Is It True? Babe Ruth’s First Professional Home Run Baseball Sits in Lake Ontario
Babe Ruth, The Great Bambino, George Herman Ruth Jr.-- whatever you call him, the American baseball player has gone down in history as one of the greatest players to ever set foot on the mound.
Babe Ruth has a storied career which includes 22 seasons playing in the major leagues, but even the "Greatest of All Time" can start at humble beginnings. Before Babe Ruth famously joined the Baltimore Orioles he was a rookie pitcher for the minor-league Providence Grays in 1914.
Legend has it that during his time playing for the Providence Grays, Babe Ruth hit his first ever professional career home run during a game in Toronto, Canada. With the stadium located on the shore of Lake Ontario, do you think it's possible that ball is still sitting at the bottom of the lake?
The game in question took place September 5, 1914 at Hanlan's Point Stadium on Toronto Island. Often called the "Coney Island of Canada", the baseball stadium was located right on the water and was home to the minor league baseball team the Toronto Maple Leafs-- this was at the time when they were a baseball team and not a hockey team.
It was the top of the 6th inning when Babe Ruth stepped up to bat with two on and two out. Ruth swung and made contact with the ball, sending it--as some fans would recount-- over the right field wall and out of the park making it his first ever home run as a pro.
However, not everyone is convinced the ball actually left the park like Barry Naymark, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research who calls the story "mythical." In fact, baseball historian Bill Humber told Andrew Norton,
The account of the game the day after in the Star Weekly says it was hit into the bleachers. So, several things would have happened to the ball potentially: One, it would have simply been thrown back into the game...Or it could have been kept by a young fan...It would have been taken home, used, played with and eventually lost or eventually worn out like many balls that get used over and over again.
The bottom line is it doesn’t matter what the story was. Whether the ball is in the water or the bleachers...because we have now invested it with meaning.
We may never truly know the fate of Babe Ruth's first home run ball. I like to think it sits like sunken treasure at the bottom of Lake Ontario just waiting to be discovered. What do you think actually happened?