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The Babe Ruth Story

The Babe Ruth Story(1948)

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In 1906, on the Baltimore, Maryland waterfront, motherless George Herman Ruth, who works in his father's saloon, is sent back to St. Mary's Industrial School, which is run by Brother Matthias. By 1913, George's great enthusiasm and talent for baseball are apparent, and he is hired as a left-handed pitcher for the minor league Baltimore Orioles by manager Jack Dunn, who gives George the nickname "Babe." In 1914, after winning twelve consecutive games, Babe is sold to the Boston Red Sox. During a losing streak, Babe meets a chorus girl named Claire Hodgson, who tells him that he has been telegraphing his curve balls by sticking out his tongue just before the pitch. Taking Claire's observations to heart, Babe goes on to strike out the legendary outfielder for the Detroit Tigers, Ty Cobb, and helps the Red Sox win three world championships. In 1918, Babe breaks records by pitching twenty-nine consecutive scoreless innings of World Series baseball. Babe is then given a two-year, $10,000-per-season contract with the Red Sox. During Red Sox training camp in Tampa, Florida, Babe hits the longest home run in the history of baseball--600 feet--and then inspires a crippled boy who had watched the game to stand for the first time. As a result, Babe quits pitching and becomes a left fielder. In 1919, Babe breaks all records by hitting twenty-nine home runs in one season, and in 1920, is sold for a record six figures to Colonel Jacob Ruppert, owner of the New York Yankees. Two seasons of record home runs follow, but Babe becomes increasingly dissolute off the field, enraging Yankee captain Miller "Hug" Huggins. After missing a game while helping a little boy's dog, which he injured at Comiskey Park, Chicago, Babe is fined $5,000 and suspended for two weeks. Although newspaper headlines dub Babe "the bad boy of baseball," he continues to help unfortunate children. One Christmas Eve, kids in a New York children's hospital eagerly await the arrival of Babe dressed as Santa Claus. He arrives drunk, however, and runs into Claire, who scolds him for setting a bad example for the millions of children who idolize him. That year, the Yankees finish in seventh place, and when Yankee executives decide to fire Babe, Hug defends him, saying that Babe saved baseball after the White Sox World Series scandal of 1919 caused the public to lose faith in the sport. At age thirty-two, Babe is broke and ready to give up baseball, until Brother Matthias points out to him that if crippled children never give up, how can he? Claire agrees to stick by him, and the day before the 1927 season ends, Babe breaks his own record yet again by hitting fifty-nine home runs. Babe becomes engaged to Claire, and the Yankees go on to win the 1927 World Series. When Claire and Babe return from their honeymoon, they learn that Hug has just died. Later, in Chicago, during a 1932 World Series game between the Yankees and the Cubs, Babe visits a dying boy named Johnny and promises to hit him a home run to the centerfield bleachers. As Johnny listens over the radio, Babe calls his shot, and the boy lives. Finally, in 1935, after twenty-one years in baseball, Babe retires. The following year, after being hospitalized for three months, Babe is given three weeks to live unless he tries an experimental serum that could prove fatal. With Brother Matthias and Claire at his side, Babe accepts the risk so that others with his disease might benefit from the serum. As Babe is wheeled into the operating room, boys all over America continue playing the game of baseball.