June 2, 1935: Babe Ruth retires from baseball

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Retired on this day in 1935

On this day in 1935, Babe Ruth, one of the greatest players in the history of baseball, ends his Major League playing career after 22 seasons, 10 World Series and 714 home runs. The following year, Ruth, a larger-than-life figure whose name became synonymous with baseball, was one of the first five players inducted into the sport’s hall of fame.

Ruth made his Major League debut as a left-handed pitcher with the Red Sox in July 1914 and pitched 89 winning games for the team before 1920, when he was traded (sold) to the New York Yankees. After Ruth left Boston, in what became known as “the curse of the Bambino,” the Red Sox didn’t win another World Series until 2004. In New York, Ruth’s primary position changed to outfielder and he led the Yankees to seven American League pennants and four World Series victories. Ruth was a huge star in New York and attracted so many fans that the team was able to open a new stadium in 1923, Yankee Stadium, dubbed “The House That Ruth Built.”

Many of the records Ruth set remained in place for decades. His career home run record stood until 1974, when it was broken by Hank Aaron. Ruth’s record of 60 home runs in a single season (1927) of 154 games wasn’t bested until 1961, when Roger Maris knocked out 61 homers in an extended season of 162 games. The Sultan of Swat’s career slugging percentage of .690 remains the highest in Major League history.

Babe Ruth announces his retirement from baseball. The 40 year-old former Yankees slugger wanted to retire three weeks sooner, but team owner Emil Fuchs persuaded him to continue to play because Boston hadn’t played in every National League park.  He had joined the Braves with the hope that he’d become the team’s manager the next season.

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