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Babe Ruth: 'Less than a god but more than a man'

By Eric Sandler

[Scene from 'The Sandlot']

: I was gonna put the ball back.

Squints: But it was signed by Babe Ruth!

Smalls: Yeah, you keep telling me that! Who is she?

Ham Porter: WHAT? WHAT?

Kenny: The sultan of swat!

Bertram: The king of crash!

Timmy: The colossus of clout!

Tommy: The colossus of clout!



Smalls: Oh my god! You mean that's the same guy?

All: YES!

Benny Rodriguez: Smalls, Babe Ruth is the greatest baseball player that ever lived. People say he was less than a god but more than a man. You know, like Hercules or something. That ball you just aced to The Beast is worth, well, more than your whole life.

New York's  Babe Ruth

On August 11, 1929 -- 85 years ago today -- George Herman "Babe" Ruth Jr. became the first baseball player to hit 500 career home runs when he hit the first ball pitched by Willis Hudlin that night on his first at-bat while playing at League Park (formerly Dunn Field) in Cleveland Ohio.

On that day, he must have felt more "god" than "man," and in fact to this day, there have only been 25 other professional baseball players to reach the feat he pioneered.

The newspapers also told of another story the next day: "Babe Ruth Hits 500th Homer; Ball Is Found." As the story goes, the "Sultan of Swat" approached League Park's chief of police, H. Clay Folger, before the game explaining that he would be hitting his 500th home run that night and wanted the ball as a souvenir. As it turned out, the Babe would end up paying $20 to buy back the ball from a wide-eyed fan [read the full story here]. But that was just the type of guy he was -- a legend for the fans, not just the history books.

"Known for devouring the most hot dogs to drinking the most beers to bedding the most women, he possessed an insatiable appetite for life," explained Larry Schwartz, and that's what people loved in equal proportions to every home run he smashed out of the park.

His name was transformed into a definition of the accomplishments he became a legend for -- Ruthian feats. And as such, we remember the Babe today for the Ruthian batting accomplishment that launched an exclusive club few others have joined over the years. Here's to Number 500.

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harry August 11 2014 at 6:34 AM

This was baseball and Ruth is the greatest. Those several years as pitcher deprived him of years with innumerable added home runs which could have been added to his 714 number. He always has been the standard by which other players compare them self. This was an era when the baseball was still being used for 9 inning... no new ball every time the pitcher wanted one. No easy fight after it was hit. Say what you will but Bonds, Aaron, McGuire, Sosa. Although good hitters (with some added incentive, c'ept for Aaron) Ruth will always be the greatest.

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8 replies
bps163 August 11 2014 at 7:43 AM

back in 1929 that players were men, by today standard they would be considered old men! So what do we have today???? Most of the player today are border jumpers, 99% can't speak a scratch of english. But there real fast at given the USA the middle finger or beating up on or killing someone. Yes the team owners have said F=you to the American ball player that started out in little league. And they reach out to find DirtBags from other countries who could care less about American and pay these DirtBags 100s of millions when in their country they only got paid $10.00 a week. Deport them along with the two hundred family members they brought with them.

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10 replies
jfree3813 August 11 2014 at 7:34 AM

Yes and he done it playing in less games every year than they play now . The season was not as long and the way they had to travel was not as go. They would arrive at a city after travling all day and night to play the same afternoon they would arrive in town.

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1 reply
bjamebon3 jfree3813 August 11 2014 at 11:58 AM

Jfree, Not to mention back then they traveled on those grubby old buses with no air condiction there ,or in those grubby hotels.

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revelationmaster August 11 2014 at 4:54 AM

People forget that before he became the Sultan of Swat he was the best lefthanded pitcher in the AL. His slugging percentage in 1921 was well over .800. He was hitting home runs when few others were.

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2 replies
dwtomczyk revelationmaster August 11 2014 at 6:44 AM

he was a pitcher for the red sox. yankees turned him into a hitter

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1 reply
z dwtomczyk August 11 2014 at 8:58 AM

In 1918 - 1919, the Red Sox moved him to the outfield so he could get more at-bats.

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Dode and Dodah revelationmaster August 11 2014 at 8:56 AM

So was some of the greatest Black ball players of the time.

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1 reply
sixshooterjunction Dode and Dodah August 11 2014 at 5:19 PM

And here it is... Just gotta keep the white man down ...

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prncaragorn August 11 2014 at 6:16 AM

The era, the equipmet...will always be head-and-shoulders above any hitter/pitcher since.

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coyotetom August 11 2014 at 6:49 AM

If he was playing today he'd be hitting 60 homers every year!!!

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6 replies
HCC11111 August 11 2014 at 8:12 AM


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1 reply
Warden Edwards HCC11111 August 11 2014 at 1:57 PM

Ruth was garbage then and would'nt make it out of the minors with today's standards. Check out his strike out percentage, lol.

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2 replies
lkfman Warden Edwards August 11 2014 at 3:16 PM

I think someone has lost their mind. Why don't you check out some stats before you post and prove you know nothing about Baseball.
Here's 1 link for you:
K% and BB% | FanGraphs Sabermetrics Library



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rphill2719 Warden Edwards August 11 2014 at 6:32 PM

It's nice that the Internet gives people, such as Mr. Edwards here, to show what complete and utter morons they are. Ignorance is alive and well!!!

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rothomaha August 11 2014 at 9:08 AM

And - this was accomplished with 1) no steroids, 2) no "live" ball, and 3) an obsolete sort of bat. He may have been less than a saint off the field, but what he accomplished was, at least, honest and actually, even better than those subsequent 25 MLB batters.

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2 replies
nnorthcharleston rothomaha August 11 2014 at 11:34 AM

and all done with a old wood bat so old school now a days

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CPA11973 rothomaha August 11 2014 at 12:26 PM

and a very short right field fence.

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thomasgft August 11 2014 at 7:42 AM

"The Sultan of Swat"
I love the nick names.
A truely great player
and legend.

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1 reply
dwtomczyk thomasgft August 11 2014 at 2:18 PM

i prefer "the bambino"

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dwtomczyk August 11 2014 at 6:42 AM

He loved hot dogs from Rutt's Hut

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2 replies
dwtomczyk dwtomczyk August 11 2014 at 6:52 AM

my dad use to take me there. great dog's

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1 reply
savannahswithgod dwtomczyk August 11 2014 at 8:42 AM

DQ use to have great dogs, that has gone in the past as with Ruth. Wendy's fries has joined that trip. I'm thinking Arby's Roast Beef back in the 70's/80's use be softer and juicer too. Thank God McDonalds has kept there fries the way they have. Salute you on that McDonalds.

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mcwald20 dwtomczyk August 11 2014 at 8:38 AM

Great place for some dogs and a beer. You have to go the place in the back for the drinks.

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1 reply
dwtomczyk mcwald20 August 11 2014 at 10:20 AM


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