Baseball America’s Game “The 2nd Inning”



Moving into the 1920’s, America was soaring in economic wealth with the stock market at a high that no one had ever seen before.  People who were once poor or had low income suddenly could afford to buy a home, nice clothes, and even maybe a new Ford Model-T that was now affordable to the to the “average Joe.”  Americans felt like they were on top of the world. 

So was baseball.  By now most Americans felt that baseball was unofficially their game, “America’s game.”  In the 1920’s baseball was now played by virtually everyone.  It could be played by anyone who had a stick and a round ball.  Baseball was played by men and boys.  It could be played virtually anywhere, in school yards, black lots, and on fields in the south, it really was America’s game.   

You couldn’t have America’s game without America’s team.  That team would be the New York Yankees.  The Yankees were the most successful team in baseball at the time.  The Yankees also had baseball’s hero and America’s hero.  His name was George Herman Ruth Jr. “Babe Ruth.”  Babe Ruth was born on February 6, 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland.  His father was a saloon keeper.  However, with his Mother deceased and his Father unable to take care of him because of Georges’ mischievous behavior, he was put into St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, which was a reform school for boys.  That is where he found his love for the game and is where he excelled at playing the game. 

Ruth started his professional career with the Balitmore Orioles by getting signed straight out of St. Mary’s to play Minor League Baseball in 1914.  Shortly after, Ruth was sold to the Boston Red Sox.  Ruth was a 6”2’/215lb man of pure power and strength.  Ruth was a pitcher and outfielder for the Red Sox and spent 6 seasons with the Sox and won three World Championships with the Sox (1915, 1916 & 1918) before getting sold again to their arch rival the New York Yankees.  

New York is where Ruth truly became an American hero and icon.  Ruth’s first season with the Yankees came in 1920 just at the start of America’s economic wealth.  When he got to New York, the fans and America loved him.  Ruth was the biggest story in America in the 1920’s.  He single-handedly brought fans out to the ball game with his mammoth home runs.  It also helped that most Americans were in a good financial state at the time. 

However, like every good hero they have a dark-side, and Ruth had a dark-side.  Ruth’s dark-side was undoubtingly his drinking problem, which was understandable because at that time everyone in America seemed like they were “hitting the bottle”, even though it was illegal in America at the time.  Ruth was no exception.  Ruth would go out after the games, stay out late and get drunk.  It seemed that Ruth did this every night, even when he had a game the next day.  But his drinking did not seem to get in the way of his heroics on the diamond.  Legend has it that Ruth would play games with massive hangovers and still performed at high levels which added to his greatness. 

Even though Ruth had these struggles there was no denying that he was on one of baseball’s greatest teams.  That team was the 1927 Yankees.  The Yankees in 27’ were the most powerful teams in that century.  The 27’ Yankee team featured the likes of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and many other like Earle Combs, Mark Koenig, Bob Meusel and Tony Lazzeri.  Which was probably why most Americans were so fond of that team.  They probably felt that, since America was on top of the world that they need a sports team to love that was in that same category.



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