The Babe Ruth League is aptly named, for Babe Ruth sincerely enjoyed youngsters and was generous in signing autographs and otherwise interacting with them. He also was, as almost every American knows, a powerful home-run hitter, and many American boys and girls see themselves (at least in their imaginations) lofting towering drives over distant fences.
The Babe Ruth League began with players from 13 to 15 years of age in 1951, holding its first World Series in 1952. Other divisions followed: a Babe Ruth division for 16- to 18-year-old players in 1966, and in later years a 13-yearold Prep League, the Bambino Division for ages five to 12, the Rookie League (with Dr. Bobby Brown, former president of the American League, as its guiding spirit), later incorporated into the Bambino Division, and a 16-year-old Prep League. There also is an array of Softball divisions for girls between the ages of five and 18.
The Bambino League consists of major, minor, rookie, and T-ball groups, the latter hitting off something like a tall tee. Rookie League ball uses a pitching machine, softer baseballs, an extra outfielder and infielder, and 12 players per team (all of whom are in the batting order) in order to help young children overcome fear of the pitcher and the ball and to make sure that everybody plays.
Babe Ruth baseball is especially sensitive to young children with its relatively nonthreatening versions of the game. At the other end, many Babe Ruth graduates have gone on to star in the major leagues, including Bret Saberhagen, Mo Vaughn, Cal Ripken, Frank Thomas, and Paul Molitor.
See also: American Legion Baseball; Little
League; Pony Baseball and Softball; Ruth,
Babe Ruth League website: http://www.
(HOME RUN) (1886–1963)
Baseball has featured many magnificent sluggers, yet only one has had “Home Run” attached to his name: John Franklin “Home Run” Baker. Baker earned that