The Top 100 Greatest New Yorkers — #48
Babe Ruth (1895 – 1948)
Popularly considered the greatest baseball player in history, George Herman Ruth, Jr. played 22 professional seasons, 15 of them for the New York Yankees. During that time he was credited with rescuing baseball as a spectator sport in the wake of the Chicago Black Sox scandal, establishing long-held records for RBI’s, single-season home runs, and career home runs. His slugging percentage record (.690) still stands to this day. An ideal personification of New York in the Roaring 20’s, his off-field personality roared as loudly as his on-field prowess, complete with fancy clothes, fast living, strong liquor, and willing women. Mostly protected by the press in a way that no sports celebrity would benefit from today, many of his “bad boy” exploits did not become common knowledge until later. But his personal reputation within the sporting industry prevented him from getting a job in baseball after he retired from the field. Though he began his Major League career with the Red Sox and ended it with the Braves, he will always be best remembered for the years he wore the Bronx pinstripes (allegedly, though falsely, believed to have been added to the Yankee uniform to slim down Ruth’s chunky frame), his four World Series victories, his “called home run”, and his position batting third on the legendary Murderers’ Row lineup.
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