“Swinging” Babe Ruth’s No Hitter
Everyone remembers the story of Babe Ruth’s epic no hitter right? Well not really, but on this day in baseball history it happened. Considering Babe Ruth is one of baseball’s all time greats, why don’t we hear more about his combined no hitter? Possibly because Ruth spent more time throwing punches than he did throwing pitches on this particular day.
On June 23, 1917 Babe Ruth took the mound for the Red Sox against the Washington Senators. After issuing a leadoff walk to Senator second baseman, Ray Morgan, Ruth began giving the home plate umpire an ear full. The unlucky man behind the plate this day was Brick Owens. According to the Boston Globe, Ruth thought the umpire missed multiple strikes on the first batter and told him to “open your eyes and keep them open.” After that the ump threatened to eject Ruth. Ruth then decided he was done pitching for the day. The Babe responds to the threat of ejection saying, “You run me out and I will come in and bust you on the nose.” Sure enough, Ruth was ejected and he had to make sure he held true to his promise.
The newspaper at the time told the story:
“Then in rushed Ruth. Chester Thomas tried to prevent him from reaching Owens, who had not removed his mask, but Babe started swinging both hands. The left missed the arbiter, but the right struck him behind the left ear. Manager Barry and several policemen had to drag Ruth off the field”
After Ruth finished his antics, Ernie Shore came on in relief. The 6’4 righty entered the game with a 1.97 ERA in 12 starts. The leadoff batter Morgan was quickly caught trying to steal second. After that Shore retired the next 26 batters while only striking out two. With two outs in the 9th and the Red Sox leading 4–0, the Senators’ Mike Menosky broke one of baseballs unwritten rules and tried to get on with a bunt single, but Boston’s player/manager threw him out to preserve the no-hitter. While it was first recorded as a perfect game for Shore, it is now officially documented as a combined no hitter.
While possibly the greatest player of all time started that day on the mound, Ernie Shore is the guy etched Babe Ruth’s no hitter into the history books. Shore went on to go 58–33 with a 2.12 ERA for the Red Sox from 1914–1917. He is also documented as breaking up at least 1 more fight involving the Great Bambino.
Originally published by Chandler Maples at baseballfam.com on June 23, 2016.