1. Remarkably or impressively great in extent, size or degree.
2. Prodigious, unnatural or abnormal.
George Herman “Babe” Ruth was unlike any other athlete of his time, revolutionizing America’s pastime, and adored by fans, but that’s only a small part of the story. The full story is how a young boy from a dead-end neighborhood and no-win background could ultimately be known as The Sultan of Swat and his name used, even today, as a direct synonym for remarkable or prodigious.
Born into a poor family in a destitute area of Baltimore then known as “Pigtown”, given up by his parents at age six and shipped off the orphanage St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys by seven, Ruth’s life could have turned out much differently if it hadn’t been for Brother Matthias Boutlier who introduced him to the game of baseball and encouraged him to make his life better. He would later say that Brother Matthias made him the man he was.
By the time he was 17, young Ruth was a highly-sought-after prospect as a left handed pitcher. And of course, we all know – even if you are not a baseball fan – that Babe Ruth would go on to change the game, defining the slugger and exciting fans with mammoth home runs; but, more importantly, defining the professional athlete as a marketable commodity and entertainer. As sportswriter Donald Honig once wrote “It’s almost as if when anybody hits a home run today, they should pay Babe Ruth a royalty. It’s like he invented it.”
In a tiny house on Emory Street, Babe Ruth was born intro struggle, but also onto a path for greatness. Today his childhood row home has been restored and converted into a museum celebrating his life and the advent of the home run. Displays of his exploits, key memorabilia and stories about his life give you insight into the path he might have taken had he remained with his parents in Pigtown.
Admission is only $6 per person while $12 will get you access to the Sports Legends museum at Camden Yards. Definitely worth an hour if you’re ever in Baltimore. More info here.