75th Anniversary of No. 714
May 25th, 1935 started out like any other baseball day during the season. The lowly Boston Braves were facing the Pittsburgh Pirates on an afternoon at Forbes Field. Babe Ruth was penciled into the lineup to try and regain the tremendous ability that had made him a superstar in the baseball world. As Ruth stepped into the batter box, his familiar oversized frame now tired and deteriorated, he glared down at pitcher Guy Bush. This game would be the last day of glory for Babe Ruth.
At the end of the Babe Ruth career, you'll find his one rogue year in the National League. This lone stint in the Junior Circuit happened during his 22nd season and final year in his prolific career. After being released from the New York Yankees, Ruth signed a short team contract with the Boston Braves. The Braves signed the aging slugger mostly as an attraction for their team, who played in the large shadow of Boston Red Sox.
The main attraction for Ruth to play one for more season after his dazzling years with the Yankees wasn't only the $20,000 dollar contract and the substantial share in the teams profits he would receive. Ruth wanted to manage. Towards the end of the his career with the Yankees, Ruth had been asking to manage the Yankees.
The problem was the team had a legendary skipper at the helm, Joe McCarthy, who had guided the team through their glory years in the 1920's. The Yankees, hoping to keep Ruth in the organization, offered him a manager job with the Newark Bears, a farm club of the Yankees. Ruth refused the offer hoping to land a coaching spot at the big league level. When the 1934 season ended, Ruth was lured away to the Braves for a chance to assistant manage the club and prove he could coach in the majors.
On opening day of the Braves season, things looked good for the team. There was a buzz about the Braves for the first time in Boston since their remarkable run to a World Series title in 1914. Braves Field in Boston was packed, almost all to see the Sultan of Swat. The Braves won their home opener against the New York Giants with the help of Ruth's bat but the win proved to be one of the season's only highlights.
The team would have one of their worst season on record, finishing with an embarrassing 38-115 record. To make matters worse, Ruth's years poor conditioning, heavy drinking and sinking health soon showed their signs as his play suffered.
Ruth struggled at the plate and failed to help his team on the field. His dugout performance was no better. Ruth served along side of Bill McKechnie as the assistant manager, his poor hitting skills matched his managerial abilities. Only a few weeks into the young season, the team limped into Pittsburgh's Forbes Field for a tilt against the Pirates.
Ruth's performance on May 25th, 1935 reminded everyone of the amazing ability he once possessed. The Bambino belted 3 home runs against the Pirates. These blasts would not only be the last home runs in the Babe Ruth's season, the third home run ball was the last home run of his career, No. 714. The final home run is truly a symbol of Ruth massive skill. The ball thrown by Pirates pitcher Guy Bush would travel an estimated 600 feet out of spacious Forbes Field.
Baseball press on hand said it was one of the longest home runs they had ever seen hit. No. 714 would prove to become a legendary number is baseball history, a total that would stand for over 39 years.
The crowd of 10,000 stood and cheered as Ruth circled the bases on his solo home run against Guy Bush in the top of the 7th inning, little did they know they would be the last fans to ever see him trout around the bases.
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