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