2014 – A Centennial Year For Babe Ruth

2014 – A Centennial Year For Babe Ruth


Hey Babe Ruth Fans,

For those that are not aware, 2014 is a significant year in Babe Ruth and baseball history. It was the year that Babe entered professional baseball and an American legend was born.

To commemorate this significant year in baseball history, there are a number of events occurring throughout the country (and possibly outside the country) in 2014. First up is a celebration in Fayetteville, NC, where Ruth hit his first professional home run (as a Baltimore Oriole) in a spring training game on March 7, 1914. This Friday at 2 p.m., the city will re-dedicate the highway marker on Gillespie Street honoring the homer Ruth hit. Then, on Saturday, March 8th at 11 a.m., the city will stage a “Vintage Baseball Game” at Arnette Park. Apparently, Fayetteville is also where Ruth was first referred to as “Babe.”

Just a couple days later, St Petersburg, FL will be celebrating their centennial – Major League Baseball spring training started there on Feb. 27, 1914 with the St. Louis Browns (now the Baltimore Orioles). While the Babe didn’t participate in spring training in St. Petersburg until the Yankees appeared there in 1925, Ruth’s connection and significance to St. Petersburg baseball is a strong one. In fact, Ruth was one of the factors that led the Yankees to end up in St. Petersburg for spring training. In 1919, Ruth was still a member of the Red Sox. During a spring training game in Tampa against the New York Giants, he hit the longest home run of his career thus far. Sports reporters who were there that day marked the spot and measured from home plate. They estimated Ruth’s hit traveled 508 feet in the air then rolled to a stop at 579 feet. There actually is a plaque near Plant Field at the University of Tampa marking the spot of the home run. Al Lang, the mayor of St. Petersburg, happened to be in Tampa attempting to lobby the Giants to relocate to St. Petersburg for future spring trainings. After Ruth’s home run, however, the mayor was persuaded to go for Ruth and the Yankees instead. That home run didn’t end up being his longest ever, nor his longest ever in St. Petersburg (read our post about Babe’s shot at Waterfront Park in 1934). Beyond Ruth’s spring training years from 1925-1935, Ruth also wintered here many years until his passing. In recognition of St. Petersburgh’s baseball centennial and Babe’s connection to it, Julia Ruth Stevens, Babe Ruth’s daughter, will be visiting St. Petersbug for a couple of spring training games the week of 3/10.

Coming up this summer, the Baseball Hall Fame is planning a revamp of their Babe Ruth exhibit. For serious fans of the Hall, this would be worth a visit. When he passed, Babe Ruth actually gave most of his collection (baseballs, bats, uniforms and more) to the Hall of Fame, so they certainly have the opportunity to show fans some serious baseball history and memorabilia! Multiple members of the Ruth family will also be participating in an opening event in June.

There may be potential that Boston and/or Toronto may get in on the action this year as well. Ruth made his Major League debut on July 11, 1914, pitching for the Red Sox in a game against the Indians. Later that year, Ruth hit his first home run in a professional game as a member of the Providence Grays (an International League team that was part of the Red Sox system). The home run was the only of Babe’s minor league career and occurred in a game against the Toronoto Maple Leafs at Hanlan’s Point on Sept 5, 1914. Hanlan’s Point displays a plaque today representing that famous home run.

So stay tuned, there could be more Babe Ruth events announced as the year progresses!

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