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The Babe Ruth Museum

Babe Ruth, one of the world's greatest baseball players, was born and raised right here in Baltimore, in the quiet neighborhood of Ridgely's Delight.

The birth of the Bambino

On Feb. 6, 1895, George Herman "Babe" Ruth was born at 216 Emory St., the home of his grandfather, Pius Shamberger. Babe lived in Ridgely's Delight for the first nine years of his life before moving to other parts of Baltimore. According to a 1974 report in The News American, Ruth was greatly influenced by the dockworkers who lived in Ridgely's Delight and picked up their antics. Ruth's parents had no choice but to send him to a strict Catholic school, St. Mary's Industrial School (now Cardinal Gibbons High School), so that he could learn some discipline. A scout for the Baltimore Orioles, while at St. Mary’s, spotted him, thus beginning his storied baseball career, which also led to the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, and his 714 lifetime home runs in the majors.

Museum history

Ruth is buried in New York, but the citizens of Baltimore wanted to recognize his birthplace too. According to several articles from the Baltimore Sun, the city of Baltimore started an effort to preserve 216 Emory St. as a historical site in 1968, when Ruth's birthplace was going to be torn down. Baltimore's then-mayor Thomas J. D'Alesandro III named spice company executive Charles P. McCormick as chairman of the Committee for the Babe Ruth Birthplace Restoration. The city then bought 216 Emory for $450, and the accompanying units--212, 214, and 218--for $1850 total in February 1968. In July 1968, Ruth's widow, Claire Ruth, began a fundraiser to have the home at 216 made into a museum. The Babe Ruth Museum was dedicated on Apr. 14, 1970, but could not open due to lack of funds. The museum finally opened to the public on July 20, 1974.

The Babe Ruth Museum today

The Babe Ruth Museum todayToday, between 35,000 and 40,000 people visit the Babe Ruth Museum each year, said the museum's public relations director, Laurie Ward. The museum is no longer limited to the topic of Babe Ruth though. There are now displays for the Baltimore Orioles, the Baltimore Colts, Johnny Unitas, and it holds archives devoted to regional baseball and Maryland's Negro leagues. Ward said the museum is unique because "It is the only birthplace of an athlete designated as a national historic site." He added, "The museum also has two themes of both baseball and football, and it has a unique neighborhood setting."

Ridgely's Delight

Ward said the museum is actively involved with the neighborhood of Ridgely's Delight. "We try to send at least one representative to each neighborhood meeting, and we have an open dialogue with the president of the neighborhood association," Ward said. She also said the museum is involved with Ridgely's Delight's open house in the spring and allows the neighborhood to hold a pre-game party at the museum each baseball season. "Ridgely's Delight is a historic neighborhood, featuring quaint row houses with marble steps," said Ward. "It features multi-cultural and multi-generational residents, making the neighborhood a melting pot of Baltimore and Baltimore transplants."

It's the perfect place to preserve a bit of Baltimore's sports history.

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