Babe Ruth, he of 714 career home runs, has not played a Major League Baseball game in nearly 80 years. He has not taken a breath since 1948. Despite those two inconvenient facts, George Herman had a pretty bad day yesterday.
Ruth, who entered the day with 2,873 hits and 1,992 RBIs, saw both of those numbers recede a little bit farther into the annals of baseball history.
The bad night for Ruth started in the bottom of the second inning of the Miami Marlins 8-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. Ichiro Suzuki, the ageless Japanese wonder, who actually has 4,153 hits if you count the Japanese hits he started racking up at the tender age of 18, passed Ruth on the all-time hit parade with a trademark opposite field single off Ubaldo Jimenez. The hit also padded Ichiro’s place as the league’s all-time leader for hits with both feet moving.
Ruth took another hit just a few hours later when Alex Rodriguez singled in a run against Texas Rangers’ starter Colby Lewis in the seventh inning of the New York Yankees’ 10-9 loss. It was Rodriguez’s 2,213 career RBI. There are no associated marketing bonuses.
To be fair to Ruth, though, RBIs were not actually recorded prior to 1920, so he may actually have a few more to his name. But 1,992 is the number settled upon by the Elias Sports Bureau. Baseball Reference lists Ruth with 2,214 RBIs, while MLB.com gives the slugger 2,213, which is interesting considering their official highlights give Rodriguez credit for tying Ruth but their list does not.
Both Suzuki and Rodriguez are also approaching several other all-time greats. Suzuki is one hit shy of tying another Hall of Famer, Mel Ott. His march toward 3,000 career hits appears to be on track thanks to the Marlins’ willingness to play him every day. Rodriguez is three RBIs shy of tying Lou Gehrig and only four behind Barry Bonds. He will soon become just the third player ever to reach 2,000 RBIs (if you go by MLB statistics). Hank Aaron and his 2,297 career RBIs are still a long way off.
Those numbers will certainly fall, but for one night it was all about Babe Ruth. He may have slid down a few all-time lists, but any night baseball fans can relive the Babe Ruth legend in any way is a good night in my book.
Follow Josh Sadlock on Twitter: @JoshSadlock