TIME Baseball

The Disappointing Reason Babe Ruth Left Baseball

Hulton Archive / Getty Images Babe Ruth wearing his New York Yankees uniform and cap, circa 1935

The Great Bambino announced his retirement on June 2, 1935

Every baseball fan—well, except for that kid from The Sandlot—knows that Babe Ruth was one of the sport’s all-time greats.

But at a time when beloved players embark on season-long farewell tours to mark their departure from the sport, Ruth’s retirement—exactly 80 years ago, on June 2, 1935—came not with a great bang-bino, but rather with a whimper.

Shortly before that year’s season began, Ruth had accepted an offer from the Boston Braves to leave the New York Yankees. In addition to playing for Boston, Ruth would serve as a vice president and assistant manager of the organization, and would also take home a percentage of profits on top of a $25,000 salary.

But things quickly soured once Ruth arrived in Beantown. On June 2, about half-way through the season, he announced that he was done for good. As TIME reported the following week:

“Judge Fuchs is a double-crosser. His word is no good. He doesn’t keep his promises. I don’t want another damn thing from him—the dirty double-crosser.”

With these and more unprintable comments, George Herman Ruth last week resigned from the Boston Braves with whom he signed a contract last February to perform as baseball player, assistant manager and vice president. His reasons: personal differences with the Braves’ president, Judge Emil Fuchs, climaxed by Judge Fuchs’s refusal to allow him to attend a party on board the S.S. Normandie (see p. 20) which Babe Ruth thought would be “a great thing for baseball.” Judge Fuchs’s reply: an unconditional release for Ruth, an offer to sell the team which he says has cost him $2,000,000.

Ruth never again played professional baseball.

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