What was Babe Ruth’s Net Worth?
Babe Ruth was an American professional baseball player who had a net worth of $800 thousand at the time of his death. That’s the same as around $9 million today after adjusting for inflation. Babe Ruth played in the MLB for 22 seasons from 1914 through 1935. Best known for his tenure with the New York Yankees, with which he won four World Series titles, he is considered to be among the greatest baseball players of all time. Additionally, Ruth was known for his many off-field incidents of drinking and womanizing.
Babe Ruth was an outfielder and pitcher who batted and threw left-handed. Ruth made his Major League Baseball debut for the Boston Red Sox in 1914 and played for Boston until 1919. He played for the New York Yankees from 1920 to 1934 and for the Boston Braves in 1935. Ruth won seven World Series championships with the Red Sox and Yankees. He was a two-time All-Star and a 12-time American League home run champion. Ruth won the AL MVP in 1923 and the AL batting championship in 1924. He was a six-time AL RBI champion and the AL ERA champion in 1916. Ruth’s #3 was retired by the New York Yankees and was a part of the inaugural class of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. Ruth has been named Baseball’s Greatest Player by The Sporting News and the #1 North American Athlete of the 20th Century by ESPN SportsCentury. Babe Ruth passed away on August 16, 1948, at age 53.
- Babe Ruth Salary Highlights
- Early Life
- Career Beginnings
- Boston Red Sox
- New York Yankees
- Boston Braves and Retirement
- Personal Life and Death
Babe Ruth Salary Highlights
At his peak, in the year 1927, Babe Ruth’s salary was $70,000. He earned another $90,000 from endorsements. All told, that’s the same as earning around $2.5 million in a year today after adjusting for inflation.
Babe Ruth was born George Herman Ruth Jr. on February 6, 1895, in Baltimore, Maryland to George and Katherine. He had seven siblings, only one of whom, Mamie, survived infancy. At the age of seven, Ruth was sent to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, an orphanage and reformatory where he began playing baseball under the aegis of Brother Matthias Boutilier. However, due to little supervision from his parents, he became a delinquent. When he was 12, his mother passed away. Ruth slowly got his act together, and by the time he was 18, had become the best pitcher at St. Mary’s. Moreover, he was permitted to leave the premises to play weekend community games.
Ruth began his professional playing career in 1914 when he signed with the minor-league Baltimore Orioles. In his first appearance, he played shortstop and pitched the final two innings of a 15-9 win. Subsequently, he made his first appearance against another team in organized baseball in an exhibition game against the Philadelphia Phillies. At the beginning of the regular season, Ruth became known as a star pitcher.
Boston Red Sox
In July of 1914, Ruth began playing in the major leagues for the Boston Red Sox and won his first game as a pitcher against the Cleveland Naps. He went on to develop a reputation as one of the league’s most brilliant pitchers; additionally, he often hit long homers. Among his other accomplishments, he broke the MLB single-season home run record in 1919. Overall, Ruth twice won 23 games in a season with the Red Sox, and made three World Series appearances.
New York Yankees
Ruth was controversially traded to the New York Yankees in December of 1919 by Red Sox owner Harry Frazee. This trade between rivals New York and Boston fueled what became known as the “Curse of the Bambino,” which some belief contributed to Boston’s 86-year championship drought. In any case, Ruth was a sensation with the Yankees. Over the course of his 15-year tenure, he helped the team win seven AL pennants and four World Series titles. Fans flocked to the ballpark to witness his huge swing, leading to a major uptick in the popularity of baseball in the United States.
Significantly, Ruth belonged to the 1927 Yankees lineup dubbed “Murderers’ Row,” a group of top hitters; the other members were Earle Combs, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel, Mark Koenig, and Tony Lazzeri. As part of the lineup, Ruth hit 60 homers and helped the Yankees sweep the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series. In 1934, he played in his last full season with the team; his years of high living were by then taking a toll on his performance. Ruth finished his tenure with the Yankees having played over 2,000 games and breaking numerous batting records.
Boston Braves and Retirement
In February of 1935, after a failed campaign to become Yankees manager, Ruth was traded to the Boston Braves. In his first home game in the city in over 16 years, he accounted for all the Braves’ runs in a 4-2 victory over the New York Giants. After a successful second game, however, both Ruth’s and the Braves’ fortunes declined. By the end of only the first month of the season, Ruth knew his playing career was finished; he retired in June.
No major league team was interested in hiring Ruth following his retirement. He was considered too unruly for a managerial job, and too physically unfit for playing. However, Ruth played a significant role during World War II, when he made many public appearances to support the war effort. Additionally, he played golf in his later years, a sport he had begun when he was 20.
Personal Life and Death
In 1914, Ruth married Helen Woodford; they were both teenagers at the time. The couple later adopted a daughter named Dorothy, before separating in 1925. Four years later, and three months after Woodford died in a house fire, Ruth wed actress and model Claire Merritt Hodgson. Through the marriage, he gained a stepdaughter named Julia. Beyond these two marriages, Ruth was highly scrutinized in the press for his womanizing. He was also known for his heavy drinking.
After experiencing severe pain in his left eye, Ruth was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma in 1946. He was treated with drugs and radiation and was discharged from the hospital having lost 80 pounds. Ruth dramatically improved in 1947, and traveled the country promoting the Ford Motor Company. However, his condition worsened the following year, and he passed away in August at the age of 53.
Ruth’s legacy remains monumental in the United States. In addition to being known as one of the all-time greatest baseball players, Ruth is widely regarded as one of the first celebrity athletes, as well as one of the most significant American public figures of the 20th century. Numerous biographies have been written on him, and many of the most expensive sports memorabilia items ever sold are related to him, such as his 1920 Yankees jersey. In 1949, a granite monument of Ruth was unveiled in the center field of Yankee Stadium.