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Monthly Features

Baseball Attendance

Baseball Attendance

Major league baseball attendance was approximately 4,558,000 when Babe Ruth began his professional baseball career in 1914, and had risen to 10,129,000 by the time of his death in 1948. According to the 2012 Statistical Abstract of the United States, major league baseball attendance had grown to 74,499,000 in 2010.

Even after retiring from baseball in 1935, Babe Ruth drew crowds of admirers. During the July 7, 1937, Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC, Ruth obliged autograph-seekers eager to bring home a memento of their having met the legendary "Sultan of Swat."

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Yankee Slugger

Babe Ruth at the plate

Although Babe Ruth may be best known as a "slugger" for the New York Yankees, his baseball career began in 1914 as a pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles (then a minor league team) and the Boston Red Sox.

Photo courtesy of the Department of Labor.

Red Sox Pitching Star

Painting of the surrender at Appomattox Court House

Babe Ruth hit his first major league home run on May 6, 1915, while playing as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. In this photo, taken between 1915 and 1917, Ruth (far left) sits in front of the dugout with teammates (from left to right), Ernest G. "Ernie" Shore, George "Rube" Foster, and Dellos "Del" Gainer.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

First Pitch

Vice President Bush throws first pitch Each year, the Rawlings factory in Costa Rica produces approximately 2.4 million official major league baseballs. Major League Baseball Rule 3.01c requires that the white cowhide baseball be rubbed with mud before each game. This mud has come from a single secret location near Palmyra, NJ, for more than 40 years.

Today, most sports equipment is produced outside the United States. Notable exceptions include the official ball used by the National Football League, manufactured at Wilson's Ada, OH, factory since 1955, and the "Louisville Slugger" baseball bat produced in Louisville, KY, since the 1890s.

Although Rawlings baseballs are currently manufactured in Costa Rica, the ball used for Vice President George Bush's first pitch at the Houston Astros game on August 28, 1988, was produced in Haiti. Rawlings moved production of baseballs from Licking, MO, to Puerto Rico in 1964, and to Haiti in 1969. Rawlings' Costa Rica facility has produced all major league baseballs since 1990.

Photo courtesy of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: December 05, 2014