One hundred years ago, the New York Yankees arrived at the Polo Grounds to begin a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox. The year was 1915. They had no idea of what to expect from Boston’s rookie pitcher, George Herman Ruth. While they were preparing to face the young left handed pitcher, the last thing they thought about was his bat. The game was scoreless when he stepped to the plate in the top of the third inning. Pitcher Jack Warhop was on the mound for the Yankees. It was Ruth’s 18th major league at-bat. No one could predict what was about to take place. Ruth swung at Warhop’s first pitch. The 8,000 in attendance gasped at the crack of the bat. The ball landed in the right field bleachers. Wilmot Griffin wrote in the New York Evening Journal, “Mr. Warhop of the Yankees looked reproachfully at the opposing pitcher who was so unclubby as to do such a thing like that to one of his own trade (a fellow pitcher).” Babe Ruth collected two more hits that day, while pitching 12 1/3 innings in an eventual loss to the Bronx Bombers.
While his amazing home run career was just ahead, the 20-year-old rookie was then known for his pitching. It wasn’t until 1920 that he was moved to the outfield fulltime in order to bat every day. The Great Bambino would soon re-write the record book and lead the Yankees (following a trade from Boston) to four World Series championships. One hundred years ago, they thought of Babe Ruth as a pitcher. He would become the greatest power hitter of all time, amassing 714 homers over the next 20 years. But it all began on May 6, 1915. With one swing of the bat and one column by a sports reporter, his fame was launched.
I wonder how many of us are just one word of encouragement from our greater path. Launching his 2016 presidential bid, Mike Huckabee said, “Where you are from does not have to determine where you end up.” That is true in all parts of life. Babe Ruth was a pitcher. But he would go on to become baseball’s greatest star . . . all because he refused to let his past define his future. We all have a past. I don’t know your past, but I do know mine. And I know that where you have been and where you are today does not have to dictate the path you take tomorrow. God has a better future. So step up to the plate and start swinging.