Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at places and events of interest in Bulloch County history.
George Herman "Babe" Ruth, played at every level of baseball. He started his career with the farm team of the Baltimore Orioles, and the moved up to the major leagues when he signed with the Boston Red Sox in 1914.
By 1918, the "Sultan of Swat" had played in his very first World Series. In it, he pitched a total of 29 2/3 consecutive innings of scoreless baseball, which remained a Major League record for nearly 30 years.
After being traded to the New York Yankees in 1920, the Babe proceeded to hit 54 home runs that year.
In 1923, the Yankees played in their new stadium — Yankee Stadium — which became known as "The House That Ruth Built." They drew over one million fans that year alone.
Late in his career, he refused an offer to manage the Newark Bears, choosing instead to become manager-player for the Boston Braves, the National League's worst team.
As such, the Babe had set up an exhibition game at Grayson Stadium on April 11, 1935, in what was the one and only time he played in the Coastal Empire.
What's more, he arranged to play a team made of faculty, staff and students from Georgia Teachers College (Georgia Southern University) in Statesboro.
For a price of 50 cents (regular seats) or $1 (reserved seating), fans throughout Georgia and South Carolina could have an up front and personal encounter with the “Great Bambino.”
In the third inning, Babe Ruth came up for his first at bat. The Braves' second baseman, Martin, was on base, when Ruth drove a streaking liner over the centerfield fence, landing somewhere between the concrete bleachers and the wooden seats.
By the end of the third inning the Braves had scored eleven runs and the Teachers none. By the sixth inning, the Teachers had already given up 19 hits and allowed 15 runs.
After the end of sixth inning, Ruth went into the clubhouse, got dressed, and then left the dugout. He was immediately swarmed by what seemed to be a million eager fans, who couldn't believe their luck at getting so close to this American icon.
As the Babe departed, so did the majority of the fans. At the top of the seventh inning, the umpires made the decision to call the game on behalf of darkness, but later admitted that when the Babe left, so did everybody else.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.