How Did Babe Ruth Get to Japan?

Babe Ruth, one of the most iconic figures in American sports history, is widely credited with revolutionizing the game of baseball and helping to make it the beloved pastime it is today. Although Ruth is best known for his remarkable career as one of the greatest players of all time, few people know the fascinating story of how he ended up in Japan.

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Background: Ruth’s Baseball Career

Before exploring the circumstances that led to Ruth’s trip to Japan, it is important to understand the background of his Hall of Fame career. Ruth was born George Herman Ruth Jr. in 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland. Ruth was a natural athlete, and he began playing baseball at a young age. He was eventually signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1914 and quickly made a name for himself as a powerful hitter. In 1918, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox and became a fan favorite.

Ruth’s Success in Boston

Ruth’s career flourished in Boston, leading the Red Sox to three World Series titles in just four years. Ruth’s hitting prowess was unmatched, and he broke numerous records throughout his tenure with the Red Sox. In 1919, he set the single-season home run record with 29, a record that would stand for 34 years. Ruth’s success in Boston led to his being sold to the New York Yankees in 1920 for the then-record sum of $125,000.

Ruth’s Time With the Yankees

Ruth’s time with the Yankees was even more successful than his time with the Red Sox. He continued to break records, leading the league in home runs eight times and setting the single-season home run record twice more. Ruth was also a beloved figure in New York and was considered a hero to many fans.

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The 1934 Tour of Japan

In 1934, Ruth was nearing the end of his remarkable career. At the age of 39, he was still a powerful hitter, but his best days were behind him. Despite this, Ruth was chosen to be part of a major tour of Japan led by former New York Yankees manager and Hall of Fame player Connie Mack. The tour was organized to promote Major League Baseball and also included other prominent players such as Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx.

Ruth’s Reception in Japan

Ruth’s presence on the tour was a major draw for Japanese fans due to his enormous popularity in the United States. His reception in Japan was overwhelmingly positive, and he was welcomed with great enthusiasm wherever he went. He was a hit with the fans, and his games routinely drew huge crowds. Ruth even wrote an article for the New York Times in which he praised the Japanese people and called them “the most courteous, kindly and generous people in the world.”

Ruth’s Legacy in Japan

Ruth’s visit to Japan had a lasting impact on the country. He was the first American sports star to be embraced by the Japanese people, and his influence was felt for years after he left. His visit was credited with helping to popularize baseball in Japan and inspiring a new generation of players. To this day, he is still remembered fondly by Japanese baseball fans.

Conclusion

Babe Ruth will forever be remembered as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. His remarkable career in the United States led to his being chosen to be part of a major tour of Japan in 1934. His visit to the country was an enormous success, and he is still beloved by Japanese baseball fans to this day. Ruth’s trip to Japan was a testament to his remarkable legacy as one of the most iconic figures in sports history.