George Herman Ruth (February 6, 1895 - August 16, 1948), best known as "Babe" Ruth and nicknamed "the Great Bambino", "the Sultan of Swat", "the King of Crash", and "the Colossus of Clout", was a major league baseball player from 1914-1935. Ruth originally broke into the major leagues with the Boston Red Sox as a pitcher, but after he was sold to the New York Yankees in 1919, he converted to a full-time right fielder and subsequently became one of the league's most prolific hitters. Ruth was a mainstay in the Yankees' lineup that won seven pennants and four World Series titles during his tenure with the team. Ruth retired in 1935, and in 1936 he became one of the first five players elected to the baseball Hall of Fame. Ruth has since become regarded as one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture and his home run hitting prowess and charismatic personality made him a larger than life figure. Off the field he was famous for his charity as well as his reckless lifestyle. Ruth is credited with changing baseball itself. The popularity of the game exploded in the 1920s, largely due to his influence. Ruth ushered in the "live-ball era", as his big swing led to escalating home run totals that not only excited fans, but helped baseball evolve from a low-scoring, speed-dominated game to a high-scoring power game.
In 1998, The Sporting News ranked Ruth number one on the list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players." In 1969, he was named baseball's Greatest Player Ever in a ballot commemorating the 100th anniversary of professional baseball. According to ESPN, he was the first true American Sports Celebrity whose fame transcended baseball.
Ruth was the first player to hit 60 home runs in one season (1927), setting the record which stood until broken by Roger Maris in 1961. Babe Ruth is the only player ever to hit three home runs in a World Series game on two separate occasions-Game 4 of the 1926 Series and Game 4 of the 1928 Series. Ruth's lifetime total of 714 homeruns at his retirement in 1935 was a record, until first surpassed by Hank Aaron in 1974. Unlike many power hitters, Ruth also hit for average: his .342 lifetime batting is 10th highest in baseball history and in one season (1923) he hit .393, a Yankee record. His .690 career slugging percentage and 1.164 career on base plus slugging remain the major league records. Ruth simply dominated the game. He led the league in home runs during a season twelve times, slugging percentage and OPS thirteen times each, runs scored eight times, and RBIs six times. Each of those totals represents a modern record, as well as the all-time record (except for RBIs).
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