Babe Ruth was one of the greatest players to ever play the game of baseball, but I’m sure you were already well aware of that. What many aren’t aware of is where the “Great Bambino” came from and the troubles that surrounded his childhood. But through it all “The Babe” managed to leave a lasting impression on baseball and our culture that is sure to last long after our society has moved on..
Early Life of Babe Ruth
Babe was one of eight siblings, of which only one would survive infancy, and that was his sister Mammy. Babe’s family after hardship managed to open his own saloon while the family lived above it in a dilapidated apartment. Babe’s parents were so busy that by the age of 8 Babe was already quite content with running around on the streets alone. By his teens he was a self-described “Ditcher”, rarely ever attending school and constantly stealing swigs of beer behind his father’s back, finally after an incident in his father’s saloon the authorities decided the environment was too dangerous for babe and he was moved into a reform school and orphanage. Babe would spend a majority of the next twelve years at this facility learning everything he knew and becoming the man the country would learn to love.
From the Streets to St. Mary’s-The Great Bambino was born
The orphanage was a strict, grueling and hard place where all boys ages 5 to 12 were expected to work, and not just any work but skilled labor. Carpentry, risky cleaning and repair jobs were not at all uncommon for the boys of the orphanage where Ruth spent his youth, punishment for not obeying these rules was harsh. With a watching eye always on him and strict rules with little room for error, Babe experienced the hardship of a time few today would ever understand.
At age 12 Babe was assigned as a shirt maker and it was said throughout his career playing baseball he would never use tailors to adjust his shirts, he would do his own fittings and adjustments by hand. But at the same time babe also lost his mother, and after this tragic incident Ruth would rarely ever see his family again.
What about Baseball?
One thing is still a mystery though, and that’s how Babe learned to play baseball so well in the first place. Reportedly having little time to ever play or practice, speculations abound about whether Babe landed in the orphanage because of consistently breaking windows with his powerful hits while playing street ball or if he became so skilled by spending all of his free time at the orphanage playing the game.
Not too many are really sure how Babe became the Sultan of Swat, but the results are undeniable. He had to have learned somewhere, right?
Well all signs point to Babe Ruth’s learning while he attended school, where him and the head brother of the school who happened to be in charge of discipline developed a close relationship. He was also granted the opportunity to play on the local schools team where he tested the waters in a number of different positions including catcher and third and first base-men, which was odd for left-handed throwers at the time. As Ruth grew up, he took the lessons from his time at St. Mary’s orphanage and became a lifelong devout catholic.
Some even said it was common for Ruth to attend mass after a night of hard drinking, which he engaged in all too often. But throughout his career he was well known for his acts of charities and made it a strict point to visit hospitals, schools and orphanages all while avoiding publicity. He didn’t want attention for those things, he was a man who believed that was his duty because of his background and not one person could or even would ever tell him otherwise.
According to Babe Ruth, it all happened for a reason!
The Babe may have overcome more than most of us can imagine, but he continuously proved his circumstances were not something that made him weaker, but stronger instead. Without shying away from the man inside Ruth demonstrated a star is in the personality, and the actions you make on a regular basis, not your singular victories. Through this trait Babe Ruth will live on forever in the heart of America and especially New York City, the center of the hero’s life.
While baseball will never forget him, let the lessons he taught in life be heard in modern wording; “Don’t ever let the world bring the real you down, strive to help yourself and others and the reward will come in the end.”-Babe Ruth