by Marsha Brandsdorfer

In 1995, Guyana issued unique self-adhesive postage stamps resembling a set of 12 baseball cards honoring the legendary Babe Ruth. Ruth has also been memorialized on other international stamps, and to date three U.S. postage stamps: Scott # 2046 (1983); Scott #3184a (1998); and Scott # 3408h (2000).

Born on February 6, 1895, in Baltimore, Maryland, George Herman Ruth, Jr. was a rumpus child, who refused to go to school. It did not help that his father owned a saloon so Ruth would be around notorious characters. At the age of seven, Ruth was placed in a school for boys who were orphans or whose parents could not take care of them. His mother passed away when he was fifteen, and six of his seven siblings died as babies. Only Ruth’s sister, Mamie, survived past infancy and lived until the age of 91.

While at the orphanage, Ruth had a strong talent for throwing, catching, and pitching a baseball, and was put on the school baseball team. Ruth was recruited to the Orioles minor league baseball team in 1914. It was here that he received the nickname “Babe Ruth” for being a new “babe in the woods.” He was also called “The Bambino” meaning “baby” in Italian, for engaging in childish stunts and joking around.

After the minors, Ruth was drafted into the Boston Red Sox, where his resilient pitching and hitting of home runs helped the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in 1915, 1916, and 1918. Nonetheless, Ruth was becoming a nuisance, as he liked to stay out late, causing him to become tardy to games the following day. Yet, due to his growing popularity with fans, he requested double his salary.

Instead, after the 1919 season, Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees, which was considered a horrible team at the time. However, Ruth turned the luck around for the Yankees, who went on to win several World Series games. The Boston Red Sox fell to last place, and would not win another World Series until 2004, which became known as the “Curse of the Bambino.” Ruth was very gracious, and never hesitated to give his autograph. Fans loved him and his grand personality. When the Yankee Stadium opened in 1923, a New York reporter called it “The House that Ruth Built.”

By the 1934 season, due to health problems, this became his last season with the Yankees. Babe then played a short time for the Boston Braves, and although he was still a big draw to his fans, physically he just could not play well anymore. When he left the Braves, Ruth enjoyed golf for exercise and recreation. The Babe Ruth Story by Babe Ruth and Bob Considine was published a few months before Ruth’s death from cancer at the age of 53, on August 16, 1948 in New York City. This book and Babe Ruth and the Baseball Curse by David A. Kelly were used as my research for this article.

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