Ruth’s Records Reign Over Baseball

Babe Ruth is still considered one of Major League Baseball’s greatest players, so it stands to reason that many of his records are standing to this day. (Photograph on left courtesy of Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum)

It’s been more than 83 years since Babe Ruth played his final major league baseball game, leaving America’s Pastime with a mountain of records that took players decades to top. Even now, there are quite a few achievements of Ruth’s that remain untouched, despite other all-time greats coming close.

Here’s a look at a handful of the all-time marks Ruth set in his illustrious career that no one has caught up to yet.

Slugging Percentage

Babe Ruth remains one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game, leaving the game as the all-time record holder for highest slugging percentage (.690) in 1935 and having the record remain for well over a half-century and counting. Ruth achieved this feat by leading all players in the statistic for 13 of his 22 seasons in the majors, including for seven consecutive years from 1918-24 and another six consecutive from 1926-31. Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams is second in slugging percentage with a .634.

On-Base + Slugging Percentage (OPS)

This statistic relates heavily to the first, but this time it accounts for how many times a player has gotten on base, not just how often they hit the ball. Ruth left the game with an OPS percentage of 1.164, which is the best in the history of Major League Baseball. His best season was in 1920, his first year with the New York Yankees, where he had career-highs in slugging percentage (.847) and OPS (1.379). Williams was also second in OPS, finishing his career far behind Ruth with a 1.116.

Multi Home Run Games

When you went to a game with Babe Ruth in it, you were likely in for a show. That was especially true for the 72 games in which Ruth hit two or more home runs. Seventy of those games were two home-run games for the legend, while in two games he hit three. One of those games was against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 25, 1935, five days before formally announcing his retirement. Barry Bonds was the closest to beating the record, as he had 71 multi home run games.

American League Home Runs

Outside of the last season with the Boston Braves, Babe Ruth spent the entirety of his career in the American League. In six seasons with the Red Sox and 15 with the Yankees, Ruth hit a grand total of 708 home runs, setting the all-time AL record. One of the great home run achievements by Ruth was setting the single season record for home runs at 60 on Sept. 30, 1927, which would later be broken by Roger Maris in 1961 in 162 games—Ruth’s single season record, meanwhile, was set in 154 games. Behind Ruth in career AL home runs is Alex Rodriguez, who sits at second with 696 home runs.

Innings Pitched In A World Series Game

Along with all the regular season accomplishments, Ruth was excellent on the World Series stage, hitting over .300 in six World Series stints. However, one of the most fascinating achievements in Ruth’s 22-year career was when he pitched for 14 straight innings in Game 2 of the 1916 World Series, the most in a single game of the Fall Classic. On October 9, 1916, Ruth held the Brooklyn Robins to only one run and 6 hits, which led to a victory for him and the Red Sox in that game, as well as the title three games later. Considering how long pitchers are on the mound in today’s game, this bar may be one that will never be passed.

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Christopher Birsner
In addition to being the editor of the Massapequa Observer and Plainview-Old Bethpage Herald, Chris Birsner is the sports editor for Long Island Weekly and often contributes gaming articles to the arts and entertainment publication.

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