Almanac Baseball: Babe’s Spirit 100 Years On


Babe Ruth (Image: Wikipedia)


By 1921 Babe Ruth had settled into the Yankees after his controversial move from the Red Sox the previous year. He had established a reputation as a slugger who could also take the mound. This was a rare skill but the men in the Bronx had other plans for Mr Ruth. They saw him as a key hitter who should play the outfield and focus less on his pitching prowess. He only ever took the mound five times in his 15 year career with the Evil Empire (as a Red Sox fan I can’t help revert to invective when describing the men in pinstripes).


Their investment paid huge dividends in that 1921 season. Babe hit 177 runs batted in – a record that still stands. He only took the mound once in June. When he did he was leading the home run tally for the season. That was a feat that seemed destined never to be repeated …… until this year!



Shohei Ohtani (Image: Wikimedia Commons)


Enter Shohei Ohtani, a Japanese pitcher/ slugger with the LA Angels. When Shohei took to the mound in April he was also sitting atop the home run heap. Babe would have been smiling from his eyrie in baseball heaven.


The great thing about Shohei is that he has gone on with it. Up to this point he has had 10 starts for an incredible earned run average of just 2.70 – the best of his short career so far. He has also continued to clear the fence consistently with 19 home runs so far, putting him just behind Vladimir Guerrero who is having a break out year.


In baseball folklore the name Babe Ruth is evinced in hushed tones akin to The Don in cricket. For this young man from Japan to rival some of his feats is quite heady really. He is a graceful player to watch too. With still a way to go in this year’s season he has the potential to write many more chapters, write them from the heart.


The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE


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Grew up playing the rugby codes in suburban Sydney. Moved to Melbourne during the Carey era so becoming a Shinboner was the natural call. Still love the game they play in heaven. Took an interest in MLB a few years back and have become infatuated with America's pastime.


  1. Kevin Densley says

    Enjoyable piece, Brian. Love MLB and, especially, pieces which make connections to its ‘Ruthian era’, or are about the era itself.

    Note re MLB RBI record: Lewis ‘Hack’ Wilson hit a staggering 191 RBIs for the Chicago Cubs in 1930 – a record which still stands.

  2. haiku bob says

    Thank for this Brian.

    I became hooked on baseball while living in Japan in the late ’90’s.
    A certain slugger for the Tokyo Giants by the name of Hideki Matsui was making a name for himself at the time, later going on to become a legend at the New York Yankees, winning the MVP in the 2009 World Series. I was lucky enough to see him play (and hit a home run!) at the old Yankee Stadium on 4th July, 2005.

    Othani is a rare talent. I hope we get to enjoy watching him for years to come.

    dying sun
    a sacrifice fly
    holds the light


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