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Babe Ruth Biography

Becomes A Professional Ballplayer, Chronology, World Series Hero, Career Statistics: Batting, Joins The New York YankeesSELECTED WRITINGS BY RUTH:


American baseball player

As befitting his legendary status in American popular culture, Babe Ruth's exact birth date is a matter of debate. For most of his life Ruth, himself, believed he had been born in Baltimore, Maryland, on February 7, 1894, but when he applied for a passport, the date on his birth certificate read February 6, 1895. Ruth continued to celebrate his birthday on the 7th, and as Robert W. Creamer wrote in Babe: The Legend Comes to Life, "The 1895 birth date is not necessarily the right one. The birth record in Baltimore says only that a male child was born on that day to George and Katherine Ruth." However February 6, 1895 has been recognized as the birth date of George Herman Ruth, Jr. the son of George Herman and Katherine Schamberger Ruth. He was the eldest of eight children though only he and a sister, Mary Margaret, lived past infancy.

George Ruth, Sr. worked at a variety of jobs including a horse driver, a salesman, a streetcar gripman, and a bartender. After working in his own father's saloon (both of Babe Ruth's grandfathers were saloon owners) he eventually ran his own bar on West Camden Street, near the present Camden Yards baseball stadium, home of the Baltimore Orioles.

At age seven Ruth's parents sent him to live at the St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys (whose other notable student was singer Al Jolson), which at that time was both an orphanage and a reform school. Ruth, who was admitted as an incorrigible, spent two separate one-month terms at St. Mary's in 1902, and was a frequent inmate over the next dozen years. In fact, the Xaverian

Babe Ruth

Brothers who ran St. Mary's actually had custody of Ruth during his youth. In 1904 he reentered St. Mary's where he remained for the next four years. After his mother's death on August 23, 1910, Ruth returned to the Home (as St. Mary's was known) for a year. In 1912 he was again back in St. Mary's where he stayed until 1914 when he signed a contract to play professional baseball.

At St. Mary's, Ruth worked in the shirt factory putting collars on the shirts, a piecework job that earned him six cents per shirt. He also came under the spell of the six foot six inch Brother Mathias, the school disciplinarian and the man Ruth, without irony, later claimed had the greatest influence on him. Ruth played his first organized baseball at St. Mary's; the school teams had major league names and Ruth coincidentally played for the Red Sox. He started out as a catcher, but soon switched to pitcher. By the time he was in his late teens he was not only the school's star player but his name was beginning to become known around Baltimore.


The "Home-run King," or, How Pep Pindar Won His Title, New York: A. L. Burt Company, 1920.

Babe Ruth's Own Book of Baseball, New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1928.

(With Bob Considine) The Babe Ruth Story, New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1948.

Sketch by F. Caso

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsBaseball