MLB Needs to Retire Number 3
...and not for Mark Lorretta
This past Sunday, the legacy of Jackie Robinson was celebrated throughout Major League Baseball. Robinson's number 42 is retired throughout professional baseball, and rightfully so; he is a man who endured unfathomable trials and tribulations through his entire career. What I disagree with is the assumption that Jackie Robinson is the only player in the history of baseball to deserve such an honor. There is one other such man who is worthy of such a distinction: one George Herman Ruth.
Regarldess of fact and lore about his extra-curricular activities, one thing is true of Babe Ruth: he single-handedly saved the game of baseball from extinction. After the 1919 "Black" Sox threw the World Series for money (imagine a Major League Baseball player needing money HAHA), the sport was at an all time low. The country had soured on its favorite pastime, and cynical fans viewed it like modern sports fans view boxing; fixed.
But Babe Ruth captivated the country by hitting the ball deep, something they hadn't seen before. He hit more homeruns than every other team in the American League. He took the game that I love out of the crapper, and that is something that for which I will be eternally grateful. Every fan, player, owner, announcer, groundkeeper, and stadium parking attendant should be aware of, too. Bottom line; every pitch you have ever seen thrown was only allowed to happen because Babe Ruth stepped up when this game needed a hero. He put an entire sport on his back, and carried it back to prominence of national if not international proportions. Without Babe Ruth, there is no Jackie Robinson.