Ruth’s Last Time At Bat

Babe Ruth, 1935
Boston Braves

A couple of days ago, we received a link to a wonderful brief article from friend and baseball colleague, Mark Wernick, on Babe Ruth’s last official time at bat in baseball. It happened on May 30, 1935. Ruth was set to play left field for the visiting Boston Braves in the first game of a scheduled doubleheader against the home team Philadelphia Phillies at the Baker Bowl that afternoon. He came up third in the top of the first inning and rolled out on an easy play at first base.

On a personal note, Mark Wernick’s father, one of that era’s young Philadelphians, was there to see it happen. On a historical note, righty Jim Bivin of the Phillies became the last pitcher to retire Babe Ruth in big league play, and Phils 1st sacker Dolph Camilli claimed credit as the last opponent to make a put out in the field at the expense of the once great Bambino.

Playably not-so-great on this late date, an aging Babe Ruth fully knew it, and where he stood. His contact-with-the-past three homer game in Pittsburgh ~ only five days earlier ~ was just that ~ a will-of-the-wisp all heart reminder of all he used to be ~ and no harbinger of promise for a rare human conquest of the battle with physical mortality. ~ It was time for Babe Ruth to walk away from the game as a player.

After the Phillies crunched Braves starter Fred Frankhouse for the first of 3 runs in 11 that he would give up in an 11-6 Phils win, Ruth didn’t even return to the Braves dugout at the end of the first inning. He already had made up his mind to pack it in ~ for good. He simply jogged on out to the door in the outfield wall that would allow him to go straight to the visiting Braves’ clubhouse.

May 30, 1935: No Ruth Soaring Today. The greatest slugger and biggest mythological hero in baseball history had just gone from the scene in a Model T Ford with four flat tires. Unlike a game played only five days earlier in which he could have played his last game as the most fabled final day by any slugger to that point in time or since.

May 25, 1935: Ruth’s Final 3 HR at Pittsburgh. Entering the game hitting .153 with only 6 homers on the season, the Babe reached down deep and clouted three monumental homers ~ the ones that got him to 714 ~ and there would be no more. ~ No more home runs ~ and no more hits. Ruth would play 5 more games beyond that big day ~ going 0 for 9 in his final all road ~ all losing appearances as a Brave.

Fiction Topples Reality in the Telling of This Tale.  as it most often does, fiction made the Pittsburgh 3-HR day the last game in Babe Ruth’s career. That’s how the 1948 movie, “The Babe Ruth Story,” played it ~ as they pretty much did with everything else they portrayed on the big screen about Ruth. The last 3 games in Cincinnati and the 2 Ruth games in Philadelphia that followed simply disappeared as though they never happened as part of the story. In the movie, the writers turn his real 4th hit that day ~ a single ~ into the time that Ruth would leave the game and turn over his job in the outfield to a rookie who will take his place as a runner ~ but not in the hearts of fans.

Here’s a Quick Study Table on the reality of what happened with Ruth at the plate from the day prior to his big game in Pittsburgh to the day that the Babe actually walked away from the game as a player ~ and with no fanfare.

DATE   FOE   RUTH-IN-GAME   AB   H   HR   BA
5/24/35 @PGH 1/4 ~ 0 HR 59 9 3 .153
5/25/35 @PGH 4/4 ~ 3 HR 63 13 6 .206
5/26/35 @CIN 0/4 ~ 0 HR 67 13 6 .194
5/27/35 @CIN 0/0 ~ 0 HR * 67 13 6 .194
5/28/35 @CIN 0/2 ~ 0 HR 69 13 6 .188
5/29/35 @PHI 0/2 ~ 0 HR 71 13 6 .183
5/30/35 @PHI 0/1 ~ 0 HR ** 72 13 6 .181

* Ruth walked as a pinch hitter in his only game plate appearance.

** Grounded out to 1st base in his only time up in the top of the 1st in Game 1 of a DH and then took himself out of the game for the last time as a big league player after playing left field in the bottom of the 1st.

Here’s a link to the article that Chris Landers of MLB.com wrote on May 30, 2018 about the Babe’s last game. Thank you too, Mark Wernick, for having a father whose 12-year-old presence in attendance at this big game in the history of baseball’s biggest hero also moved the needle in favor of us writing our own impressions here of this major moment.

https://www.mlb.com/cut4/this-day-in-baseball-history-babe-ruth-plays-his-final-game-of-his-mlb-career/c-278801168

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Tags:

2 Responses to “Ruth’s Last Time At Bat”

  1. materene Says:

    Nice historical piece, very nice

  2. John Watkins Says:

    Another personal note: George “Watty” Watkins, former Houston Buff outfielder and my great-uncle, was the left fielder for the Phillies in the Babe’s last game. Watty spent most of his MLB career with the Cardinals.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: