(February 6, 1895 – August 16, 1948) was an American professional baseball player whose career in Major League Baseball (MLB) spanned 22 seasons, from 1914 through 1935. Nicknamed "The Bambino" and "The Sultan of Swat", he began his MLB career as a stellar left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, but achieved his greatest fame as a slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees. Ruth established many MLB batting (and some pitching) records, including career home runs (714), runs batted in (RBIs) (2,213), bases on balls (2,062), slugging percentage (.690), and on-base plus slugging (OPS) (1.164); the latter two still stand today. Ruth is regarded as one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture and is considered by many to be the greatest baseball player of all time. He was one of the first five inductees into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.
At age seven, Ruth was sent to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory where he learned life lessons and baseball skills from Brother Matthias Boutlier of the Christian Brothers, the school's disciplinarian and a capable baseball player. In 1914, Ruth was signed to play minor-league baseball for the Baltimore Orioles but was soon sold to the Red Sox. By 1916, he had built a reputation as an outstanding pitcher who sometimes hit long home runs, a feat unusual for any player in the pre-1920 dead-ball era. Although Ruth twice won 23 games in a season as a pitcher and was a member of three World Series championship teams with Boston, he wanted to play every day and was allowed to convert to an outfielder. With regular playing time, he broke the MLB single-season home run record in 1919.
After that season, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee controversially sold Ruth to the Yankees, an act that, coupled with Boston's subsequent championship drought, popularized the "Curse of the Bambino" superstition. In his 15 years with New York, Ruth helped the Yankees win seven American League (AL) championships and four World Series championships.