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Baseball 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 leagues.


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 single.


"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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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

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. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

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Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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