Saturday, July 20, 2013

Red Sox in Cooperstown Pt. 7: Babe Ruth

Years with Boston:  1914-1919 (89-46, 2.19 ERA, 483 Strikeouts, 425 Walks, .308/.413/.568, 49 Home Runs, 230 RBIs)
Best Year in Boston:  1916 (23-12, 1.75 ERA, 170 Strikeouts)
I am sure it is common knowledge that Babe Ruth started his career as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.  I doubt that there are many people out there at all who do not know that, at least among even casual baseball fans.

Ruth had been pitching for the Baltimore Orioles in the International League in 1914 when his contract was bought by Red Sox owner Joseph Lannin, along with Ernie Shore.  The big southpaw was immediately expected to produce.  He had a decent 1914 season, going 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA in four games, but ended up spending much of the year in the minor leagues.  His first full season was 1915, in which he went 18-8 with a 2.44 ERA.  It was an impressive rookie season, but Babe also captured a lot of attention for his bat.  He hit four home runs in 1915, in the midst of the Dead Ball Era.  The league leader hit just seven.  Ruth was held out of the World Series despite his season.

1916 was probably his best year on the mound as he went 23-12 with a 1.75 ERA and lead the league in ERA, games started, and shutouts.  He also hit three home runs and hit .272.  He did pitch in the 1916 World Series and won his only game against the Dodgers.  He gave up just one earned run in a 14 inning complete game.

In 1917 he went 24-13 with a 2.01 ERA.  1918 was a transitional year for him.  He started playing in the field more as well as pitching.  He played 47 games in left, 13 at first, and 12 in center as well as 20 games pitched.  He had a record of 13-7 and a 2.22 ERA and lead the league with 11 home runs.  He hit .300/.411/.555 with 66 RBIs.  He then pitched in two games in the World Series, winning both.  He gave up two earned runs in the Series.  He completed a World Series scoreless innings streak of 29 2/3 which stood as a record until Whitey Ford surpassed it.

1919 saw Ruth become an everyday player.  He spent most of the season in left field and set a new record with 29 home runs.  He also lead the league with 103 runs and 114 RBIs and hit .322/.456/.657 as he became a one-man wrecking crew on offense.  Ruth still found time to pitch in 17 games, going 9-5 with a 2.97 ERA, but it was clear that he was much more valuable at the plate.

Of course after the season Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees for $125,000.00.  He would go on to revolutionize the game with his home run power and turned the Yankees into a dynasty.  Meanwhile the Red Sox went on to an 86-year World Championship drought.  Ruth is most well-known for his time with the Yankees, and for good reason.  But his legend began to grow in Boston.

No comments:

Post a Comment