In 1914, George Herman Ruth, a 19 year old left handed pitcher, debuted for the Boston Red Sox. In 1915, Ruth won 18 games with a 2.44 ERA. The following season, he led the league in ERA and shutouts, winning 23 games.
The following season, he won 24 games with a 2.01 ERA. Ruth also hit .325 that season, and in 1918, the Red Sox decided to experiment. They would play Ruth in right, or at first, for games that he didn't pitch. That season he hit .300, led the league in homers with 11, and in OPS.
For the 1919 season, the Red Sox decided to make the switch full time. Ruth played 130 games in the field, hitting .322, walking 101 times, and leading the league in OBP, SLG, and OPS. The Red Sox slugger hit 29 homers that season, shattering the previous record.
After the 1919 season, Ruth was sold to the Yankees, and well, the rest is history. That season, 1920, Ruth hit .376, walked 150 times, and obliterated his own record, hitting 54 home runs.
The next year, he broke his record again. hitting 59 homers, driving in 171 runs, and batting .378. The Yankees made it to their first World Series, losing to the New York Giants in 9 games.
Ruth started the 1922 season suspended by Commissioner Landis after spending part of the off-season barnstorming. Ruth would hit just 35 home runs, and his average would drop to .315. The Yankees made the World Series that year, but again lost to their cross town rivals.
After a down season, some were questioning whether Ruth could ever recapture his dominance form the 1920 and 1921 seasons. Those questions would soon be answered. In his first season in "The House That Ruth Built," the Babe hit .393, walking 170 times, hitting 41 homers, and driving in 131 runs. He hit 46 the next season.
However, 1925 would be a down season for Ruth. Suffering from alcohol poisoning and various other ailments, he hit just .290, with 25 homers.
Again the same questions arose; was Ruth finished? Nope. In 1926, Ruth rebounded in style. He hit .372 with 47 homers and 144 RBI.
1927 was a storybook season for Ruth and the Yankees. New York, and their Murderers Row lineup, led by Ruth and Lou Gehrig, went 110-44.
Like in 1961, the baseball world watched as two teammates took a crack at history. At mid-season, Gehrig actually led Ruth in home runs. But Ruth hit 17 in the final month of the season, breaking his own record of 59 on the next-to-last day of the season.
Ruth hit 54, 46, 49, and 46 homers over the next four years, leading the league each season. In 1932, Ruth would post his final OPS of over 1.100. The next season, his last over 1.000.
All told, from 1919 to 1932, Ruth led the league in OPS 13 out of 15 years. His line .351/.485/.718 gave him an OPS 114% higher than the league average. Ruth hit 643 homers over those 15 seasons, an average of 43 a year.
In 1932, Ruth hit .341, smashed 41 homers, and finished with a 1.150 OPS. But Jimmie Foxx hit 58 homers, nearly breaking the Babe's record, and beat him in most major offensive categories.
By 1933, Ruth had lost the title of best player in baseball to a first baseman. That first baseman was not Jimmie Foxx.