Another little-known historical place in downtown Baltimore is the still-standing house where George Herman Ruth - better known as The Babe - was born in 1895. 

I've always been a baseball fan, more so than any other sport.  But even I have to admit that my enchantment with the sport has as much to do with its rich history as the sport itself. My speech is littered with baseball references even baseball fans don't catch because they come from events that happened well before anyone around was born, like the Black Sox scandal in 1919. "Say it ain't so, Joe" is something my kids hear me say often and with great sarcasm.  I'll see any baseball movie that comes out and once watched the entire Ken Burns documentary three times back to back before it had to go back to the library.  Not being all that interested in the sport itself, but totally obsessed with the sport's history; it's all a part of the wondrous variety that makes up my psyche.  You may now pause to pity my husband for having to put up with me.  

We were tottering around Baltimore last week and ended up wandering in Pigtown (They don't call it this anymore; I just like saying "Pigtown."), when I remembered that after I first moved to the area, I'd spent a lot of time at Camden Yards and the Sports Legends Museum and the Babe Ruth birthplace was a little more than an outfielder's throw from that.  My traveling companions aren't that interested in baseball, but seeing as this is a building built in 1895 which still stands, I thought it would be fun to stop by the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum:

By the late 1960s, the property and adjoining three row-house structures had fallen into disrepair and were scheduled for demolition. Hirsh Goldberg, press secretary for Baltimore's Mayor Theodore McKeldin, launched a successful campaign to save and restore the Birthplace, which opened to the public as a national shrine in 1974. The not-for-profit Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation, Inc. was formed to govern the operation. Exhibits depicting the Historic House and life and times of Babe Ruth were installed with the help of Babe's widow, Claire; his two daughters, Dorothy and Julia; and his sister, Mamie, who was also born at 216 Emory Street. 

This photo is not actually of Emory Street, it is a perpendicular street to Emory street. But I liked the ancient-looking cobblestones juxtaposed with the brand new cars and guy with the tattooed shoulder unloading his trunk.  Emory Street has been paved, so this is probably a lot closer to what it looked like long ago:

The actual house he lived in is the second of four in a rowhouse.  The museum now encompasses the entire row and the interior walls have been blown out to accommodate the memorabilia and exhibits but even given that, it is TINY with a capital TINY.  You can't pass a person in the hallways without brushing shoulders.  Then stop to consider that the Ruth family lived in only one of the houses (in the first photo above, you see their door and the parlor window directly to its right... the next window to the right belonged to the next house over)... well... I don't know how they lived there without killing each other.

 Front parlor from the inside.

 Staircase up to the second floor, only open to staff.  Probably for good reason, as more than two patrons in there would be like a phone booth packing contest.

Babe Ruth was known as the Home Run King and he changed baseball forever.  His charisma drew crowds and made the sport more popular than it had ever been.  He was a complicated dude, who lived hard and fast but was also charitable and kind to adoring fans, especially children.  But the thing that I find the most interesting about Babe Ruth is that in addition to being the Home Run King, he was also the Strike Out King of his time.  People who came to see him play were just as likely to watch him walk back to the dugout after trying and missing, as trot around the bases (though as he aged, he often even had someone do that for him) to excited cheers.  When he retired in 1935, his one thousand, three hundred and thirty career strikeouts was a Major League Baseball record. That record was broken in 1964 by Mickey Mantle. 

I tried to explain this to The Dormouse as we walked along the tiny hallway to the bedroom they think he occupied.  That he was very good at what he did, but the thing that made him very good was that he never gave up.  He always tried to get a home run.  He was never satisfied with a base hit.  And even though he didn't always make his goal, he still kept trying.  I hope that's what she remembers about Babe Ruth. 

"Don't let the fear of striking out hold you back."

- Babe Ruth