Babe Ruth : biography
The following season started off well for the Yankees, who led the AL by 13 games in July. But the Yankees were soon plagued by some key injuries, erratic pitching and inconsistent play. The Philadelphia Athletics, rebuilding after some lean years, erased the Yankees’ big lead and even took over first place briefly in early September. The Yankees, however, took over first place for good when they beat the A’s three out of four games in a pivotal series at Yankee Stadium later that month.
Ruth’s play in 1928 mirrored his team’s performance. He got off to a hot start and on August 1, he had 42 home runs. This put him ahead of his 60 home run pace from the previous season. But Ruth was hobbled by a bad ankle the latter part of the season, and he hit just twelve home runs in the last two months of the regular season. His batting average also fell to .323, well below his career average. Nevertheless, he ended the season with 54 home runs, which would be the fourth (and last) time he hit 50 home runs in a season.
The Yankees had a 1928 World Series rematch with the St. Louis Cardinals, who had upset them in the 1926 series. The Cardinals had the same core players as the 1926 team, except for Rogers Hornsby, who was traded for Frankie Frisch after the 1926 season. Ruth batted .625 (the second highest average in World Series history), including another three-home run game (in game 4), Gehrig batted .545, and the Yankees demolished the Cardinals in four games. The Yankees thus became the first major league team to sweep their opponents in consecutive World Series.
Decline and end with Yankees
In 1929, the Yankees failed to make the World Series for the first time in four years, and it would be another three years before they returned. Although the Yankees had slipped, Ruth led or tied for the league lead in home runs each year during 1929–1931. At one point during the 1930 season, as a stunt, Ruth was called upon to pitch for the first time since 1921, and he pitched a complete-game victory.
Also in 1929, the Yankees became the first team to use uniform numbers regularly (the Cleveland Indians had used them briefly in 1916). Since Ruth normally batted third in the order (ahead of Gehrig), he was assigned number 3 (to Gehrig’s 4). The Yankees retired Ruth’s number on June 13, 1948; however, it was kept in circulation prior to that.
In the 1932 season, the Yankees went 107–47 and won the pennant under manager Joe McCarthy, as Ruth hit .341, with 41 home runs and 137 RBIs.
The Yankees faced Gabby Hartnett’s Chicago Cubs in the 1932 World Series. The Yankees swept the Cubs and batted .313 as a team. During Game 3 of the series, after having already homered, Ruth hit what has now become known as Babe Ruth’s Called Shot. During the at-bat, Ruth supposedly gestured to the deepest part of the park in center-field, predicting a home run. The ball he hit traveled past the flagpole to the right of the scoreboard and ended up in temporary bleachers just outside Wrigley Field’s outer wall. The center field corner was 440 feet away, and at age 37, Ruth had hit a straightaway center home run that was perhaps a 490 foot blow.as per Bill Jenkinson’s book It was Ruth’s last Series homer (and his last Series hit), and it became one of the legendary moments of baseball history.
Ruth remained productive in 1933, as he batted .301, with 34 home runs, 103 RBIs, and a league-leading 114 walks. He was selected to play right field by Athletics manager Connie Mack in the first Major League Baseball All-Star Game, held on July 6, 1933, at Comiskey Park in Chicago. He hit the first home run in the game’s history, a two-run blast against Bill Hallahan during the third inning, which helped the American League win the game 4-2.Creamer, p. 371 During the final game of the 1933 season, as a publicity stunt organized by his team, Ruth was called upon and pitched a complete game victory against the Red Sox, his final appearance as a pitcher.Creamer, pp. 371-372 Despite unremarkable pitching numbers, Ruth had a 5–0 record in five games for the Yankees, raising his career totals to 94–46.