The Sultan of Swat

Kelly Wallace, Librarian, History Department,
Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth

On this date in 1927, Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run of the year, breaking his own record of 59 set in 1921 and setting a mark that would last until Roger Maris hit 61 in 1961. He hit it off Tom Zachary, a 31-year-old left-hander pitching for the Washington Senators. On his third pitch to Ruth, Zachary threw a big, slow curveball, “as good as I got,” but Ruth hit the low pitch just fair down the right-field line. In 1927, Zachary gave up only 6 home runs all season. Ruth hit three of them.

In April, there were no signs that Ruth was going to have a great season. He was 32 years old and suffered from a number of health problems, including low blood pressure and chronic indigestion (too many hot dogs). During his record-setting season, Ruth hit more home runs than every major league team except the Cardinals, Cubs, and Giants. He hit a home run every 11.8 times at bat. He hit a home run off of 33 different pitchers.

Babe Ruth survived a hardscrabble childhood, his father left him at the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys when he was 7, to become the best-known baseball player of all time.

To read more about the Babe and baseball, check out the following books:

The Babe Ruth Story by Babe Ruth as told to Bob Considine

The House that Ruth Built by Robert Weintraub

The Big Bam by Leigh Montville

Babe Ruth: Launching the Legend by Jim Reisler

The Physics of Baseball by Robert K. Adair

The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence S. Ritter

Baseball: An Illustrated History by Geoffrey C. Ward (with Ken Burns)

Baseball’s Golden Age: The Photographs of Charles M. Conlon by Charles Martin Conlon

Go Dodgers!