Babe Ruth's Lovelife

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

George Herman “Babe" Ruth- the most famous player in baseball history. Think Michael Jordan times Muhammad Ali times Michael Phelps at the Olympics, multiply that by two or three, and you will get some kind of an idea of just how beloved and popular the Babe was during his lifetime.

A former teammate of Babe Ruth's once recalled him by saying, “You've got to remember, this guy wasn't born, he fell out of a tree." Ruth grabbed life by the throat (or maybe it was another part of life's anatomy) and shook it up as it has seldom been shaken up.

Ruth spent the majority of his youth cooped up in St. Mary's industrial school, listed as an "incorrigible.” After he was released at the age of 20, Ruth seemed to spend the rest of his life making up for lost time. He went through women like they were jelly beans.

Most men, even the greatest ladies' men, have particular "favorite types" of women, subjective turn-ons, and particular traits they especially like in the opposite sex. Ruth seemed unusual in his complete lack of this quality. Ruth just simply loved women- of all types, sizes, races, and personalities.

Hardly a day passed during his baseball career (1914-1935) that he did not have sex with at least one woman. He liked women as much as baseball. Having no favorites, bedding tall women, short ones, fat ones, thin ones, beautiful knockouts, ugly rejects, socialites, film starlets, secretaries, other men's wives, and hookers in every big city in america.

Ruth was a stallion in bed, once making love to a woman seven times in one night- and smoking a cigar between each encounter to boot. Ruth often went to the women's homes, but sometimes he called them up to his hotel.

Ruth was crazy about prostitutes and loved frequenting brothels. Often during his career, St. Louis fans would be "touched" by the Babe as he told a St. Louis cab driver to take him to "the house of the good shepherd.” They assumed he was going to church. Little did they know, "the house of the good shepherd" was St. Louis' biggest whorehouse.

Once Ruth took over an entire house of ill repute for an entire night. His goal was to go to bed with every woman in the house- and he did, one by one. In the morning he celebrated by eating an 18-egg omelette.

Of course, anyone who lives this reckless of a lifestyle is bound to upset a few people. All this carnal activity had its inevitable casualties. Once, sports writers were chatting on a train when they were amused to see the Babe running like mad through the club car, with a furious woman chasing him brandishing a knife.

Ruth got into even more serious trouble from time to time. According to Ruth biographer, Ken Sobel: “The circumstances of one unsavory rape in which he had been involved were already known to several sportswriters."

Late in 1922, Ruth was slapped with a "breach-of-promise" suit for $50,000, filed on behalf of Dolores Dixon, a teenage employee at a Manhattan department store. She claimed she had become pregnant by Ruth. She said he had promised to marry her and had committed statutory rape. The matter went to trial in 1923 and was settled out of court.

The tragic part of Ruth's sex life was that during his busiest years with other women, he had a wife whom he sorely neglected. Ruth went through life like a cyclone, but of all the people he touched, probably none was hurt as much as his first wife.

Helen Woodford, an auburn-haired Texas girl, sweet and quite pretty, was a waitress in a Boston cafe when Ruth fell in love with her. They were married in a Catholic church in 1914; Ruth was 20 and Helen was 17. Throughout their 14 years of marriage, poor Helen's life with Ruth was pure hell. He gave her furs, an 80-acre farm and an adopted daughter named Dorothy, but he gave her neither time nor fidelity. His countless affairs with other women caused her to have a nervous breakdown.

She finally left Ruth in 1928 and the following year -while living with a dentist in Watertown, Massachusetts- she died in a mysterious house fire. Ruth mourned her briefly.

Three months later, Ruth finally did settle down and married ex-chorus girl Claire Merritt Hodgson. She was classy, well-off, strong-minded and a great beauty. She and Ruth were having an affair when Helen was alive.

He married Claire in 1929 and she tamed him, changing his entire lifestyle. She put him on a strict diet and curbed his drinking. She saved his money and forced a ten o'clock curfew on him when he went to parties.

Claire knew all about the Babe's other women and it goes without saying that this reckless habit too was finally curbed. Claire was probably the one and only woman ruth ever met who he actually respected. To the end, their 19-year marriage was, by all accounts, a happy one.

Babe Ruth died on August 16, 1948. Millions of baseball fans mourned his death- and so did countless women who knew nothing about baseball whatsoever.

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Whether or not the Babe actually settled down after his marriage to Claire is not definitely answered, but if not, he was certainly more discrete. And if he did, that could be attributed to many things, like aging, or maturity (those are two different things!), or the fact that he had two growing daughters by then. Or maybe Claire made him completely happy.
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