Friday, May 1, 2015

Friday, May 1, 1914 Baltimore vs. Montreal – Game 5

Baltimore 5 Montreal 4 11 Innings – Babe Ruth Relief Pitcher – Winning Pitcher – 1 for 1 at bat 1 RBI

                Babe Ruth came in as a relief pitcher for the Orioles in the tenth inning in a game that was tied 4-4 after nine.  Ruth faced six Royal batters, gave up one base hit and struck out one batter.  In the bottom of the eleventh inning with Eagan on first base and no outs, Ruth doubled to knock in the winning run for a walk off Orioles victory, helping himself to his second win of the year.  With the victory, the Orioles season record was 6-4.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday, April 27, 1914 Baltimore vs. Rochester (Double Header) – Game 3 & 4

Baltimore 2 Rochester 3 – Babe Ruth Pinch Hitter – 0 for 1 at bat

Although the Baltimore Sun stated that Babe Ruth was to pitch in the opening game of the double header, he started for the Orioles in the second game. However, he saw action in the first game as a pinch hitter.

In the first game of a double header against Rochester, the Orioles were behind 3-2. In the eighth inning, Babe pinch hit for the pitcher, Danforth, but struck out. No runs were scored in the last two innings ending in an Orioles loss to the Hustlers 3-2 bringing their season record to 3-2.

Baltimore 1 Rochester 2 – Babe Ruth Starting Pitcher – Complete Game Loss – 0 for 3 at bat

Babe started the second game of the double header. He threw a complete game giving up only 2 runs on five hits and striking out 6. Unfortunately, the Orioles were only able to score one run, on a home run by right fielder Daniels, resulting in a 2-1 loss for the Orioles and Babe’s first loss of the season. Babe walked two men and did not give up any extra base hits. He was 0 for 3 at bat with a strike out. The loss gave the Orioles a 3-3 record for the season.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thursday, April 23, 1914 Baltimore vs. Buffalo – Game 2

Baltimore 3 Buffalo 5 – Babe Ruth Pinch Hitter – 1 for 1 at bat Tripled and Scored 1 RBI

                The day after his first pitching start, Jack Dunn sent in Babe Ruth to pinch hit for the Orioles pitcher Jarman, in the eighth inning.  The Orioles were behind Buffalo 4-0 at the time with a man on base.  Babe tripled to knock in a run, and he also scored putting the Orioles within 2 runs of the Bisons going into the ninth.  But Buffalo scored another run in the ninth, and the Orioles could only get one run back in their last at bat – losing their first game of the year 5-3.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Babe's First 33 Games as an Oriole - Game 1


            101 years ago today, Babe Ruth played his first regular season professional baseball game in Baltimore.

Two months after Babe Ruth was released from Saint Mary’s Industrial School, the nineteen year old southpaw was playing regular season professional baseball games for the Minor League Baltimore Orioles.  He had done well in spring training and even faced competition from some Major League teams in exhibition games.  But in April 1914, the games would count and all baseball would see if this unknown rookie had the talent and discipline to make it in professional baseball.

The circumstances of his introduction to professional baseball were complicated by the fact that a second professional baseball team was playing in Baltimore that spring.  The Baltimore Terrapins of the new Federal League had set up shop and built a brand new ballpark directly across the street from the Oriole’s ballpark.  The Federal League claimed it was a third major league and competed in many major league cities.  A surviving relic of the Federal League is Wrigley Field in Chicago – originally built for that city’s Federal League franchise.

Baltimore’s Federal League team drew much larger crowds than the minor league Orioles, despite the fact that under the leadership of Jack Dunn, the Orioles had a strong team and was in first place going into July.  Because of Baltimore’s infatuation with a supposed new major league franchise, the greatest ball player Baltimore ever produced did not receive the attention he deserved.

In all, Babe Ruth played in 33 games as a Baltimore Oriole.  While not overwhelming, his record in those 33 games showed he was talented with great ability as a pitcher (as well as a batsman).  For a raw rookie, he showed a keen acumen for the game.  There were some glimpses of his power at bat, but clearly he concentrated his efforts as a pitcher, perhaps to the detriment of his hitting.  The record of those 33 games is also reflective of an era in baseball when pitchers were expected to throw complete games, and in the case of Babe Ruth, to also pinch hit, play the field or even serve as a relief pitcher in games where he was not the starting pitcher.

Wednesday, April 22, 1914 Baltimore vs. Buffalo – Game 1 
Baltimore 6 Buffalo 0 – Babe Ruth Starting Pitcher – Complete Game Victory, 2 for 4 at bat

Babe Ruth started the second game of Baltimore Orioles season (The Orioles having won the home opener 7-0 the day before).  He pitched a complete game 6-0 shutout of the Buffalo Bisons.  Babe gave up six hits, only one was an extra base hit (a double), struck out 4 and walked 4 and hit one batter.  He also threw one wild pitch.  Eleven Bison players were left on base (from the six hits, four walks and hit batsman – there were no double plays by the Orioles).  The box score indicates that 13 balls were hit on the ground to infielders (Assists by shortstop – 6, 2nd baseman – 3, pitcher – 3, and 1st baseman – 1).  Six put outs were made by outfielders.  The other 4 put outs were made by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd baseman and shortstop. 

