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THE GOLF SWING OF BABE RUTH

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Babe Ruth's Career Highlights

Babe Ruth's impact on American culture still commands attention. Top performers in other sports are often referred to as "The Babe Ruth of ______." He is widely regarded as one of the greatest baseball players in history. Many polls place him as the number one player of all time.

His name comes up anytime home runs are discussed, including Barry Bonds' passing Ruth's career number in 2006. Films have been made featuring Ruth, or a Ruth-like figure ("The Whammer" in The Natural, for example). TV commercials are still made which feature caricatures of Ruth.

In addition to the Yankees dynasty itself, one living monument to Ruth is Yankee Stadium. That part of the legacy will be revised in a few years: Groundbreaking for a new Yankee Stadium, replacing the adjacent structure known as "The House That Ruth Built", took place on August 16, 2006, the 58th anniversary of Ruth's death.

As a sidelight to his prominent role in changing the game to the power game, the frequency and popularity of Ruth's home runs eventually led to a rule change pertaining to those hit in sudden-death mode (bottom of the ninth or later inning).

Prior to 1931, as soon as the first necessary run to win the game scored, the play was over, and the batter was credited only with the number of bases needed to drive in the winning run. Thus, if the score was 3-2 with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, and the batter smacked an "over the fence home run", the game would end at 4-3, with the batter only allowed a double, and the runners officially stopped on 2nd and 3rd (since they weren't needed to win the game). The new rule allowed the entire play to complete, justified on the grounds that the ball was dead and that all runners could freely advance, thus granting the full allotment of HR and RBI to the batter, as we know it today.

Several players lost home runs that way, including Ruth, whose career total would have been changed to 715 if historians during the 1960s had been successful in pursuing this matter. Major League Baseball elected not to retrofit the records to the modern rules, and Ruth's total stayed at 714.

Ruth's widow, Claire, at the unveiling of a memorial plaque in Baltimore's old Memorial Stadium (1955)Another rules change that affected Ruth was the method used by umpires to judge potential home runs when the batted ball left the field near a foul pole. Before 1931, through most of Ruth's most productive years, the umpire called the play based on the ball's final resting place "when last seen". Thus, if a ball went over the fence fair, and curved behind the foul pole, it was ruled foul.

Beginning in 1931 and continuing to the present day, the rule was changed to require the umpire to judge based on the point where the ball cleared the fence. Jenkinson's book lists 78 foul balls near the foul pole in Ruth's career, claiming that at least 50 of them were likely to have been home runs under the modern rule.

Ruth's 1919 contract that sent him from Boston to New York was sold at auction for $996,000 at Sotheby's on June 10, 2005. The most valuable memorabilia item relating to Ruth was his 1923 bat which he used to hit the first home run at Yankee Stadium on April 18, 1923. Ruth's heavy Louisville Slugger solid ash wood bat sold for $1.26 million at a Sotheby's auction in December 2004, making it the second most valuable baseball memorabilia item to date, just behind the famous 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card.

Ruth regularly wintered in Florida, frequently playing golf during the off-season and while the Yankees were spring training in St. Petersburg, Florida. After retirement, he had a winter beachfront home in Treasure Island, Florida, near St. Petersburg.

Indeed, the Sultan of Swat could hit a golf ball prodigious distances. He was known to hit 300-plus yard drives in the days of primitive golf club technology -- actual wooden clubs with hickory shafts.

Despite his poor putting, Ruth could shoot in the 70s, and when he retired he sometimes played in exhibitions with celebrities and top golfers of the day, including another “Babe,” women’s golf phenom Babe Didrickson Zaharias. Information Provided By Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Career batting statistics

Season G AB R H HR RBI BB SO Avg. SLG
1914 5 10 1 2 0 2 0 4 .200 .300
1915 42 92 16 29 4 21 9 23 .315 .576
916 67 136 18 37 3 15 10 23 .272 .419
1917 52 123 14 40 2 12 12 18 .325 .472
1918 95 317 50 95 11 66 58 58 .300 .555
1919 130 432 103 139 29 114 101 58 .322 .657
1920 142 458 158 172 54 137 150 80 .376 .849
1921 152 540 177 204 59 171 145 81 .378 .846
1922 110 406 94 128 35 99 84 80 .315 .672
1923 152 522 151 205 41 131 170 93 .393 .764
1924 153 529 143 200 46 121 142 81 .378 .739
1925 98 359 61 104 25 66 59 68 .290 .543
1926 152 495 139 184 47 150 144 76 .372 .737
1927 151 540 158 192 60 164 137 89 .356 .772
1928 154 536 163 173 54 142 137 87 .323 .709
1929 135 499 121 172 46 154 72 60 .345 .697
1930 145 518 150 186 49 153 136 61 .359 .732
1931 145 534 149 199 46 163 128 51 .373 .700
1932 133 457 120 156 41 137 130 62 .341 .661
1933 137 459 97 138 34 103 114 90 .301 .582
1934 125 365 78 105 22 84 104 63 .288 .537
1935 28 72 13 13 6 12 20 24 .181 .431
Career Statistics 2,503 8,398 2,174 2,874 714 2,217 2,062 1,330 .342 .690

Career pitching statistics

W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR HBP BB SO WPct WHIP AVG BB/9 K/9
94 46 2.28 163 148 107 17 4 1,221.1 974 400 309 10 29 441 488 .671 1.16 .220 3.25 3.60

Ruth was 89-46 with the Red Sox, 5-0 with the Yankees overall.


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