Shieber: Did Babe Ruth ever bat right-handed?

From SABR member Tom Shieber at Baseball Researcher on October 12, 2018:

There have long been rumors that Babe Ruth, one of the greatest left-handed batters of all time, sometimes batted right-handed. Are those stories true? Let’s take a look at the various claims.

Marshall Smelser, in his 1971 biography of Ruth titled “The Life That Ruth Built,” recounted a story of the Babe batting right-handed on May 21, 1930. As described by the author, the event purportedly took place in the first game of a double-header against the Athletics at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park:

For the first time in a regular season game he hit three home runs in one game … and he still had one more time at bat …. When Ruth came up in the ninth he faced the right-handed spitball pitcher Jack Quinn. Outraging reason, Ruth decided to bat right-handed against a right-hander. He took two called strikes in this unfamiliar batter’s box, then crossed over to bat left-handed—and struck out.

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Originally published: October 12, 2018. Last Updated: October 12, 2018.