On January 5, 1920, the New York Yankees announced its purchase of the heavy-hitting outfielder George Herman “Babe” Ruth from the Boston Red Sox for the sum of $125,000. Here are five things you didn’t know about Babe Ruth.
He Punched Out An Umpire During A Game Ruth was known to have a huge temper and equally enormous ego, like many elite athletes. In 1917, when he was started in a game against the Senators, he became so frustrated by umpire Brick Owens’ calls that he punched him behind his left ear before being dragged off the field by policemen. He was fined $100 and replaced by Ernie Shore who retired twenty-six batters in the game, beating the Senators 4–0.
He Was Nicknamed “Babe” When He Joined The Orioles George Herman Ruth, Jr. was only nineteen years old in 1914 when he started playing for the Baltimore Orioles, which was a minor league team at the time. In order to validate his $250 contract, Jack Dunn, who owned and managed the team, had to take him under his legal guardianship because the age of majority was 25 at that time. When he first encountered the Orioles players, he was referred to as “Jack’s newest babe.” This nickname was shortened to “Babe” in public. Interestingly, over the course of his career, his teammates found it weird calling him Babe, instead preferring “The Big Fellow,” “Bam” and “Jidge.”
Ruth Made His Debut As A Pitcher While most people know Babe Ruth for his phenomenal 714 home runs, he actually started out as a very dominant left handed pitcher in the 1910s. During this time, he played for the Boston Red Sox, with who he won eighty nine games in 6 seasons. Once he joined the New York Yankees in 1920, his position was changed to an outfielder after just 5 games. As a member of the New York Yankees, he helped them win four World Series and seven American League pennants.
Ruth Was the Highest-Paid Player in Baseball His first contract with the Yankees saw him bag a staggering $20,000 salary and by 1930, it had hit the $80,000 mark, which was the highest a baseball player had ever being paid. In fact, he earned more than the president at that time, Herbert Hoover, whose salary was $75,000. There is a legend that, when asked about earning more than the president, Ruth shrugged off the question, claiming, "Why not? I had a better year than he did." During his career, Babe Ruth made approximately one million dollars in wages and bonuses and even more from endorsements, writings, and other ventures.
He Retired In A Braves Uniform Ruth began his major league career in Boston with the Red Sox and ended it there, but not with the same jersey. After the Yankees dropped him for his waning performance in 1935, Ruth signed with the Boston Braves hoping to become the team’s manager the next season. But when it seemed that his skills had weakened significantly, the promise was not kept and he decided to hang his boots in a Braves uniform. This marked the end of his twenty two-year career as a baseball player, having played only 28 games for the Braves.