The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Here's an interesting trivia question that I found while researching the previous post: How many home runs did Babe Ruth hit? The official answer is 714, but Ruth actually hit another one; he just didn't get any credit for it. Before 1920, if you hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth or later inning, and the runners you batted in were sufficient to win the game, you would get credit for whatever number of bases would advance the winning run across. Strangely, Ruth was given credit for this 715th homer for awhile until it was rescinded:

When is a home run not a home run? Before 1920, not if it came with men on base in the ultimate inning and created a margin of victory greater than one run. A ruling of Special Baseball Records Committee in 1969 reversed its earlier decision that had made home runs of 37 disputed final-inning, game-winning base hits. In accordance with the practice of the day, such a hit, even if it sailed out of the park, would be credited with only as many bases as necessary to plate the winning run. Thus Babe Ruth's "715th home run," hit on July 8, 1918, to win a game against Cleveland, remained a triple.



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