Shohei Ohtani is unique. No baseball player has ever accomplished anything remotely similar to what Ohtani is doing. He has hit 44 home runs, stolen more than 20 bases, pitched more than 100 innings and pulled fastballs faster than 100 mph. He’s a super hero, a supernova on the gaming diamond, a superstar who took a look at 150 years of baseball history and said, “Yeah, that’s awesome, but I can do better.”
Sure, there’s Babe Ruth, but even the Bambino pales in comparison. Ruth never hit 40 or more home runs and made more than 20 starts in a single season. He may have pitched and batted, but Ruth rarely did both at the same time.
“I don’t think a man can pitch regularly in a rotation, and play the other games in some other position, and keep that pace year after year,” Ruth said in 1918. “I can do it this season, and not feel the effects. , because I am young and strong and I am not afraid to work. But I would not guarantee to do that for several seasons.
Of course, once he became a full-time outfielder, Ruth wouldn’t pitch again. After pitching 133.1 innings and starting 106 games in left field for the Red Sox in 1919 – hitting 29 home runs – Ruth became a regular patrolman with the Yankees next season. He took the mound three times for a total of 13 innings between 1920 and 1921, but by that time, his bat was not only his best tool, but the great attraction of the baseball world. It was time to stop bothering his arm and think only of his bat.
He would not climb to the top again until September 28, 1930. And who else could be his rival but … the Boston Red Sox.
September 28, 1930
It was the last day of the regular season. Ruth had, once again, posted her usual numbers. He led the American League with 49 home runs. He hit .359 and led the majors in slugging and on-base average. But for the second year in a row, New York was not the Young Circuit champion, finishing 16 games behind the Philadelphia Athletics. So, with the Yankees in Boston on the last day of the season – the game was played at Braves Field because Sunday games were still banned at Fenway Park due to the proximity of a church – Ruth made a humble request to the Bob Shawkey, rookie Yankees manager: wanted to pitch.
In this day and age, no sane manager or pitching coach would allow their team’s superstar to do such a thing. Unlike now, when a slugger might be able to pitch in a wide open game to show the knuckle ball he’s been working on, Ruth wanted to compete.
“12,000 fans heard the announcer name the New York Yankees drummer, ‘Ruth and Bengough,'” the AP agency reported the following morning. “The public thought they were playing a joke on them. Nine innings later they couldn’t help but applaud George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth, the home run master who had returned to the pitching plate and led his teammates in a 9-3 victory over the Red Sox. “
Although he was initially expected to pitch “a few innings,” Ruth displayed all of her talents, allowing just two hits in the first five innings. With New York up 7-0 when Ruth took the mound in the bottom of the sixth, the team decided to unleash the Bambino. He pitched a complete game, allowing 11 hits and only three runs, only two of them earned.
“(Ruth) threw straights and curves in a way that ended up baffling the Red Sox until her arm got tired in the eighth,” the New York Times reported.
Sadly, while Ruth had a solid day at the plate, going 2-for-5 with two singles and one RBI, she didn’t get the other thing the fans were hoping for: she didn’t hit a home run, staying with 49, unable to reach 50 last. time in his career.
It would take three years for Ruth to play the tabla del morrito again. Once again, that happened on the last day of the season; once again, the Yankees were already out; and once again, the Red Sox were the rival. But this one had a twist: Ruth was now 38 years old and coming off her worst offensive numbers since 1925, when she missed nearly half the season with a bowel ulcer. This might be the last time Ruth wore the striped uniform at Yankee Stadium.
Ruth not only volunteered to take the mound – this time he had practiced throwing batting practice in the final weeks of the season – but also took part in a Home Run Derby that was staged before the game. With 20,000 fans in the stands, Ruth put on a show. He won the Derby, hitting a 395-foot home run to take home the crown.
After pregame efforts and with trainer Doc Painter massaging her arm between innings, Ruth was ready. Regular catcher Bill Dickey was given the day off and Joe Glenn, who had played just 10 games in the Big Top, was his drumming partner.
“It was going to be the second catcher. But they decided to give me the opportunity to receive, “Glenn told SABR in 1983.” It was a way to give me confidence. ‘Put him in there with Babe and see what he can do.’
Even at 38 years old and having competed in a Derby before the game, Ruth was fine. He pitched five scoreless innings before getting into trouble and allowing four runs in the sixth. But still, no one thought of taking out the Bambino. He completed the game, yielding five lines and taking the victory.
And even better? This time, Ruth homered, his 34th of the season off Bob Kline in the fifth inning.
“Babe was my idol,” Glenn said. “He was like a God in baseball to me. And I never imagined that I was going to play with him on the same team and receive his last game. That is what one calls a miracle ”.
Although Ruth returned with the Yankees in 1934 before joining the Braves in 1935, he never pitched again.
“I lost eight pounds in that game,” Ruth said after the match. “I am not there to pitch regularly. The outfield and that’s it. One game a month is all I want to release. I have a sore arm and a headache ”.(ESPNDEPORTES.COM)