Friday, May 13, 2016

Babe Ruth Astrology

     OK, this posting is not really about astrology.

     I've never believed in it, but I have always wondered whether Babe Ruth's birth at a certain time and place had something to do with him becoming baseball's greatest slugger.  After all, his birth in February 1895 was just after the Old National League Baltimore Orioles had won their first pennant in September 1894.  The team would go on to win three straight from 1894-96.  Were the celestial stars aligned over Baltimore at that time to produce a baseball star?

     On the other hand, a February birth has little to do with baseball and has been problematic for the present day Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum to hold a bash in Babe's honor at a time when sports fans are thinking more about the Super Bowl than baseball.

     So, I began to wonder if the time of conception may be a better prognosticator than the time of birth.  It appears that some astrological websites have debated the same thing, but I must admit my eyes begin to glaze over when I read about what house the moon is in when what star is ascending.

     Nevertheless, since Babe Ruth was born on February 6, 1895, it is likely that he was conceived (out of wedlock) in early May of 1894.  It so  happens that this was a propitious time for baseball slugging in Baltimore.

     Long before Frank Robinson hit a ball out of Memorial Stadium (fifty years ago last Mother's Day) which was marked by a flag displaying the single word, here ... another Hall of Fame player, Dan Brouthers, in his only season as an Oriole, hit a ball out of Baltimore's Union Park on May 4, 1895.  

     This accomplishment was also celebrated by painting the word, here, on the outfield fence of the ballpark to identify the spot where the ball flew out onto Guilford Avenue.  It tuns out that this was just one of three monster home runs that Dan Brouthers slugged in Baltimore between May and July of 1894.  See the following account from the book,  Baseball's Ultimate Power, by Bill Jenkinson:

     So, did  the growing embryo that was to become a great bambino, somehow absorb the slugging momentum taking place in Baltimore in the Spring/Summer of 1894 which would later manifest itself into baseball's Sultan of Swat in the 1920s.

     I still  don't believe in astrology, but it is a remarkable coincidence that the  late nineteenth  century's longest home run was taking place at roughly the same time and place when the early twentieth century's greatest home run hitter was developing in utero.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday, July 10, 1914 Baltimore vs. Newark – Game 33

Baltimore 0 Newark 8 – Babe Ruth Starting Left Fielder – 0 for 3 at bat sacrifice bunt

               In his last game as an Oriole, Babe Ruth started in left field batting sixth in the lineup.  He was hitless in three at bats, striking out once, walking once and he also had a sacrifice bunt (the first of his professional career).  The game was scoreless through five, but the Indians scored 8 runs in the last four innings for an 8-0 victory, dropping the Orioles season record to 48-27.

               After the game, Babe Ruth accompanied by Eagan and Shore took the train to Boston.  On Saturday, July 11, 1914, he started his first major league game pitching for the Boston Red Sox versus the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park.  His first major league stay was only for two games, as he was sent down to the minors in August.  Now playing for the Providence Grays he defeated the Orioles twice as Providence took the International League pennant.   

               The Orioles won nearly two-thirds of the games they played with Ruth on the team.  After he and many of Dunn’s star players were sold, the team lost nearly two thirds of their games in the second half of the season falling below .500 as the season came to a close.

After the International League season ended, Ruth returned to the Red Sox for the last few games of their season.  In 1915, Babe Ruth made the Red Sox major league roster and was a starting pitcher.  He never played again in the minors, except for exhibition games.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Thursday, July 9, 1914 Baltimore vs. Newark – Game 32

Baltimore 5 Newark 7 – Babe Ruth Starting Left Fielder – 1 for 4 at bat doubled and scored

               On the day that it was announced that Jack Dunn sold Babe Ruth to the Boston Red Sox with Eagan and Shore, he started the game as the Orioles left fielder batting sixth.  He batted one for four, with a double and scored a run in a 7-5 losing effort.  The Orioles season record fell to 48-26. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Monday, July 6, 1914 Baltimore vs. Providence – Game 31

