts. In 1919, pitcher-outfielder Ruth hit 29 home runs, breaking the season record set in 1884.
In 1920, Ruth, now a full-time outfielder, became a New York Yankee and his career climbed to new heights.
Home runs crashed off his bat at an astonishing pace – 54 in his first Yankee season.
In 1921, he hit 59 home runs. Ruth used a heavy 52-ounce bat and took a long stride, his quick powerful swing with its slight uppercut sent home runs soaring over high fences. In 1927, he hit 60 homers, still the record for a 154-game season.
Over his twenty year major league career, 1915 to 1935, Babe Ruth had a home run for every 11.78 times that he came to bat.