Babe Ruth - Early Years

Early Years

Ruth was born at 216 Emory Street in Pigtown, a rough neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. Ruth's German-American parents, Kate Schamberger-Ruth and George Herman Ruth, Sr., owned a succession of saloons and sold lightning rods. Only one of Ruth's seven siblings, his sister Mamie, survived past infancy.

Not much is known about Ruth's early childhood. His mother was constantly ill (she later died of tuberculosis while Ruth was still a teenager). Ruth later described his early life as "rough." When he was seven years old, his father sent him to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory and orphanage, and signed custody over to the Catholic missionaries who ran the school (the site of St. Mary's was occupied by Cardinal Gibbons School). Ruth remained at St. Mary's for the next 12 years, visiting with his family only for special occasions. Brother Matthias Boutlier, the Head of Discipline at St. Mary's, first introduced Ruth to the game of baseball. He became a father figure in Ruth's life, teaching him how to read and write, and worked with Ruth on hitting, fielding, and, as his skills progressed, pitching. During his time in St. Mary's, Ruth was also taught tailoring, becoming a qualified shirtmaker, and was a part of both the school band and the drama club.

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