Sandler: Babe Ruth was first in flight in Fayetteville

From Roberta Sandler at the Baltimore Sun on February 27, 2014:

On Saturday, March 7, 1914, George Herman Ruth planted his feet in the batter’s box of the baseball diamond at the Cape Fear Fair Grounds in Fayetteville, N.C., and slammed a pitch.

The confident rookie, who had just signed with the Baltimore Orioles, sent the ball soaring 350 feet, hitting his first home run as a professional baseball player.

Fayetteville has never let go of that historic moment. Babe Ruth is still reverently referred to, his name inserted into local newspaper articles and spotlighted at a couple of local museums.

In 1951, the city memorialized the Babe’s home run by installing a North Carolina Historic State Marker on Gillespie Street, at the site of the long-gone Fair Grounds.

The centennial of Babe’s home run is fast approaching, and to commemorate the event, the local Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex (part of the North Carolina Museum of History) will hold a rededication ceremony at the marker March 7. The highlight of the next day’s Babe Ruth Day Festival will be a vintage baseball game with a Babe Ruth impersonator and costumed re-enactors. The game will follow 1864 rules — bare-handed ball. Spectators are welcome.

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Originally published: March 5, 2014. Last Updated: March 5, 2014.