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Babe Ruth: Topics in Chronicling America

A guide for researching the topic of "Babe Ruth's emergence into baseball" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 8, 1920, Final Edition, The Times' Complete Sports, Image 15. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Babe Ruth starts as a pitcher, but quickly becomes one of the most prolific hitters in the history of baseball! His sheer power earns him comparisons to Thor and Hercules and awe-inspired monikers: the "Sultan of Swat," the "Battering Bambino," the "Mighty Mauler," and the "Home Run King." Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


1916 Red Sox manager Bill Carrigan begins to play Babe Ruth in the outfield on days when he’s not pitching.
July 1, 1917 Ruth is suspended for a week and fined $100 for punching umpire Brick Owens.
September 5, 1918 Ruth pitches a shutout in Game 1 of the World Series.
September 12, 1918 The Red Sox win the World Series.
1919 Ruth demands a salary increase from $10,000 to $20,000, even though he has two years remaining on his contract. He refuses to play the 1920 season in Boston unless his demands are met.
September 24, 1919 Ruth sets the single-season home run record with his twenty-eighth. He would finish the season with twenty-nine home runs and would break his own record three times, in 1920, 1921, and 1927.
December 2, 1919 Ruth announces his intention to fight Jack Dempsey for his heavyweight boxing title.
January 5, 1920 The New York Yankees buy Ruth for $125,000 from the Boston Red Sox. No team had ever paid more than $50,000 for a player prior to the Ruth deal.
July 1920 Physicist A.L. Hodges alleges that Ruth has a "44 Horse-Power Swing" and that he hits the ball off the bat at 360 mph.
June 13, 1921 Ruth sets the record for the longest hit with a 442-foot homer. The next day he would eclipse his own record with a 450-foot homer.
1922 Ruth’s contract earns him a $75,000 salary and an additional $500 for each home run that he hits.
May 25, 1922 Ruth climbs into the stands during a game, trying to fight a heckler.