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5 Baseball Players Sent Back to the Minors


5
Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth, a rookie pitcher for the Providence Grays at the time, poses for a team photo in 1914.
Babe Ruth, a rookie pitcher for the Providence Grays at the time, poses for a team photo in 1914.
Transcendental Graphics/Sport/Getty Images

Many consider Babe Ruth, aka the Bambino and the Sultan of Swat, the greatest major league baseball player of all time. He played for 22 seasons, retiring in 1935. The Babe was a power hitter and broke numerous records, including most career home runs, RBIs (runs batted in) and highest slugging percentage. As a New York Yankee, he led the team to seven American League pennants and four World Series wins. Ruth also changed the sport forever; his home run prowess excited crowds, and the high-scoring games gave baseball a "wow" factor.

Given all that, you might be surprised to learn that Babe Ruth started out as a pitcher -- and a pretty good one. He pitched a total of 163 games, an ERA (earned run average) of 2.28 and a win-loss record of 94-46. Ruth was signed as a pitcher with the Baltimore Orioles, a minor league team at the time, in 1914. He was a raw talent but did well. The Orioles were hurting financially, though, and sold him, along with two other players, for cash to the Boston Red Sox. Babe Ruth pitched in four games for the Red Sox that year, making his major league debut on July 11. However, the 1914 Boston Red Sox team was full of great players, and there just wasn't room for a rookie pitcher. Ruth was sent down to the minor league Providence Grays for the rest of the season. The Grays were in their own pennant race, and Ruth helped them win it. The next year, he went back to the majors for good and pitched just five games after his infamous sale to the Yankees in 1920.