Babe Ruth in Connecticut
Babe Ruth baseball card, Goudey Gum Co., 1933. Library of Congress
By Will Wallace
(c) Connecticut Explored Inc.
Babe Ruth steps up to the plate. He gets into his batting stance and waits. The pitcher winds up. All of a sudden, BAM! The ball hits the catcher’s glove.
“Strike one,” the umpire yells. He steps back. The next pitch over the plate will be a hit. It will soar over the back wall. Babe Ruth runs around all of the bases. It’s a home run! And it happened right here in Connecticut.
Who is Babe Ruth?
Babe Ruth was one of greatest players in baseball history. Most people know him for playing on the Yankees and Red Sox teams.
George Herman Ruth was born on February 6, 1895. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He was one of eight children in his family. He did not get a lot of attention. He did bad things like throwing tomatoes at police officers. At age 7 he was caught drinking and chewing tobacco.
Ruth’s parents sent him to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. Ruth was diagnosed with ADHD. This means that he could not focus on something for long periods of time.
At St. Mary’s, Ruth found baseball. He was so good that his coach invited the owner of the Orioles baseball team to watch him play. The Orioles’ owner hired Ruth to play for his team. This was the start of his career in Major League Baseball. The Major League is the highest level of baseball.
What are his connections to Connecticut?
Babe Ruth, The Hartford Courant, August 15, 1920.
Babe Ruth barnstormed in Connecticut. Barnstorming was what Major League players did in the off season. They traveled around the country when their team wasn’t playing. They would play against small local teams. These were called exhibition games. The players did this to make more money.
Babe Ruth spent many off seasons barnstorming. From 1918 to 1920 Ruth played many exhibition games in Connecticut.
In 1918 Ruth came to Hartford for an exhibition game. The Spanish flu pandemic was raging. People thought he was crazy to play during a pandemic. 8,000 people came to watch him play!
In 1919 Ruth played in Bristol. Bristol is a city in the middle of Connecticut. It has a historic baseball field called Muzzy Field.
During batting practice, Ruth hit the first home run ever hit out of Muzzy Field. Over the fence the ball went. The crowd stood up and cheered. His team later won the game.
Babe Ruth, The Hartford Courant, September 28, 1920.
After that game he said, “It has surely been a pretty nice greeting you Bristol people have given our team today. It was as nice a crowd as we have played before in any place outside of the big cities.”
He returned to play in Muzzy Field in 1920. Today you can still visit Muzzy Field.
Will Wallace wrote this as a fourth grade student in Simsbury.
Babe Ruth, 1920. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division
Bob Montgomery, “The Big Bambino hit one over the fence at Muzzy Field,” Bristol Press, April 13, 2018
Babe Ruth Biography, BabeRuthCentral.com
“When Babe Ruth Barnstormed Greater Hartford,” The Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League, November 6, 2018