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Babe Ruth of the New York Yankees 1933 Goudey Reprint Baseball Card

Babe Ruth appeared in five games for the Red Sox in 1914, pitching in four of them. He picked up the victory in his major league debut on July 11; ironically, Duffy Lewis scored the winning run after pinch-hitting for Ruth. The Red Sox had many star players in 1914, so Ruth was soon optioned to the minor league Providence Grays of Providence, Rhode Island for most of the remaining season. Behind Ruth and Carl Mays, the Grays won the International League pennant.

Shortly after the season, in which he'd finished with a 2-1 record, Ruth proposed to Helen Woodford, a waitress he met in Boston. They were married in Ellicott City, Maryland, on October 17, 1914.

During spring training in 1915, Babe Ruth secured a spot in the starting rotation. He joined a pitching staff that included Rube Foster, Dutch Leonard, and Smokey Joe Wood. Ruth won 18 games,lost eight, and helped himself by hitting .315. He also hit his first four home runs. The Red Sox won 101 games that year on their way to a victory in the World Series. Ruth was not a factor; he did not pitch in the series, and he grounded out in his only at-bat.

In 1916, after a slightly shaky spring, he went 23-12, with a 1.75 ERA and 9 shutouts. On June 27, he struck out 10 Philadelphia A's, a career high. On July 11, he started both games of a doubleheader, but the feat was not what it seemed; he only pitched a third of an inning in the opener because the scheduled starter Rube Foster was having trouble getting loose. Ruth then pitched a complete game victory in the nightcap. Babe Ruth had unusual success against Washington Senators star pitcher Walter Johnson, beating him four times in 1916 alone, by scores of 5-1, 1-0, 1-0 in 13 innings, and 2-1. Johnson finally outlasted Ruth for an extra-inning 4-3 victory on September 12; in the years to come, Ruth would hit 10 home runs off Johnson, including the only two Johnson would allow in 1918-1919. Ruth had nine shutouts in 1916, an AL record for left-handers that was unmatched until Ron Guidry tied it in 1978.

Despite a weak offense and hurt by the sale of Tris Speaker to the Indians, the Red Sox still made it to the World Series. They defeated the Brooklyn Robins four games to one. This time Ruth made a major contribution, pitching a 14-inning complete-game victory in Game Two.

Babe Ruth went 24-13 with a 2.01 ERA and 6 shutouts in 1917, and hit .325, but the Sox finished second, nine games behind the Chicago White Sox. Ruth's most memorable game of the season was one he had very little part in playing. On June 23 against the Washington Senators, after walking the lead-off hitter, Ruth erupted in anger, was ejected, and threw a punch at the umpire (he'd be suspended for 10 games). Ernie Shore came into the game as an impromptu replacement, and pitched a perfect game the rest of the way. Ruth's outburst was an example of self-discipline problems that plagued Ruth throughout his career, and is regarded as the primary reason (other than financial) that Frazee was willing to sell him to the Yankees two years later.

Less than three weeks later, June 11 was an example of why Ruth was so valuable to Boston. The left-hander was pitching a no-hitter in a 0-0 game against the Detroit Tigers, before a single deflected off his glove in the 8th inning. Boston finally pushed across a run in the 9th, and Ruth held onto his 1-0 victory by striking out Ty Cobb. In 1942, Babe Ruth called this game his greatest thrill on the field.

In 1918, Ruth pitched in 20 games, posting a 13-7 record with a 2.22 ERA. He was mostly used as an outfielder, and hit a league-leading 11 home runs. His statistics were curtailed slightly when he walked off the team in July following an argument with Boston's manager.

Ruth threw a 1-0 shutout in the opener of 1918 World Series, then won Game Four in what would be his final World Series appearance as a pitcher. In three games, Ruth was 3-0 with an 0.87 ERA, allowing 19 hits in 31 innings. Ruth extended his World Series consecutive scoreless inning streak to 29? innings, But since left handers Hippo Vaughn and Lefty Tyler pitched nearly all the innings for the Cubs, Ruth, who batted left-handed, registered only five at-bats in the Series.

Babe Ruth Goudey 1933 Reprint Card

Babe Ruth Goudey 1933 Reprint Card

"How to hit home runs: I swing as hard as I can, and I try to swing right through the ball...The harder you grip the bat, the more you can swing it through the ball, and the farther the ball will go. I swing big, with everything I've got. I hit big or I miss big. I like to live as big as I can."--

Babe Ruth

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