            With the Orioles leading the Grays 4-3 in the seventh inning, Babe Ruth was sent in to relieve pitcher Cottrell who had loaded the bases with one out.  The tying run scored on a sacrifice fly, but Babe was able to get out of the inning.  The Orioles came back with two runs in their half of the seventh.  Babe kept the Grays scoreless in the next two innings earning a victory.  He did not give up a hit in 2 2/3 innings, and struck out 1, walked 1 and threw 1 wild pitch.  His victory gave him a 13-6 record, with the Orioles earning a 48-24 record for the season – the team’s high water mark.   

                Babe would only play two more games as a position player, as Jack Dunn began selling off his star players, and the Orioles lost their next three games.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Saturday, July 4, 1914 Baltimore vs. Providence (First Game of Double Header) – Game 30

Baltimore 4 Providence 3 – Babe Ruth Starting Pitcher – Complete Game Victory – 1 for 4 at bat doubled scored

               In the first game of a Fourth of July double header, Babe Ruth pitched a 4-3 complete game victory.  He gave up 6 hits, struck out 7, walked 1, hit one batsman, and threw one wild pitch.  After giving up two runs in the first inning, he settled down while the Orioles took a 4-2 lead scoring one run each in 4 separate innings.  Babe gave up a run in the seventh, but retired the Grays in the last two innings to preserve the victory, giving him a 12-6 record and the Orioles a 47-22 record for the year.  He also hit a double in the game.  It was the Orioles fifth win in a row.  After the game, Babe asked Dunn for the rest of the day off – but not to rest.  Instead he went back to his alma mater, St. Mary’s Industrial School, to pitch in an afternoon game there.  This would turn out to be Babe’s last pitching start as an Oriole.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday, June 27, 1914 Baltimore vs. Buffalo (Double Header) – Game 28 & 29

Baltimore 4 Buffalo 3 – Babe Ruth Pinch Hitter – 0 for 1 at bat

            With the Orioles down 3-1 in the eighth inning of the first game of a double header against Buffalo, Ruth pinch hit for pitcher Danforth but made an out.   However, the Orioles scored 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth for a walk off victory.  

Baltimore 10 Buffalo 5 – Babe Ruth Starting Pitcher – Complete Game Victory – 1 for 4 at bat

               Babe was the starting pitcher in the second game of the double header.  Although he had a rough first inning giving up three runs, he shut out the Bison in the next seven innings.  In the meantime, the Orioles closed the gap by scoring one run in both the first and second innings.  In the fifth, they jumped to the lead with five runs and scored three more insurance runs, bringing a 10-3 lead into the ninth inning.  Babe gave up two more runs in the ninth, but finished the game with a 10-5 victory.  He was also one for three at bat and stole a base.  The win gave him an 11-6 record with the Orioles achieving a 44-22 record for the season.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thursday, June 25, 1914 Baltimore vs. Toronto – Game 27

Baltimore 13 Toronto 8 – Babe Ruth Relief Pitcher – 5 Innings – No Decision – 0 for 1 at bat Scored
              Starting Orioles pitcher Danforth, couldn’t get anyone out in the first inning giving up 6 runs on 6 hits and a walk.  Relieved by Davidson, the Maple Leafs added a seventh run before the Orioles had their turn at the plate.  But the Orioles came back with three runs in the first, three runs in the second and three runs in the third to take a 9-7 lead.  With two men on and no out in the fifth inning, Babe Ruth relieved Davidson.  Babe gave up one run, making the score 9-8, but held the lead after that.  The Orioles scored four more in the fifth to close out the scoring with a 13-8 victory.  Babe Ruth faced 14 batters, gave up 1 run on 3 hits with 4 strike outs and 3 walks.  Since he came in while the Orioles were leading, he should not be credited with a victory.  The win gave the Orioles a season record of 42-21.