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  • Babe Ruth's Early Life in Baltimore

    One hundred years ago Babe Ruth became a professional baseball player. In February 1914, he left Baltimore’s Saint Mary’s Industrial School to join the Baltimore Orioles of the International League. That year he pitched for the Orioles, Providence Grays and the major league Boston Red Sox.

    As a local Baltimore historian and baseball fan, I have long been interested in Babe Ruth’s early years in Baltimore. Although dozens of Babe Ruth biographies have been published, his life prior to 1914 has not been well-documented. Within the past few years, the historical Baltimore Sun has been indexed on ProQuest (available online to local public library card holders). This great resource has provided new information on Babe Ruth’s Baltimore family. Through newspaper articles, court records and other resources, I have been able to uncover new facts about Babe Ruth’s early life in Baltimore, including the following:

    •Babe Ruth's grandfather was an inventor who held five patents.

    •Babe Ruth's first home was on the outskirts of Baltimore not in the vicinity of Camden Yards.

    •Babe Ruth did not grow up living over a saloon from birth; his father first owned a saloon when he was six years old.

    •The Baltimore branch of Jacob Ruppert's Brewery was seven doors from Babe Ruth's father's saloon on Camden Street [The Ruppert family owned the New York Yankees from from 1915-1945].

    •Babe Ruth was the product of a broken home; his parents divorced in 1906 when he was eleven years old.

    •Babe Ruth's mother, Katie, had a drinking problem; she may have been an alcoholic.

    •Babe Ruth's father, George, appears to have cared more about running a bar than caring for his family.

    •Babe Ruth's name first appears in the Baltimore Sun as a participant in a minstrel show at Saint Mary's Industrial School when he was thirteen years old.

    •Babe Ruth is listed in the 1915 Baltimore City Directory as a ballplayer living at 552 West Conway Street.

    •The bar fight that led to Babe Ruth's father's death may have been related to an earlier dope selling incident at his father's saloon.

    Just in time for the 100th anniversary of the start of Babe Ruth’s professional baseball career, I am presenting my research on a blog: http://baberuth100.blogspot.com/ . It is presented in ten parts, after a brief introduction. I have provided references for my research and have also produced some illustrations highlighting Baltimore places linked to Babe Ruth and his family.

    I hope that this information will be useful in understanding the early years of Babe Ruth.

    Thanks,
    Fred

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    • Here is another one of Babe's homes, now short centerfield in Baltimore's home park.
      Attached Files

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      • 406 West Conway Street is perhaps the best known location of one of Babe Ruth's father's saloons (1905-1912).
        This is where his parents lived when they divorced. Babe Ruth had already been sent to St. Mary's Industrial School before his father owned this saloon.

        Oriole Park at Camden Yards was built where the saloon stood. It was probably more accurately in what is now deep center field. Since it was not far from Eutaw Street. As seen on this map:

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        • Originally posted by Fred View Post
          406 West Conway Street is perhaps the best known location of one of Babe Ruth's father's saloons (1905-1912).
          This is where his parents lived when they divorced. Babe Ruth had already been sent to St. Mary's Industrial School before his father owned this saloon.

          Oriole Park at Camden Yards was built where the saloon stood. It was probably more accurately in what is now deep center field. Since it was not far from Eutaw Street. As seen on this map:

          I see you make use of Sanborn maps, use it often, a valuable tool.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Fred View Post
            I hope that this information will be useful in understanding the early years of Babe Ruth.
            Thanks Fred, I learned quite a few things from your site that I hadn't heard before. I'm from Baltimore as well - the County. I'm not that familiar with the city neighborhoods but I did work at the Babe Ruth Museum in the early 1990's. Is that parking lot around the corner from the museum that you mentioned the lot owned by the museum for parking?
            Last edited by Brian McKenna; 03-01-2014, 02:32 PM.

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            • Thank you, Brian. Your information on the competition in 1914 for fans between the International League Baltimore Orioles and the Federal League Baltimore Terrapins was useful in my research.

              The parking lot I referred to as the site of Pius Schamberger's residence prior to moving to Emory Street, is just west of the corner of Emory and Pratt streets on the south side of Pratt Street. It is next to the building that still stands on the southwest corner of Emory and Pratt streets that once housed an Indian restaurant. I am not sure if the museum once used the lot.

              To be honest, my research emphasized the Ruth side of the family more than the Schambergers. Even though the Babe Ruth Museum is in the former Schamberger residence, it seems that Babe Ruth has a stronger connection with his father's side of the family. He lived at his paternal grandfather's house after birth and later on Woodyear Street where his father, George, and his uncle John Ruth, had their lightning rod shop.

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              • Two other Sanborn images from my blog that may be of interest is the map of Camden Street where Babe Ruth father has his first saloon showing that the Baltimore Branch of the Jacob Ruppert brewery was a few doors away and the image showing the two baltimore ballparks directly across the street from each other for the International League Baltimore Orioles and the Federal League Baltimore Terrapins. The second image also shows a photo of Ruth printed in the Baltimore Sun 100 years ago this week - that I had never seen before:




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                • Originally posted by Fred View Post
                  The parking lot I referred to as the site of Pius Schamberger's residence prior to moving to Emory Street, is just west of the corner of Emory and Pratt streets on the south side of Pratt Street. It is next to the building that still stands on the southwest corner of Emory and Pratt streets that once housed an Indian restaurant. I am not sure if the museum once used the lot.
                  .
                  Yes, that's the lot that used to belong to the museum, or still does for all I know.

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                  • a Babe Ruth song written especially for the celebration of the 100th anniversary
                    of Baseball in St. Petersburg.

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAFmY...ature=youtu.be

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                    • Recent auctions were held for the famous sick kid Johnny Sylvester "I'll knock a homer for you" baseball (on which The Babe had written his promise) and for the letters written by Ruth to the kid.







                      Ruth somehow mis-dated this letter by 3 years, as it was written in 1926:







                      After Johnny got better (he'd been kicked by a horse, resulting in complications):




                      The Babe takes BP, 1926:




                      Not sure if one this clear has been posted of this one. Also 1926:




                      I recently came across a whole bunch of photos from the 1970s regarding the Babe Ruth birthplace museum. Let me know if there's interest in seeing these larger, and/or with captions:




                      Nice colorized 1921 image inside:




                      BTW, in response to a request, I couldn't find a large version of the man holding up his kid to view the Babe in the YS rotunda. I probably have it on a disc somewhere, so I'll keep looking.
                      Last edited by SultanOfWhat; 03-09-2014, 04:17 PM.
                      sigpic

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                      • More Johnny Sylvester and The Babe.
                        John Sylvester visits the ailing Babe. One of the balls Babe gave him in 1926.
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                        • Julia in St. Petersburg

                          http://www.allkids.org/body.cfm?id=3...etail&ref=1257
                          Last edited by elmer; 03-11-2014, 12:41 PM. Reason: additional

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                          • http://www.tampabay.com/news/humanin...th-day/2169546

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                            • Tried to post this Babe Ruth interview in a private message to another member, no luck, so here it is.
                              Attached Files

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                              • More on the Bam and black fans.
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