The great Babe Ruth was born this day in 1895.
Ruth hit a tremendous .340/.470/.681 with 98 home runs and 331 RBIs in 354 career games against the White Sox, back when there were only eight teams in the American League. In his amazing career, Ruth set several records and attained countless milestones. A number of former White Sox players had a part in many of those historic moments. I scanned the all-time White Sox roster to see who was on hand when the Bambino rewrote the history books.
All of the players in boldface below played for the White Sox at one time or another, though they may not have been with the White Sox at the time of Ruth’s milestone.
Everett Scott (1926)
July 11, 1914
Scott was the starting shortstop for the Red Sox the day Ruth made his major league debut. Scott played 40 games for the White Sox at the tail end of his career in 1926. In between, Scott posted a consecutive-game streak of 1,307 games, which stood as the record until Lou Gehrig broke it.
Ellis Johnson (1912, 1915)
Sept. 5, 1914
Johnson pitched in eight major league games: three for the White Sox in 1912, one more for the White Sox in 1915 and four games for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1917. Johnson’s biggest link to baseball history took place in an International League game in Toronto on Sept. 5, 1914. Pitching for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Johnson gave up a home run to a young Ruth of the Providence Grays — the only minor league home run of Ruth’s career.
Dickey Kerr (1919-21, 1925)
July 19, 1920 (Game 2)
Kerr was the rookie sensation who earned two wins in two complete-game starts for the Black Sox in the 1919 World Series; certainly he was giving it his all, even if some of his teammates weren’t. The following season he was one of a quartet of White Sox 20-game winners along with Eddie Cicotte, Lefty Williams and Red Faber. On July 19 of that season, in Game 2 of a doubleheader, he went the distance in an 8-5 slugfest win over the Yankees. He allowed three home runs, two of which were off the booming bat of Ruth. Ruth’s first home run was his 30th of the season, making him the first player in major league history to hit 30 home runs in a season and also making Kerr the first pitcher to allow a player’s 30th home run of a season. Kerr later managed in the minors, including the 1940 Class-D Daytona Beach Islanders. On Kerr’s pitching staff that season was a young Stan Musial, who went 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA.
José Acosta (1922)
Sept. 24, 1920 (Game 1)
Nineteen men born in Cuba have played for the White Sox (entering the 2019 season), the first of whom was a right-handed pitcher from Havana named José Acosta. The diminutive hurler, listed at 5-foot-6 and 134 pounds, made five appearances for the White Sox in 1922. He got his start in the majors in 1920 with the Washington Senators. The first home run he ever allowed as a big leaguer came as a Senator on Sept. 24, 1920, in Game 1 of a doubleheader. It just so happened to be Ruth’s 50th blast of the season, the first time any big leaguer ever reached 50 in a single campaign.
Bert Cole (1927)
July 18, 1921
Ruth hit his 36th home run of the season in a 10-1 rout over the Tigers on Monday, July 18, 1921, at Detroit’s Navin Field. It went really far, as the New York Times mentioned the following day:
“According to the wielders of the local measuring stick, Ruth’s homer today was his longest of the season. The Detroit statisticians aver that it is 560 feet from the plate to the point where the ball soared out of sight over the centre field barrier, and they brought out the old surveying rod and sextant to prove the contention.”
What wasn’t mentioned — because they simply had no idea at the time — was that this home run, the 139th of Ruth’s career, set a new career major league record. The previous mark was held by a 19th century giant/Giant (he was 6-foot-3, 220 pounds and played for the New York Giants) named Roger Connor.
And by the way, historian Bill Jenkinson once estimated this home run as the longest ever in a major league game (in his book "The Year Babe Ruth Hit 104 Home Runs," a highly entertaining read) at an astounding 575 feet (approximately). The home run was off Cole, a lefty from San Francisco, pitching in only his seventh career major league game. He later pitched 66.2 uninspiring innings for the White Sox in 1927 at the end of his career.
Phil Douglas (1912)
Oct. 9, 1921
“Shufflin’” Phil Douglas debuted in the majors with a three-game trial with the White Sox in 1912. By 1921 he was the Giants’ Game 1 starter in the World Series against the Yankees. Four days later he started Game 4, where he allowed the first postseason home run of Ruth’s career.
The next season was Douglas’ last. Near the end of the season, after a dispute with manager John McGraw, Douglas penned a letter to Cardinals outfielder Les Mann stating that he wanted to leave the team and that “I don’t want this guy (McGraw) to win the pennant.” The letter made its way to the desk of Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, and Douglas was banned from baseball.
Douglas finished 1922 with a major league leading 2.63 ERA despite not pitching beyond July.
Tommy Thompson (1938-39) and Randy Moore (1927-28)
May 30, 1935 (Game 1)
Ruth’s final major league game came as a member of the Boston Braves on May 30, 1935, in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl. Ruth made an out in his lone plate appearance before being lifted from the game. Two former White Sox were part of the Braves starting nine: Thompson, the right fielderm, who joined the White Sox a few years later, and Moore, the first baseman, who had started his career with the Sox several years earlier.
One hundred twenty four years ago today the Babe was born.
Seven hundred fourteen career home runs.
Countless players made into the answers of trivia questions. This is just a sampling.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.