Strange but true Babe Ruth had something in common with Baker Bowl.
Yes, a little-known fact…Baker Bowl was the site of two significant moments in Babe’s career. Extremely difficult to believe considering “The Bambino” spent only one year in the National League during his 22 years as a major leaguer.
As a 20-year-old on the Boston Red Sox, Ruth made his first ever World Series appearance at the Baker Bowl for Game 1 of the 1915 Series against the Phillies. He grounded to first base as a pinch hitter in the top of the ninth. Ruth was 18-8 as a pitcher that season, his second in the majors, but didn’t pitch in the Series against Philadelphia.
Ruth played his last game ever against the Phillies in Baker Bowl on Memorial Day, a May 30 Thursday afternoon doubleheader in 1935. Phillies won both games before 18,000 fans, their biggest home crowd of the season.
Ruth batted third in the Boston Braves lineup as their left fielder. He had been released by the New York Yankees, February 26 of that year. The Braves signed him the same day.
“Babe Ruth’s failure to play more than one inning was the only disappointment the crowd was forced to bear. The Big Bambino limped out to left field to start the first game, batted once and then retired to the clubhouse and pet his creaking joints,” wrote Stan Baumgartner in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
That one at-bat was a grounder to the first baseman, duplicating his 1915 World Series debut.
Coincidentally, Baumgartner was a 20-year-old pitcher on that 1915 Phillies team and witnessed Ruth’s first World Series at-bat. Stan later worked as an Inquirer sportswriter from 1929 to 1955.
Ruth’s first appearance at Baker Bowl since the 1915 Series took place the day before his final game. “It was Babe Ruth Day—and the big fellow proved he is far from being an also ran,” Baumgartner wrote. “Ruth went to bat four times, walked twice, fanned twice and made two fine running catches of fly balls. As the game was about to start, Ruth was called to home plate and presented with a huge floral piece shaped as a baseball by his local admirers.”
Shibe Park and the Philadelphia Athletics saw a lot more of Ruth. In 347 career games against the A’s, Ruth hit 108 home runs while batting .352. At Shibe Park, he averaged .357 with 68 homers. He also compiled a 14-5 record against the A’s as a starting pitcher, including 5-3 mark at Shibe Park.
He was hitless in three regular-season at-bats against the Phillies in Baker Bowl.
#400: September 2, 1927, off LHP Rube Walberg of the Philadelphia A’s at Shibe Park. It marked the first time 400 home runs had been reached…Walberg yielded the most (17) among 216 pitchers.
#695: June 3, 1934, off A’s RHP, Sugar Cain. It was Babe’s last home run in Philadelphia.