Remembering Babe Ruth’s Home Run at Hanlan’s Point: September 5: Snapshots in History
Many Torontonians love baseball and avidly follow the Toronto Blue Jays from Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Toronto Maple Leafs of the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL). Yet, if those of us interested in Toronto history and baseball history both go back in time over 100 years ago and stop at September 5, 1914, one will find a convergence in which an American named George Herman Ruth (aka Babe Ruth) hit his first professional homerun playing for the Providence Grays in a two-game series against the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League at Hanlan’s Point on the Toronto Islands.
How did the newspapers record Babe Ruth’s impact in Toronto on that fateful day? The September 7, 1914 issue of the Globe contained an article on page 10 entitled: “LEAFS COULDN’T GET RUNNER PAST FIRST: Only One Hit Made Off Pitcher “Babe” Ruth: BROKE EVEN WITH GRAYS…”. Here is an excerpt from that article:
“From Saturday’s double-header the Leafs emerged with a percentage of .500, losing the first game by 9 to 0, and winning the second 3 to 2…”Babe” Ruth, the tall left-handed pitching sensation of the Providence team, held the Kelleys to one hit – a single – in the first set-to. This youngster is not yet old enough to vote, but he can heave that old pill, and the Boston Americans made no mistake when they bought him from the Baltimore Internationals. The Red Sox are said to have paid $25,000 for Ruth, Shore and Egan. He gave three bases on balls, and struck out seven batsmen…”
Similarly, page 3 of the September 7, 1914 issue of the Toronto Daily Star offered the reader an article entitled “THE LEAFS WON AND LOST TO THE GRAYS: “Babe” Ruth Held Them Helpless in the First Spasm – Prieste’s Timely Hit”. Here is an excerpt from that article:
“The Leafs are not entitled to very much credit from Saturday’s first game with Providence, but as they nosed the Grays out 3-2 the second, they get by…The first game was a 9-0 defeat. “Babe” Ruth, the Grays’ youthful southside phenom, held the Leafs to a single clout in the first, and had them all smothered on the nigh side of second base…He gave three bases on balls and struck out seven….Johnson twirled for the Leafs, and the Grays just murdered his fast ball. They got 15 hits, including a home run by Ruth…”
Consider the following titles for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections: