But he was also a baptized Catholic.
Babe Ruth Always Found His Way Back to the Catholic Faith
In a letter written shortly before his death, Ruth explained his lifelong faith journey. And it was, quite literally, lifelong.
He explained that even if children do not understand or appreciate their upbringing in the Catholic faith, “once religion sinks in, it stays there–deep down.”
This proved true for him, as he attended Catholic school and maintained a good relationship with one of the school’s religious brothers.
He added, “The lads who get religious training, get it where it counts–in the roots. They may fail it, but it never fails them.”
While chasing worldly pleasures, faith remained a part of his life, even if he went astray for a little while.
“While I drifted away from the Church, I did have my own ‘altar,’ a big window of my New York apartment overlooking the city lights. Often I would kneel before that window and say my prayers.”
“I would feel quite humble then. I’d ask God to help me not make such a big fool of myself and pray that I’d measure up to what He expected of me.”
Ruth’s Return to the Catholic Faith
In Dec. of 1946, Ruth underwent surgery two years before his death.
His close friend, Paul Carey, said, “They’re going to operate in the morning, Babe…don’t you think you ought to put your house in order?”
Ruth then explained that he “didn’t dodge the long, challenging look in his eyes. I knew what he meant.”
“For the first time, I realized that death might strike me out. I nodded, and Paul got up, called in a Chaplain, and I made a full confession,” Ruth revealed.
While visiting him, the chaplain said to Ruth, “I’ll return in the morning and give you Holy Communion…but you don’t have to fast.”
Ruth responded, “I’ll fast,” adding that he “didn’t have even a drop of water.”
He then wrote,
“As I lay in bed that evening, I thought to myself what a comforting feeling to be free from fear and worries. I now could simply turn them over to God.”
A Little Boy’s Gift: Babe Ruth’s Treasured Sacramental
Babe Ruth received a letter from a little boy while lying in the hospital bed.
The letter said,
“Dear Babe…everybody in the seventh-grade class is pulling and praying for you. I am enclosing a medal which if you wear will make you better. Your pal–Mike Quinlan.”
Enclosed was the Miraculous Medal.
“I asked them to pin the Miraculous Medal to my pajama coat. I’ve worn the medal constantly ever since. I’ll wear it to my grave.”
Babe Ruth died from esophageal cancer on Aug. 16, 1948.