Lords of the Drinks

Babe Ruth, the drunken legend of American baseball


Babe Ruth in a classic pose, enjoying the good life on the waterside.

When talking about American culture it’s only a matter of time before the word ‘baseball’ is dropped. Players like Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle (another great drinker) and Babe Ruth became national heroes. That last one (1895-1948) was chosen as the best baseball player of all times by The Sporting News. Quite impressive if you consider that Ruth was a heavy drinker and smoker, with quite some kilos of overweight.

Babe Ruth was mainly known for his homeruns. In 1927 he was the first player in baseball history to hit 60 homeruns in a single season. In his total career “The Bambino” came to 714 homeruns, while playing for the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Boston Braves. But Ruth didn’t only gained a reputation on the field. His drinking, smoking and womanizing were just as legendary.

The nickname Babe once was given to Ruth as he was quite young when he made his debute in baseball. In time these letters actually got a very new meaning: Beer Alcohol Booze in Excess. The player himself put in little effort to hide his extravagant lifestyle. A famous quote by Ruth is: “It’s simple kids, if you drink and smoke and eat and screw as much as me? Well, kiddos, someday you’ll be just as good at sports.”

Another cool story is when Babe Ruth visited Chicago for a game against the White Sox. The opponent players afraid of his far hits, and familiar with his reputation as a heavy drinker, took Ruth out the night before. A friendly bartender did his part by overserving Ruth horribly. In the end he was so smashed that everyone was convinced there was no way he could harm the hometeam. Ruth showed up for the game without any sleep and still fairly loaded. Not only did he dominate the game in an impressive way, after it he shocked the players of the White Sox by  asking where they were going for drinks this time.

In 1946 Babe Ruth was diagnozed with cancer. A disease that killed him in 1948 at age 53. His early death may have contributed to his legacy but even during his short life Ruth already was a living legend. He found a place in history as one of the greatest drinkers in the world of sports.

Micky Bumbar

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