For those of you that didn’t know (myself included), here is how George Herman Ruth became known as Babe Ruth…
When George Herman Ruth was seven years old, his father sent him to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory and orphanage, and signed custody over to the Catholic missionaries who ran the school. This is where he first learned the game of baseball, thanks to Brother Matthias Boutlier.
n 1913, St. Mary’s Industrial School was playing a game against Mount St. Mary’s University (then college) in Emmitsburg, MD. That day, the game was attended by Joe Engel, a former Mount St. Mary’s student who was now a pitcher for the Washington Senators. Impressed with Ruth’s pitching abilities Engel, along with a teacher at St. Mary’s, Brother Gilbert, brought Ruth to the attention of Jack Dunn, owner and manager of the then minor-league Baltimore Orioles. After watching Ruth pitch in a workout for half an hour, Dunn signed Ruth to a contract. He signed a contract for $250 a month on February 14, 1914.
Since Ruth was only 19 years old, Dunn had to become Ruth’s legal guardian as well; at that time, the age of majority was 25. When the other players on the Orioles caught sight of Ruth, they nicknamed him “Jack’s newest babe.” The reference stayed with Ruth the rest of his life, and he was most commonly referred to as Babe Ruth from then on.