On September 30th of 1927, Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run of the season, setting a new record that would stand for 34 years. In his entire career, he scored 714 home runs.
George Herman Ruth was born on February 6th of 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the oldest of eight children, but only he and his younger sister Mamie survived infancy. George caused trouble from a young age. Running the streets, drinking when his father wasn't looking, and cutting classes got him sent to a reform school called St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys. It was a place where all boys got a good education, and were forced to work all the time. George worked there as a shirt maker, and also as a carpenter. His parents rarely visited.
One of the teachers there, Brother Matthias, was pretty good at baseball, and taught George how to play. In 1926, Ruth would repay Brother Matthias with a $5,000 Cadillac. That's about $50,000 in today's money.
George was not allowed to see his family much, and his mother died when he was twelve years old. So he continued to play baseball at school, as most of the boys there did. He later estimated that he played 200 baseball games a year at St. Mary's. George lived at the reform school until the age of 19, when he was signed on as a minor league pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles.
The major leagues were not far off. Although he initially played for the Boston Red Sox, Ruth earned his greatest fame as a hard slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees. The New York Yankees of 1927 were considered one of the best teams to ever take the field. They were known as Murderer's Row because of their powerful lineup. When Ruth switched from the Red Sox to the Yankees, he hit more home runs than the whole Red Sox team combined. With the pennant already clinched, America turned its attention to Ruth's single season home run record of 59. On September 30th, Ruth hit his 60th homer of the season.
Going into the 1928 season, Ruth signed an unprecedented contract for $80,000 a year.
Ruth helped the Yankees win seven American League championships, and four World Series championships. Ruth's MLB career spanned 22 seasons, from 1914 until 1935, when he briefly played for the Boston Braves. He broke a lot of world slugging records, some of which still stand today. In 1936, Ruth was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, as one of its first five inaugural members.
Babe Ruth's legendary power and personal appeal made him a popular figure of the “Roaring Twenties.” He was always being hounded and chastised by the press, as much for his drinking and womanizing as for his accomplishments on the baseball field.
But what the heck? A man's got to have a little fun sometimes. Babe Ruth also did good things, like making generous donations to charities, and visiting children in orphanages, so he could tell them that he grew up without parents, too.