Plant Field /
Former Home of the Tampa Smokers
Former Spring Home
Boston Red Sox
Chicago White Sox
When the Red Sox came to Spring Training in 1919 here in Tampa, Babe Ruth was holding out on the Red Sox. He had the most power anyone had ever seen in Boston and he wanted to be an every day player. He was no longer interested in playing. Some in the Red Sox organization began to agree that maybe they couldn’t afford to keep him in the rotation. Still, Harry Frazee felt that the starting rotation best suited the Babe best. Ruth wasn’t going to have any of it and with the New York Giants in town, he was going to prove that fact once and for all. Ruth gave a mighty swing at George Smith’s (1919: 5-13, 3.36) fastball and "whalloped it stupendous" (Tampa Tribune). Now keep in mind that on most teams during this dead-ball period, 3 HRs would make you the clean up hitter. Ruth’s HR would fly 587 feet. It was the furthest that any baseball had ever been hit in an organized game and a historical marker still exists on the spot where it landed. Needless to say, Ruth had made his case. He would still start 17 games but he would also play the outfield every day that he wasn’t on the mound. He finished with a 9-5, 2.97 record in 15 starts. He also hit .322 with 34 2Bs and 29 HRs along with 114 RBIs. There were only 4 other HRs hit all season by the rest of the team put together and the 2nd highest RBI total was 58. Babe Ruth had let his bat do the talking. By 1920 Frazee had traded him to the New York Yankees where he hit 54 HRs and was no longer a pitcher. And the rest as they say… is history.