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WPW Throwbacks: Babe Ruth

babe-ruth-shot

When Hillerich and Bradsby wanted to display a truly epic example of their best work, they chose the bat profile created for the most legendary player ever, Babe Ruth, a model R43.

Source: A Baseball Road Trip

Source: A Baseball Road Trip

big-bat-info

The R43 wasn’t Ruth’s first bat with the company, he apparently first ordered the R2, which he used to hit the first home run in Yankee Stadium, and the R34 (below), which he used to shatter the home run record in 1927 with 60 bombs (in 151 games played).  That year, Ruth named his 42 ounce R34 “Beautiful Bella.”

r34

SCP Auctions

Source: SCP Auctions

Ruth’s bats were routinely ordered at 35 and 36 inches, with weights ranging from about 38 to over 50 ounces.  For decades players including Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Tony Perez, and even Wade Boggs, used R43 profile bats, although those bats were usually well under 40 ounces.

Just how well did Ruth swing a log like that?  This is from GeneralForum.com (worth checking out the rest of the article):

“In 1921 tests were performed on Ruth at Columbia University. During these tests they concluded that Ruth could swing his 54 ounce bat 75mph. For comparison of today’s standards Albert Pujols had similar tests performed on him and he swings a 31.5 ounce bat 86.99mph.”

It is believed that had Ruth used a lighter bat, he would have put up even more ridiculous numbers, but in that time it was considered “manly” to swing a heavy bat since all the power hitters did, and Ruth followed that blueprint.

An interesting note about Ruth’s record-shattering 60 home run season in 1927: Ruth would carve notches in his bat for every home run in that season (see below).

Source: Tennessee Wanderer on Flickr

Source: Tennessee Wanderer on Flickr

(That’s 21 notches for those counting.  That was a busy bat.)

It is difficult to find a bat matching Ruth’s profile, with the closest probably coming from Phoenix Bats.

One comment

  1. Awesome post

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