This article was written by Arthur O. Schott
This article was published in the 1972 Baseball Research Journal
It was just a note in a 1914 minor league box score, but as time went by, what an important historical item it was to become in the baseball records. On that day, September 5, 1914, Babe Ruth pitched for the Providence team of the International League end held his opponents (Toronto) to a single safety as he breezed to a 9-0 victory. Ruth, the pitcher, came to bat in the sixth inning and hit a homer with two aboard to put his team ahead.
This was the first homer ever hit in a regular game by the immortal Babe Ruth, and the box score deserves a place in every fan’s scrapbook. Ruth hit only one minor league homer, and this was it. After advancing to the majors he hit 714 regular season fourbaggers, plus 15 in World Series play, and one in the first All-Star game in 1933. This does not include an unknown number of exhibition game homers hit in almost every sizeable city in the U.S.
Let’s take a look at Ruth’s record in batting and pitching in 1914, his only minor league experience. He played with Baltimore and Providence and performed as follows:
(Editor’s note: See Babe Ruth’s complete minor league record at Baseball-Reference.com.)
Note his strange distribution of extra-base hits, including 10 triples. It must have been a great year for triples because teammate Guy Tutwiler of Providence set the league record with 29. Other interesting names in the box score include Ray Powell, later a star with the Boston Braves, and the Onslow brothers, Ed and Jack, who was the Babe’s batterymate and later manager of the Chicago White Sox. Toronto’s line-up included former NL home run king Timothy Jordan.
Here is the box score of that historic game, Ruth’s one-hit shutout of Toronto, and his first, and his only minor league home run, September 5, 1914, in Toronto.
|E. Onslow, lb||5||1||7||1|
|J. Onslow, c||5||3||8||0|
E-O’Hara, Fabrique. R-Platte, Shean, Tutwiler, Powell, Bauman 2, J. Onslow, Ruth 2. 2B-Powell, 3B-Platte, J. Onslow. HR-Ruth, BB-Off Johnson 5, Ruth 3. SO-By Johnson 3, Ruth 7. HBP-By Johnson 1, DP-Fitzpatrick to Jordon. SB-Fabrique. LOB-Toronto 4, Providence 7. Time: 1:30.
Umpires-Nallin and Hart.