An elderly man, well into his late 80's, suddenly remembers with a glimmer in his ancient eye's, his inner child. The child who had to rub his eye's with both hands, just to make sure he was really seeing his hero right in front of him.
Then, he also remembered hearing those magic words from the lips of a man who loved the children just as much as he loved the game of baseball.
"Hiya kid" said George Herman Ruth. Wearing a dark blue pinstriped suit with a bowl hat on while smoking a then legal Cuban cigar.
Suddenly, out of the wood work from every street corner, playground and candy store the kids came running frantically to meet the greatest baseball player of all time.
This was a common occurance back in the roaring twenties. Not just in New York City, but through out the whole United States.
Babe Ruth who was a beast on apposing pitchers on the diamond (and in the pubs), was as gentle as a lamb, when it came to the children who admired him with such joyful faces.
He had never forgotten his humble beginnings in an orphanage in Baltimore, that is why he always dedicated so much time for the kids. He remembered himself in those adoring little eye's.
Babe Ruth had his vises. Oh boy, did he have his vices, but one of those weaknesses, were the children. He could never say no to a child. The same exact way he could never say no to a good time.
That elderly man with a tear in his eye, remembers that special day and how well he was treated by a super star who could have looked the other way, but chose not to.
Today, I won't look the other way either, I won't look away from all the ball players who could not have achieved what The Babe did without Performance Enhancing Drugs.
From, Mark "I plead the fifth" McGuire to Barry "I don't wanna hear about Babe Ruth" Bonds. Also from Sammy "me no speeek eenglish" Sosa to Rafael "I did not have sex with that women" Palmiero.
I won't look away from a whole generation of ball players who cheated the game and The Babe, just becouse they could. They all knew that what they were doing was wrong, that is why they kept quite, or else they would have said " I take steroids."
A-Rod will one day break all of the home run records, but we will know how he did it. He will eventually reach for the stars, but he will have taken the low road to get there.
I won't bother to taint this article by mentioning Manny "gas is up" Ramirez, because what he has done is even worse than PED's, he quit on his team when they needed him the most. That my friends is the lowest of the low.
The man who broke Babe Ruth's all time home run record, Hank Aaron, did it without PED's.He broke that intimidating record with a clean blood stream. For that I salute you Sir, for doing what nobody thought could be done.
Hank Aaron broke that record fair and square, but even he needed almost 4000 more at bats than The Babe to accomplish that feat. Even he has said "there is only one Babe Ruth".
What separates The Sultan Of Swat from every other player in the history of the game is the fact that he was also a high caliber pitcher during the first five seasons of his career.
His first season in the year 1914 he only played in four games. In his second season he played in only 32 games. In his third season he played in 44 games. In his fourth year in the league he only played in 41 games. In his fifth year in the Majors he played in a total of 89 games.
Over all he accumulated a pitching record of 94-46 during the seven years that he pitched for both the Red Sox and the Yankees. An ace by any standard and in any era. His 2.28 lifetime ERA would make him an ace on any pitching staff in any time period.
that is what separates Babe Ruth from the likes of a Barry Bonds or a Mark McGuire or any other ball player for that matter. That is what fascinates me most about The Babe.
How many at bats were wasted by him being a pitcher during his youth?
I have done the math for you, and here are the numbers.
Babe Ruth averaged about 465 at bats during the rest of his career. He had a total of 678 at bats during that time period as a pitcher. If he would have averaged his normal amount of at bats, he would have accumulated 2,325 at bats during those first five years.
If you subtract the 678 at bats that he had from the 2,325 at bats he would have had if he was not a pitcher, he would have had an additional 1,647 at bats
During his career he averaged one home run in every 11.76 at bats. That means he was probably cheating himself out of 140 home runs. He would have probably finished his career with over 8oo home runs. A little less that 75 to 100 more Home runs than Bonds was able to hit.
Of course everywhere you go you'll find the 'Yankee unfaithful' who will most likely say "there is no way that I would know just how many home runs he would have had during those phantom at bats"
My response to those naysayers is alright lets cut that figure in half, lets say he would have had 70 more home runs during his career. Those 70 HRs would have still put him over the top with 784 HRs.
Forget about the fact that a full Major League season consisted of 154 games rather than the 162 games that they play today.
Forget about the fact that the fences were about 60 to 80 feet further than today's ball parks.
Forget about the fact that he swung a tree trunk for a bat, that more likely than not slowed his bat speed a considerable amount.
Forget about the fact that the baseball today is designed to travel much further than the balls that was used during his era.
Forget about the fact that during his era both the American League and the National league each had only eight clubs. Many of today's pitchers would not be talented enough to pitch if we would only have 16 baseball clubs between both Leagues. That means the pitching is watered down due to the 14 extra team rosters.
Who knows how many HR's he would have had under the same conditions we play today. One thing is for sure, the name 'Babe Ruth' will live in the hearts and minds of us all.
Anyone, who is truly intellectually sincere , would have to agree with me, after all the facts that I provided.
Below, you can compare the career stats of Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and the Bambino. You decide who was the true Sultan Of Swat.
George Herman Ruth.
slg % .690
slg % .555
slg % .607
My name is Joseph Jove, and the fat man stands alone...still.