Womack: When Babe Ruth pitched again for Yankees

From SABR member Graham Womack at The National Pastime Museum on May 31, 2017:

In 1919, as goes his story from The Glory of Their Times, Boston Red Sox outfielder Harry Hooper made one of the boldest moves in baseball history, convincing General Manager Ed Barrow to put teammate Babe Ruth in the field everyday.

Ruth had shined over his first five seasons as a pitcher, going 80–41 with a 2.09 ERA. He might be in the Hall of Fame as a hurler alone if he’d stayed with it his entire career. Quietly, though, Ruth was arguably better as a hitter than a pitcher in the early years of his career, amassing 9.2 wins above average in limited duty as a hitter between 1914 and 1918 and 10.3 as a pitcher.

Ruth hit 29 home runs in his first season as a full-time hitter in 1919, and after his sale to the New York Yankees the following winter, the rest is history.

There’s a little-known postscript, though, to Ruth’s time as a pitcher. For varying reasons, he made five appearances on the mound as a Yankee, getting wins all five times and pitching two complete games. In fact, if he’d gone back to pitching in his later years, Ruth might have prolonged his career.

Read the full article here: https://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/when-babe-ruth-pitched-again

Originally published: May 31, 2017. Last Updated: May 31, 2017.