"The most successful men that I know today were poor boys."1935 Babe Ruth Signed Letter Discussing His St. Mary's School Days, PSA/DNA Gem Mint 10. Talent alone does not create sporting legends. For every Hall of Fame athlete, there may be a hundred boys with equivalent natural gifts who didn't find the right coach, or work hard enough, or who fell in with the wrong crowd. George Herman Ruth, Jr. seemed by every standard a poor candidate for superstardom in his youth. Born to a saloon owner in a rough neighborhood of Baltimore called Pigtown, the young Babe and his sister Mamie were the only two of eight children born to Kate Schamberger-Ruth to survive infancy. Though he was big and strong for his age, the boy was a consistent disciplinary problem, and at age seven he was sent to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory and orphanage. His father signed over custody to the Catholic missionaries who ran the school, effectively disowning the troubled youngster.
This heartbreaking path would ultimately prove to be one paved with gold, as Brother Matthias Boutlier, the Head of Discipline for the school, introduced the Ruth boy to the sport of baseball. A dozen years later, on Valentine's Day 1914, Ruth signed a contract with the Baltimore Orioles where his teammates dubbed him owner/manager Jack Dunn's "newest babe." The rest, as they say, is baseball history.
Ruth recalls those early formative years in this typed letter to the son of his famous agent Christy Walsh, providing sage advice to the privileged youngster. The text, in full:
October 25, 1935
Your Daddy has just told me that you are now a student at St. John's Military Academy.
When I was a young boy I attended St. Marys School at Baltimore, where the good Brothers were very patient with me and helped me a lot toward future life. I am sure the Sisters at St. John's will help you.
But the main thing in life to remember is that your success and happiness in the future will depend upon your own efforts and not the money or clothes which you might receive from your parents. The most successful men that I know today were poor boys.
Wishing you much success and happiness, I am,
[signed] Babe Ruth
The story of the Babe is as uniquely American as they come, and no document we've yet encountered so succinctly and effectively tells it. The truest test of greatness is the ability to inspire others to greatness, and by that measure the Babe finds himself fully worthy of his immortality.
Page of personal letterhead measures 5x8" with original mailing folds, otherwise fine. Signature is 10/10 black fountain pen ink. Full Grading LOA from PSA/DNA, Gem Mint 10 . Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.
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