George Herman “Babe” Ruth was famous for his baseball skills. Baseball fans widely recognized his skills, and he earned the nicknames “The sultan of swat” and “the bambino.”
The only thing about him that was more popular than his skills were the conversations on whether he was black or mixed race.
Gorge Herman started playing baseball when it was almost impossible to find a black player on any team. These questions came up primarily because of some of his physical features: His nose, lips, and the fact that he mostly dated black women.
So, let’s fix the question.
Is babe Ruth mixed with African American?
Babe Ruth may or may not have been black or mixed with African Americans. Up to date, nobody knows for sure if he was black or not. Both his parents have German ancestry. However, there were speculations that they weren’t faithful to each other and that Ruth might have been an illegitimate child. These rumors persisted until Ruth’s death.
Are you eager to learn more about Babe Ruth? You’re in the right place. Keep reading!
Where Did Babe Ruth’s Professional Career Start?
Ruth signed a contract with Jack Dunn, who owned a minor league in Baltimore, in 1914. This contract was the beginning of his professional career.
The circumstances surrounding his selection and the signing of the contract are not precise. Although many different stories have come up on what and the whys of his contract, however, because it was several years ago, it is challenging to differentiate facts from exaggerated reports.
After his signing, he was at the receiving end of many jokes and pranks. He got nicknamed “Dunnie’s babe” by veteran players and got called variants a lot too. These nicknames came majorly from his lack of exposure, knowledge, and proper etiquette. For example, he didn’t know how to eat in a restaurant or board a train before signing.
Babe Ruth made his first appearance in an inter-squad game as a professional baseball player in 1914. He made a legendary hit; he hit a long home run to right field. People compared the shot to Jim Thorpe’s.
It was at this time that people began to notice him and give him attention little by little. He was a multi-talented player, good at the plate and pitching. He was a star pitcher.
After a while, Mike Dunn had to sell some of his top players to major league teams because he needed to raise money for his club. The New York Giants and the Cincinnati Reds showed interest in Babe Ruth. Dunns ended up selling him to the Boston Red Sox on the 4th of July.
How Was Babe Ruth’s Time With The Boston Red Sox?
Ruth made his debut in the major leagues on the 11th of July with the Boston Sox. He arrived in Boston with Shore and Egan. He often told stories of how he met his first wife, Helen Woodford, on the day he debuted with the Red Sox.
He debuted as a pitcher for the major leagues on the 11th of July 1914. Ruth didn’t get enough attention from fans because the Braves were making a comeback at that time.
Also, aside from his first game, which he did relatively well in, he wasn’t at his best. After a while, they took him off the pitching rotation.
His teammates didn’t think much of him. They thought he was undiplomatic, and they didn’t want to have anything to do with him. The story was they preferred that he didn’t speak at all.
Eventually, Egan had to leave because they sold him to Cleveland after days in Boston. He would try to keep an eye on Ruth from afar, as Dunn had done.
The stories that went around suggested that Ruth wasn’t used regularly at the Red Sox because he lacked skill and displayed rookie behavior. But in “the Babe Ruth story,” The author wrote that he didn’t get a chance because of his behavior and affinity for blacks.
Things started looking up for Ruth after Joseph Lanin, the Boston Red Sox owner, bought the Providence Gray’s. He pitched for the Gray, and he hit for the first time a professional home run for them.
He remarried during his time with the Gray’s. After the marriage, he moved to Baltimore with his wife. He ended up playing the major leagues for eight seasons.
His pitching was impressive to watch. He proved that with commitment and effort, he could do what many didn’t see him doing. According to records, his pitching performance is still the longest postseason game win by a left-handed player.
The Source Of The Speculations Surrounding Babe Ruth’s Race?
The issue of race was a huge deal in American when Ruth was a baseball player. Finding a black player in any leagues present at that time was like finding a needle in a haystack.
Amidst the prevailing racism at that time, Ruth was known for overlooking these issues, as if some of his physical features weren’t getting him enough negative attention.
He openly supported the integration of black people in the major leagues, befriending successful black people and the few black athletes in sports. He also dated black women. These actions put him in an awkward position. And at that time, it was enough to start a rumor.
To add salt to injury, Players from opposing teams often called him the N-word. These white folks openly taunted him, and at that time, there were no repercussions.
There was this incident that made headlines. Ty Cobb blatantly refused to share a cabin with Ruth. In his words, he had never shared space with a n****, and he wasn’t going to start with Ruth.
In an interview with the New York Times, Julia Ruth Stevens, who is Ruth’s adopted daughter, said that; after her father’s retirement, he didn’t get the position of manager for the major league because they had fears that he would include black players in the league.
Ruth didn’t become a manager but coached a team for a short time. The duration of his coaching was because of racial issues, according to speculations. But then, nobody confirmed this glaring fact.
Did Racism Prevent Babe Ruth From Progressing From Player To Manager?
For many years, the narrative that people held on to was that Ruth was too Brash and irresponsible to hold down the managerial position. How could he be effective as a Manager when he couldn’t manage his behavior?
Many people held on to this narrative about Ruth, including why the league refused to make him a manager. That was because he most definitely had the skill set after many seasons in the major league.
His daughter disagreed, and she tried to change the narrative that people propagated for years about her father. According to Julia Ruth Stevens, Ruth Babe would have most definitely recruited people of color into the league, and the powers above couldn’t have that.
They took away a position Ruth was qualified for because they couldn’t stand black people in their clubs.
So, if Julia’s account of the situation is anything to go by, Babe Ruth didn’t get an opportunity he deserved because of racism.
Babe Ruth’s Death
Babe Ruth’s time with the New York Yankees was memorable for him and those who loved him and the game of baseball. He was making legendary shots with ease. It was beautiful to watch.
Ruth’s health issues began in 1946. He started to notice an unending pain over his eyes, trouble making sounds with his mouth, and an inability to swallow. The doctors discovered he had cancer, and they fought tooth and nail to get him back to health.
Several stories followed the discovery of the cancer. Babe Ruth’s unhealthy lifestyle was touted as the major source of it. Many said it was the drinking and smoking that caused his cancer.
The rumors weren’t necessarily true. The New York Times made us know that he died of a rare form of cancer. The tumor is more irregular than most, nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Like many stories about Ruth, this is unconfirmed. But we know for sure that he died of cancer.
It was painful to see a baseball god who wielded so much power on the field become a shadow of himself. On babe Ruth’s day in 1947 at the Yankees stadium, he was before fans and admirers, but he was in great pain. He went through that day with so much courage and strength. Almost a year after this, he died.
Babe Ruth died at the age of 53.
Babe Ruth was a legend that could have had an easier life if he didn’t possess features that white people considered an “abomination” at that time. Although people believe that white privilege took him far, it is easy to see that it didn’t fully exonerate him from the claws of racism.
This post is an overview of the life of Babe Ruth, the racial issues he faced, and if he is black or not.
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