I am here today to issue a challenge.
I declare that we strip Barry Bonds of the "Home Run King" title, until we hold these athletes to the same standards.
Roger Maris had a better argument when he took the crown, he got seven extra games. Bonds received more games, shorter outfield fences, a bouncier ball, and I'm not even going to mention the whole "Growth Enhancement" thing.
The truth is, no one knows why or how Babe was able to hit so many home runs. Honestly, if someone did, I would prefer they never told me. That mystique is such a large part of the legend that is Babe Ruth.
When he first came to New York in 1923, Ruth wasn't quite an established veteran. Though it is true that he never had to struggle in the sport of baseball. He hit the first home run in the first Yankee Stadium. I mean, he homered 59 times in just his second year with they Yankees, a feat that would not be matched until 1961.
But the mere number of home runs is not even the most staggering element of his game. The best part is that he was hitting nearly 60 while most others were hitting up to 10 at most.
And while there are some theories as to this Yankee's success, (such as the new ball made of thicker yarn, and more rubber around that, which if this was the case, Ruth was the only recipient of the new ball) but none can completely explain why he had such great success while the rest of the AL, and moreover the NL, were in ten year batting slumps.
And after his first incredible season of batting, the rest of the AL was able to catch up somewhat, though no one got within 20 home runs of him, even when he wasn't breaking his own records. Not even to mention his first year pitching for the Red Sox, he went 23-12 with an ERA of just 1.75. Oh yeah, he pitched too.
Or you might like the fact that he was one of the cockiest men to be so beloved by everyone he came into contact with. You remember those childhood stories of Ruth calling that home run in game seven of the World Series against the Cubs?
Well I am sure that you know that whole story about how he went to the plate being mocked by the Cubs team and by many fans, as well.
The first pitch is thrown, strike one is called. Now he turns to the Cubs bench, and holds up his index finger signaling one.
Pitch two is thrown, strike two is called. And now he turns to the bench, and holds up two fingers. Then proceeds to add that he was going to knock this one right down their "..Goddamn throats".
He then proceeded to point into dead on center field. Nearly the exact spot in which he pointed. Wow, they never showed that in Disney's 'Everybody's Hero'.
Then there was the 1927 team. In which he and Gehrig dominated every batting category in the league. And was eventually voted as the Greatest Team in Baseball History. Which means of all the teams in baseball history, they stand alone as the best.
And then there was Ruth off the field. He loved being with women, he loved to drink and eat. But one thing that Babe loved, possibly more than anything else, was children.
Ruth often claimed that he was an orphan, though proven somewhat false. He lived with his parents until he was seven, then was placed in a home for boys. Where eventually, he was discovered by a Baltimore Orioles talent scout.
And the rest? Well, the rest was simply fate.