CRF Blog

Babe Ruth: “I Hit Big or I Miss Big”

by Damon Huss

Ruth

(Wikimedia Commons)

On this day in 1927, Babe Ruth hit a record-setting 60th home run in a single season. Babe Ruth also hit 714 home runs throughout his major-league career, which spanned 21 years. He remains at number three on the list of career leaders in home runs.

Since 1927, Ruth’s single-season record has been beaten several times. Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa have taken the respective first, second, and third places for the single-season home-run record. Due to scandals involving performance-enhancing steroids, however, Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa have not had enough votes for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Babe Ruth remains at number eight on the single-season record list and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1936.

Known for his big personality, Babe Ruth described how he achieved his record, as quoted in Paul Dickson’s Baseball’s Greatest Quotations (2008):

How to hit home runs: I swing as hard as I can, and I try to swing right through the ball. In boxing, your fist usually stops when you hit a man, but its possible to hit so hard that your fist doesn’t stop. I try to follow through in the same way. The harder you grip the bat, the more you can swing it through the ball, and the farther the ball will go. I swing big, with everything I’ve got. I hit big or I miss big. I like to live as big as I can.

For a classroom lesson on Babe Ruth, as well as examining statistics about which team has been “the greatest,” see CRF’s  “Babe Ruth: The Incorrigible Hero” from our classic publication, Sports & the Law.