Name at birth: George Herman Ruth, Jr.
Babe Ruth is the most celebrated player in American baseball history. A home run king and fan favorite, Ruth was the first in a line of iconic New York Yankee stars which included Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. Ruth began his career as a pitcher but moved to the outfield, where he gained fame as a slugger. After the Boston Red Sox sold him to the Yankees in 1920, Ruth became the most famous athlete in America. Ruth's larger-than-life personality (including a prodigious fondness for food and drink) was a hit with fans, and Ruth is often credited with making baseball the dominant American sport of its time. Ruth retired in 1935; he held the single-season record for home runs (60) until fellow Yankee Roger Maris hit 61 in 1961, and the career record (714) until Hank Aaron passed him in 1974. In 1948, like Gehrig before him, Ruth had an emotional farewell at Yankee Stadium, with the Yankees retiring his uniform number 3. He died of throat cancer two months later.
Ruth was nicknamed “Babe” by teammates on his first pro team, the Baltimore Orioles… Other nicknames included “The Bambino” and “The Sultan of Swat”… The Red Sox did not win a World Series for 86 years after selling Ruth to the Yankees, a drought known as the Curse of the Bambino. However, the Sox broke the ‘curse’ by winning the World Series in 2004 and again in 2007… Four Americans now have surpassed Ruth’s single-season home run record: Maris, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds… Bonds became the all-time American home run leader in 2007, passing Aaron with his 756th home run… Slugger Sadaharu Oh hit 868 career home runs in Japan from 1959-80, making him the international home run champ.