January 22, 2023

Babe Ruth's 715th Home Run

Babe Ruth's Lost 715th Home Run
By Allan Wood

On April 27, 1969, baseball fans learned that "one of the most hallowed statistics of all sports lore" – Babe Ruth's career total of 714 home runs – would be revised. Leonard Koppett of the New York Times reported on a "forgotten" home run hit by Babe Ruth in the summer of 1918. "It turns out," Koppett wrote, "that Ruth hit 715 home runs, not 714, and starting next year the official records will show that."

This surprising announcement came out of the creation of The Baseball Encyclopedia – the landmark reference work containing, for the first time ever, "a complete record of every man who ever played in a major league game" – which was published later that year, in August 1969.

. . .

From The Babe, published in 2019 by the Society for American Baseball Research in 2019.

My biography of Ruth was also included:

The Ruth bio was originally written for Deadball Stars of the American League (2006). I was asked later on to expand it so his entire career was covered. (No one seemed to care that the lede remained the same, but looking at it now, for the first time in several years, I think the first paragraph should be rewritten.)

I also contributed "Cool Babe Ruth Facts", which was not included on SABR's website. I'll share that complete article in another post.

And here's is one of my favourite Ruth photos, just because:


The Ings said...

Seems that Frank "Home Run" Baker also lost out on a home run, a couple weeks after the Babe. An especially egregious slight to my way of thinking...although he was a Yankee at the time, so maybe it doesn't matter.

Excellent information to have handy for barroom bets. Thanks.

Paul Hickman said...

Read your article - it's really quite sad that they couldn't bring themselves to do the logical & sensible !

To change the "errors" of the past ......

It does make you wonder how amusing mlb's response would be to a selection of other "historical errors" ? Thank goodness they aren't involved in War Crimes, Border Disputes, Religious Arguments etc.

allan said...

That July 1918 home run would have given Ruth 12 for the season.
But the Book says he hit 11 and tied for the AL lead with Tilly Walker of the A's.

From my 1918 research: Now whenever I hear "Frank 'Home Run' Baker", the first thing I think of is that he swung an extremely big bat, if you know what I mean.