Ranking No. 3: The Best of The Babe

A look back at six of Babe Ruth's best moments in baseball
01/03/2013 4:16 PM ET

Babe Ruth takes a bow on June 13, 1948, the day the Yankees retired his No. 3.(AP)
Ninety-two years ago today, George Herman “Babe” Ruth officially became property of the New York Yankees, with then-Yankees owner (and 2013 Hall of Fame inductee) Jacob Ruppert purchasing “The Great Bambino” from Boston for $100,000.

In honor of No. 3, we double down and present to you six of his biggest moments in Major League Baseball. We’ve omitted his sale to the Bombers and the eventual “Curse of the Bambino” for obvious reasons, but we think you can guess that quite a few of the items on the list have to do with the long ball.

Honorable Mention: Zeroes for ‘16
Way back in 1916, when he was mostly just a left-handed pitcher, Babe Ruth compiled nine shutouts in his 40 starts, an in-season record for southpaws that stood until Ron Guidry tied it in 1978. That fall, when the Red Sox beat Brooklyn to win the World Series, Ruth allowed just one earned run in 14 innings – all of which came in the same game – and began a streak of 29 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in the Fall Classic that would carry over to 1918.

No. 5: A Ruthian first
In 1933, Ruth was selected to play in the first All-Star Game at Chicago’s Comiskey Park, and it was The Babe’s two-run blast – the first homer in All-Star history – that helped the AL top the NL 4-2.

No. 4: Called to the Hall(s)
Three years after hitting the first All-Star homer, Ruth was part of another first: the first inducted class into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1936, just months after his retirement, The Babe was named on 215 of 226 ballots and joined Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson as the first five to be enshrined in Cooperstown. Then, on June 13, 1948, just two months before his passing, Ruth’s No. 3 was retired by the Yankees, making him the second Bomber (behind Lou Gehrig) to be honored in Monument Park.

No. 3: Long live the King
Babe Ruth hit career home run No. 714 on May 25, 1935, and his record stood for nearly 39 calendar years until Hank Aaron tied and then broke it in April 1974. What many don’t know, however, is that Ruth actually became the all-time home run king long before 1935; according to official canon, he became the sole career leader on July 18, 1921, when he hit dinger No. 139, surpassing Roger Conner’s total of 138 and breaking a record that had stood since 1895.

No. 2: A four-time record breaker
Ruth’s legendary total of 60 home runs in a season, which stood from 1927 until Roger Maris hit “61 in ’61,” is the most recognized of The Babe’s single-season glories. However, when he hit 60 in 1927, that was actually the fourth time Ruth had broken the record, and the third time he had topped himself; “The Bambino” hit 29 homers in 1919 to surpass Ned Williamson’s record of 27 (which had been set in 1884), then hit 54 in 1920 and 59 in 1921 to set the bar even higher.

No. 1: Babe calls his shot
By now, nearly every baseball fans knows the story of Game 3 of the 1932 World Series, when Ruth allegedly pointed to the center-field stands at Wrigley Field and then smacked a homer to center on the very next pitch. Even in dispute (of whether he pointed to the stands or not), it’s one of the most famous moments in baseball history, and, at least to us, there’s no dispute that it should be No. 1 on The Babe’s laundry list of accolades. comments