The Great Fall of The Great Bambino

The Babe, the Sultan of Swat, the Colossus of Clout, the GREAT BAMBINO! Everyone has heard of these nicknames. They are the names given to the greatest baseball player to ever play the sport of baseball. He will always be remembered as the person who changed the way baseball will be seen with what he was able to do with a bat and a ball in his hands.

Ruth pitching the ball while with the Red Sox | Wikimedia

Babe Ruth was always looked upon as being a great player when he first started playing in the Major Leagues for the Red Sox. Everyone knew who he was because of his giant frame and body. He was a dual-threat player who was a pitcher and also a hitter of the longball. But, he did not always bat, since he was a pitcher.1 So, he decided that he wanted to bat a lot more. He began playing outfielder in order to be able to show off his power at the plate more. But, there was a huge controversy when the Red Sox traded Ruth to their rivals, the Yankees, where he would shine the most for the rest of his career.2

Ruth was an avid drinker and smoker throughout his entire life, even smoking during his games.3  A couple of years after his retirement, Ruth began to experience some fatigue and was starting to be unable to even swallow anything. Ruth went to the doctor to have himself checked, but, Ruth did not want to know what was causing him to become sick, so they never told him. It turned out that Ruth had developed throat cancer.

The Babe touching home plate after hitting a home run | Wikimedia

Ruth’s doctor told him that he would need to start treatment right away. Ruth began chemotherapy and radiation treatment at the same time.4 As Ruth was starting to get better, the government banned one of the drugs that was helping Ruth fight the cancer. Once the drug was banned, it became extremely hard for Ruth to get better. Instead of being able to go back to his normal routine, his condition worsened and he lost up to one-hundred pounds. A few months before his death, Ruth would make his last visit to Yankee Stadium. He had lost so much weight that the people in the stadium hardly recognized him. It would be extremely sad for someone so recognizable and also being the greatest player to ever, to end up not being recognized by the fans who once adored him.5

Babe Ruth noticeably lost weight months before his death | Pinterest

Babe Ruth died on August 16, 1948. A service for him was held at Yankee Stadium for people to come pay their last respects. It is estimated that around 77,000 people lined up to pay respects. Then, for his funeral, around 75,000 people waited outside of the church for him to be brought outside.6 Just like the quote in the movie The Sandlot, “Heroes get remembered, Legends never die.” Ruth’s legacy will always be known for the rest of human life.

  1. Bob Considine, The Babe Ruth Story (New York: Signet, 1992), 47.
  2. Bob Considine, The Babe Ruth Story (New York: Signet, 1992), 60.
  3. “Babe Ruth,” Biography 5, no. 12 (December 2001): 61.
  4. David P. Steensma, “George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr: baseball star and early participant in a cancer clinical trial,” Mayo Clinic Proceedings 83, no. 11 (Nov. 2008): 1262.
  5. Bob Considine, The Babe Ruth Story (New York: Signet, 1992), 128.
  6. Bob Considine, The Babe Ruth Story (New York: Signet, 1992), 186.
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50 Comments

  • I am a huge Yankees fan and Babe Ruth is one of the most Iconic Yankees of all time. To this day even people who do not know anything about baseball know who babe ruth is. It was cool to see him on a more personal level though outside of his statistics in the MLB. This article helped shed light on a man who became consumed with things that hurt him. This article humanized the Great Bambino and I really enjoyed it

  • Every time I think of the Great Bambino, I think of the Sandlot and their admiration for Babe Ruth. I also think of the movie 22 that was based off of his life and legacy. No matter what he was thrown, he continued to do what he loved. I like how you mentioned even the bad times that he went through. He was an icon.

  • Growing up, my mother was and is a huge New York Yankees fan; so I have always admired Babe Ruth. He was so skilled at this sport and carried his heart on his shoulder. I was not aware of the hardships that he faced, so this article nicely captures all aspects of his life. Regardless of any bad habits he might have had he still remains one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

  • I love baseball, I’ve been playing since I was 4. I love people like Babe Ruth, Derrick Jeter, Roger Clemens. I don’t really watch baseball anymore but I still do enjoy watching clips and highlights of games. This article did a great job of Ruth’s past and accomplishments. Although he was a smoker and a drinker he was still a great player only with bad habits. The courage that he had to not want to know what kind of disease he has because he doesn’t want it to stop him from playing baseball. Until it was too much for him to keep up with. Babe Ruth is and will always be a Legend In the game of baseball and will always be remembered as a great.

  • This is a very good short article on a legend. I had no idea about Babe Ruth’s final days or that he had lost so much weight.
    Most of us only hear the stories of the legend and the things which he had done to and for baseball. They make him sound bigger than life and the kind of player you no longer find in most professional sports.
    It is indeed to read about him dying from something treatable because of the government withholding the drug he needed.

  • I am not really a big baseball fan but I have in fact known about Babe Ruth. This article does a great job in describing who Babe Ruth was with such detail. It even shows and describes the bad habits Babe had. He was a drinker and a smoker which is not necessarily bad but when used in excess in can cause your life. This article did in fact show who in reality Babe was. It doesn’t only show his positive but it also shows his bad. The bad that many didn’t know of.

  • I think Ruth’s fulfilling career definitely made up for the tragedy of his ending. The trouble with his condition probably had a lot to do with the lack of technology and medicine to get him back on the field, but the legend had a long and worthy career nonetheless. I do not necessarily agree that he was the best baseball player to set foot on the plate, but his triumphant legacy was able to inspire all the once 9-year old boys with a dream to one day be as good as the man himself. The proof? All the Aaron Judges, the Mike Trouts, the Cal Ripken Jrs that continue to keep baseball the historical sport it is.

  • Whether you know baseball or not, Babe Ruth is a familiar name. Ruth was such an amazing good batter and pitcher. Sadly, he, just like many celebrities, fall into addiction, in his case, it was smoking. I cannot picture the struggle that Babe Ruth had to go through because of his throat cancer. Even though all his obstacles, Ruth will continue to be a baseball icon and will be looked up to by baseball fanatics all around the world for many years to come.

  • I do not really watch baseball but I definitely knew the most famous baseball players and one of them was Babe Ruth. I knew the name and his game but I did not really know him, and this article does a good job on describing his personal life which helps me understand who he is. I also like that the writer described his not so good moments. That just shows he was also just a human being and not just an insanely talented baseball player. I was surprised when I read that he was a smoker and a drinker, that also shows even the most loved people can go through a rough time, I am just glad he got through it. Good read.

  • I am not a big fan of baseball but I definitely know who Babe Ruth was. This article does a very good job of briefly summarizing his life and accomplishments, as well as some of his not so good moments. He was a smoker and a drinker which does not make you a bad person but they can be considered bad habits. This is a side of Ruth that I’m sure not many people knew about. I think the reason why he did not want to know his illness is that he did not want it to keep him from playing. He continued to push through but eventually, it would not be enough. He was a legend and his life is definitely one to remember.

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