Flashback: Babe Ruth's First Home Run,
May 6, 1915
In the third inning at the Polo Grounds, 20-year-old pitcher Babe Ruth
slammed the first pitch off Yankee right-hander Jack Warhop into the
second tier of the right field grandstand for a home run. It was the
first home run for the youngster in his 18th time at bat in the major
As Ruth trotted around the bases running out the home run he had
blasted, the 8,000 in attendance, including Red Sox owner Joseph Lannin,
American League president Ban Johnson and sportswriters Damon Runyan and
Heywood Broun, cheered him on.
Runyan wrote in his account of the game: "Fanning this Ruth is not as
easy as the name and the occupation might indicate. In the third inning,
Ruth knocked the slant out of one of Jack Warhop's underhanded
subterfuges, and put the baseball in the right field stands for a home
run. Ruth was discovered by Jack Dunn in a Baltimore school a year ago
where he had not attained his left-handed majority, and was adopted and
adapted by Jack for use of the Orioles. He is now quite a demon pitcher
and demon hitter when he connects."
Ironically, the momentous first of the Babe's 714 career home runs came
against the team he would come to symbolize - -the New York Yankees. The
homer was his fifth major league hit. In ten times at bat in 1914 and
eight times at the plate in 1915, he had notched three doubles and a
"Mr. Warhop of the Yankees," wrote Wilmot Giffin in the New York Evening
Journal, "looked reproachfully at the opposing pitcher who was so
unclubby as to do a thing like that to one of his own trade. But
Ruthless Ruth seemed to think that all was fair in the matter of
fattening a batting average."
Ruth's singular shot and two other hits notwithstanding, the Yankees
were able to eke out a 4-3 triumph in 13 innings over the Red Sox who
committed four errors. The Babe was saddled with the loss.
# # #
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Harvey Frommer is in his 38th year of writing books.
A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports
books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and
"Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE
STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL
AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to
acclaim in 2011. The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was
Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One.
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