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"How to hit home runs: I swing as hard as I can . . . I swing big, with everything I've got. I hit big or I miss big. I like to live as big as I can."

— Babe Ruth

Autographed ball, 1926
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Signed by Ruth and 26 other Yankees, this ball was a get-well gift for Elliot Spencer, a young neighbor of the Yankees' manager. Before Ruth and cork-centered balls, home runs were rare. Ruth regularly drove the ball into the stands or out of the park. Fans lined up for autographs, which he gladly provided.

— Gift of Elliot Spencer Family

Babe Ruth
Baseball Superstar

Babe Ruth is, without question, the single greatest presence in the history of American baseball, the one player who will always define "the slugger."

Ruth created a sensation. In his 15 seasons with the Yankees, Ruth and his team won seven pennants and four World Series. Aggressively compiling records, Ruth glamorized baseball. "The Sultan of Swat" hit more than 40 homers per season in 11 seasons—a record never equaled—and 60 in one season. Before he retired in 1935, Ruth hit 714 career home runs, a record few players have even approached.

Fans loved Ruth. Newspapers chronicled his home runs and the printable aspects of his personal life. He made the game livelier, perfect for the new medium of radio. The Ruth-dominated 1922 World Series was the first to be broadcast. The uninhibited superstar gave regular interviews, posed for advertisements, acted in movies, and barnstormed the country showcasing his dazzling ability and flippant personality. He was the athletic embodiment of his times, the speakeasy-flapper-Jazz-Age hero. During the Depression, many Americans identified with his rags-to-riches story. When the "Bambino" died in 1948, the nation mourned the passing of the world's greatest baseball player.

Name: George Herman Ruth, Jr.
Born: Baltimore, Maryland, 1895–1948
  • World Series Champion, 1916, 1918, 1926, 1928
  • 714 career home runs and record 40 home runs in each of 11 seasons
  • Led League in home runs 12 times
  • Highest all-time slugging pct. (.690)
  • 7-time American League Pennant winner
  • The Associated Press' Athlete of the Century, 1999
  • The Sporting News' Greatest Player of All Time, 1999
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