Rowdy Ruth – How a Short-tempered Killed a Big Thing for Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth, also known as “the Bambino” or “the Sultan of Swat,” had an illustrious career as a starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. In 1914 Ruth appeared in five games and pitched in four of them, and in 1915 he won 18 games and lost eight, peripherally hitting a.315 at bat. In 1916 he was 23-12 coming out of the season, with a 1.75 ERA and nine shutouts (both league-leading statistics). The pinnacle of his pitching career came in the 1916 season, in which Ruth scored nine shutouts and set a left-handed record that remained intact until 1978. In 1917 he saw a 24-13 record, a 2.01 ERA and a total Bambino’s six shutouts, as well as a 325 batting average (a stat that had been climbing steadily since the beginning of the legend’s career).

Already, in his third substantial season in the majors, Babe Ruth had achieved statistics that were certainly not negligible. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, 1917 was also the year of the tantrum that contributed to the decision to trade one of the greatest baseball players of all time. On June 23, Ruth was pitching against the Washington Senators and walked to leadoff, prompting such a reaction from Ruth that he was ejected from the game. In response, Ruth hit the referee and was suspended for ten games, collected $ 100 (a considerable sum at the time), and was forced to issue a public apology.

The rest of the story is familiar to any baseball fan. In late 1919, after beginning the change from incredible pitcher to incredibly fantastic hitter, Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees. The decision was based on Ruth’s demand for a massive raise that was not financially unviable for the Sox, but rather contributed to Ruth’s overall behavior problem. After owner Harry Frazee handed it over to the Yankees, Ruth quickly emerged as an unstoppable slugger, and the Red Sox were left without a World Series victory for 86 years.

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