On July 11, 1914, 19-year-old George Herman “Babe” Ruth played his first major league baseball game as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.
The Babe’s First Season
George Herman Ruth, a 19-year-old Baltimore schoolboy, was signed before the 1914 season by Jack Dunn, manager of the minor league Baltimore Orioles. Teammates called him “Jack’s newest Babe,” and the nickname stuck.
In July, Dunn sold the “Babe” to the Boston Red Sox of the American League. Ruth arrived in Boston on the morning of July 11, 1914, and that afternoon was the starting pitcher against the Cleveland Naps.
“Ruth, formerly of Baltimore, made his debut as a local pitcher and held Cleveland to five scattered hits in the first six innings,” wrote the July 12 New York Times. “In the seventh three singles and a sacrifice netted two runs for Cleveland and tied the score.”
Ruth was lifted in the bottom of the inning for pinch hitter Duffy Lewis, who reached base and scored the go-ahead run. Boston went on to win 4-3, with Ruth picking up the win.
His next start wouldn’t go so well, as he was knocked out in the fourth inning. He wouldn’t pitch again for more than a month, and his teammates grew to dislike his “crude manner, wild eating habits, and … carefree playing style that hard-nosed veterans viewed as lackadaisical,” writes HowStuffWorks.
On Aug. 18, he was sent down to Providence, where he starred on the mound and in the batter’s box in leading the Grays to the International League pennant. He was recalled to Boston, where he received one more start, defeating the New York Yankees on Oct. 2.