The Orioles scored 3 runs each in the first and third innings.  Babe Ruth also hit two singles at 4 at bats.  The game took 1 hour 54 minutes to play.  Approximately 200 fans showed up to see Babe’s first regular season professional game and his first win as a pitcher.

Article below is from the Baltimore Sun April 23, 1914, page 11:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Billie Holiday and the Babe

Today, April 7, 2015 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Billie Holiday.

So what does that have to do with Babe Ruth?

Well, a few sources state that when Billie Holiday died in 1959, a benefactor wanted to pay for her burial near Babe Ruth - something that never happened since her grave is in the Bronx and Babe is buried at Hawthorne, New York.  That is about the only connection that I could find between the two.

But, I bring up Billie Holiday at this time, because like Babe Ruth - her supposed autobiography, "Lady Sings the Blues," is rife with errors about her early life in Baltimore.

The book begins with this line, "Mom and Pop were just a couple of kids when they got married. He was eighteen, she was sixteen, and I was three."  An admission of birth out of wedlock was shocking in the 1950s.  The first page goes on to state that, "Mom was thirteen that Wednesday, April 7, 1915 in Baltimore when I was born."

The problem with these quotes is that they are all false.  Billie's parents never got married.  She was not born in Baltimore, but in Philadelphia.  Also, according to a new biography by John Szwed, her mother was 19 and her father was 17, when Billie was born.

So when Babe Ruth's Own Book of Baseball states,  "My earliest recollections center about the dirty, traffic-crowded streets of Baltimore's riverfront," and his autobiography (as told to Bob Considine) states, "I spent most the first seven years of my life living over my father's saloon at 426 West Camden Street, Baltimore," it ain't necessarily so.

Virtually nobody refers to Baltimore's harbor or waterfront, as a riverfront.  Although Baltimore is located on the Patapsco River, it doesn't have the look or feel of a traditional river, but an extension of the Chesapeake Bay.  Baltimore natives don't refer to our waterfront as a riverfront, a clue that Babe Ruth probably had little to do with details about his youth in his "Own Book of Baseball."  

As will be seen in this blog, Babe Ruth did not live over his father's saloon on Camden Street until he was six years old, so he couldn't have spent most of the fist seven years of his life there.  

So-called autobiographies of celebrities, especially when they are as told to someone or written with someone else must be taken with a grain of salt.  While they may provide some useful information, they should not be taken as gospel.  Such is the case with both Billie and the Babe.

Friday, December 26, 2014

406 West Conway Street

While conducting my research on Babe Ruth, I was always on the look out for old photos of his father's saloons especially on Camden Street and Conway Street, but never ran across any.

Recently I came across the attached photo looking down at Camden Station from the Bromo Seltzer Tower.  I contacted the B&O Museum (the source for the photo) and was sent a digital copy.  I also understand this photo is on display near the 8th floor elevators of the warehouse at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

What interested me, were the buildings west of the warehouse (today the outfield bleachers and playing field of the Orioles). Ruth's Conway Street saloon can be seen about a third of the way from the bottom of the photo along the right edge.

I copied an image from a 1914 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map and inserted it next to an enlarged section of the photo showing the saloon.  I placed it upside down to aid comparison between the photo and map. One can easily identify the unusually shaped warehouses across from the saloon on both map and photo.  One of the buildings is identified as a Paper Warehouse on the map, and the word "Paper" is visible on a painted sign in the photo at the same location.

Although the saloon appears to be directly across the 4 story tall building on the map, not the back of the 6 story paper warehouse as shown in the photo - the photo was taken from the Bromo Seltzer Tower at the northeast corner of Lombard and Eutaw Street, skewing the angle.

A store and dwelling on Conway Street east of the saloon can also be identified on both the photo and map.

Although it is not the clearest image; it is taken from above; and it shows the side of the saloon along Little Paca Street, not the front on Conway Street; the building circled is definitely Ruth's Conway Street saloon.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ten New Babe Ruth Facts

Since the following narrative is a bit long, I am presenting these ten bullet points highlighting new facts about Babe Ruth's early life in Baltimore:

  • Babe Ruth's grandfather was an inventor who held five patents.
  • Babe Ruth's first home was on the outskirts of Baltimore not in the vicinity of Camden Yards.
  • Babe Ruth did not grow up living over a saloon from birth; his father first owned a saloon when he was six years old.
  • The Baltimore branch of Jacob Ruppert's Brewery was seven doors from Babe Ruth's father's saloon on Camden Street [The Ruppert family owned the New York Yankees from from 1915-1945]. 
  • Babe Ruth was the product of a broken home; his parents divorced in 1906 when he was eleven years old.
  • Babe Ruth's mother, Katie, had a drinking problem; she may have been an alcoholic.
  • Babe Ruth's father, George, appears to have cared more about running a bar than caring for his family.
  • Babe Ruth's name first appears in the Baltimore Sun as a participant in a minstrel show at Saint Mary's Industrial School when he was thirteen years old.
  • Babe Ruth is listed in the 1915 Baltimore City Directory as a ballplayer living at 552 West Conway Street.
  • The bar fight that led to Babe Ruth's father's death may have been related to an earlier dope selling incident at his father's saloon.