St. Marys, Ont. – On September 5, 1914, a 19-year-old Boston Red Sox pitching prospect stepped up to the plate in the sixth inning and belted a three-run home run off of Toronto Maple Leafs hurler Ellis Johnson at Hanlan’s Point Stadium on Toronto Island.
Few thought much of the blast that reportedly cleared the right field fence and landed in Lake Ontario at the time. After all, the long ball came off of the bat of George Herman Ruth, who was batting ninth and toeing the rubber for the Double-A Providence Grays, and this husky teenager was destined for a future on the mound, not in the batter’s box.
But that home run turned out to be Babe Ruth’s first professional – and only minor league – round-tripper. The Bambino, of course, graduated to the big leagues by the end of that season and eventually socked 714 four-baggers in a 22-year career, mostly with the New York Yankees.
With today being his birthday, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is selling a limited number of prints (numbered out of 714) that commemorate his historic first homer.
Titled “The Babe and Toronto: A Legend Begins . . . September 5th, 1914,” these prints are signed by the artist, Pam Davies, and are being offered exclusively by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. The cost is $50 plus shipping per print and proceeds will go towards the renovations to the museum.
“This is a great opportunity for fans to purchase a print that pays tribute to one of the greatest moments in Canadian baseball history,” said Scott Crawford, the Hall’s director of operations. “When you’re talking about baseball, there’s no one bigger than the Babe and we’re fortunate to have an exclusive opportunity to sell these prints.”
Created in 1985, the Ruth print is 18.5″ (width) by 25″ (length) and features action and profile shots of the Babe, a sketch of the stadium, the game’s box score and the Canada and U.S. flags.
It’s interesting to note that in the same game as his historic first home run, Ruth also pitched a complete-game, one-hitter to lead the Grays to a 9-0 win over the Maple Leafs in front of 2,300 fans at Hanlan’s Point Stadium. The only hit Ruth allowed was a single to Leafs catcher Billy Kelly.
To purchase one of these limited edition Ruth prints, please call the Hall of Fame at 519-284-1838 or email [email protected].