The Great Fall of The Great Bambino

The Babe, the Sultan of Swat, the Colossus of Clout, the GREAT BAMBINO! Everyone has heard of these nicknames. They are the names given to the greatest baseball player to ever play the sport of baseball. He will always be remembered as the person who changed the way baseball will be seen with what he was able to do with a bat and a ball in his hands.

Ruth pitching the ball while with the Red Sox | Wikimedia

Babe Ruth was always looked upon as being a great player when he first started playing in the Major Leagues for the Red Sox. Everyone knew who he was because of his giant frame and body. He was a dual-threat player who was a pitcher and also a hitter of the longball. But, he did not always bat, since he was a pitcher.1 So, he decided that he wanted to bat a lot more. He began playing outfielder in order to be able to show off his power at the plate more. But, there was a huge controversy when the Red Sox traded Ruth to their rivals, the Yankees, where he would shine the most for the rest of his career.2

Ruth was an avid drinker and smoker throughout his entire life, even smoking during his games.3  A couple of years after his retirement, Ruth began to experience some fatigue and was starting to be unable to even swallow anything. Ruth went to the doctor to have himself checked, but, Ruth did not want to know what was causing him to become sick, so they never told him. It turned out that Ruth had developed throat cancer.

The Babe touching home plate after hitting a home run | Wikimedia

Ruth’s doctor told him that he would need to start treatment right away. Ruth began chemotherapy and radiation treatment at the same time.4 As Ruth was starting to get better, the government banned one of the drugs that was helping Ruth fight the cancer. Once the drug was banned, it became extremely hard for Ruth to get better. Instead of being able to go back to his normal routine, his condition worsened and he lost up to one-hundred pounds. A few months before his death, Ruth would make his last visit to Yankee Stadium. He had lost so much weight that the people in the stadium hardly recognized him. It would be extremely sad for someone so recognizable and also being the greatest player to ever, to end up not being recognized by the fans who once adored him.5

Babe Ruth noticeably lost weight months before his death | Pinterest

Babe Ruth died on August 16, 1948. A service for him was held at Yankee Stadium for people to come pay their last respects. It is estimated that around 77,000 people lined up to pay respects. Then, for his funeral, around 75,000 people waited outside of the church for him to be brought outside.6 Just like the quote in the movie The Sandlot, “Heroes get remembered, Legends never die.” Ruth’s legacy will always be known for the rest of human life.

  1. Bob Considine, The Babe Ruth Story (New York: Signet, 1992), 47.
  2. Bob Considine, The Babe Ruth Story (New York: Signet, 1992), 60.
  3. “Babe Ruth,” Biography 5, no. 12 (December 2001): 61.
  4. David P. Steensma, “George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr: baseball star and early participant in a cancer clinical trial,” Mayo Clinic Proceedings 83, no. 11 (Nov. 2008): 1262.
  5. Bob Considine, The Babe Ruth Story (New York: Signet, 1992), 128.
  6. Bob Considine, The Babe Ruth Story (New York: Signet, 1992), 186.
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  • I do not really watch baseball but I definitely knew the most famous baseball players and one of them was Babe Ruth. I knew the name and his game but I did not really know him, and this article does a good job on describing his personal life which helps me understand who he is. I also like that the writer described his not so good moments. That just shows he was also just a human being and not just an insanely talented baseball player. I was surprised when I read that he was a smoker and a drinker, that also shows even the most loved people can go through a rough time, I am just glad he got through it. Good read.

  • I am not a big fan of baseball but I definitely know who Babe Ruth was. This article does a very good job of briefly summarizing his life and accomplishments, as well as some of his not so good moments. He was a smoker and a drinker which does not make you a bad person but they can be considered bad habits. This is a side of Ruth that I’m sure not many people knew about. I think the reason why he did not want to know his illness is that he did not want it to keep him from playing. He continued to push through but eventually, it would not be enough. He was a legend and his life is definitely one to remember.

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