There’s nothing like a bonafide legend—especially if he was one of the first. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. George Herman Ruth…

Perfectly Embodied:
Just take it in: the three-piece, the chalk stripe, the off-kilter pocket square. It’s not unlike something you might pick up from Miller’s Oath, or see on a restrained episode of Boardwalk Empire. Throw in a few double-breasted overcoats and you’ve got a failproof plan for barrel-chested gentlemen the world over. Also, he knew how to pull off a bowtie and how to roll up his sleeves.

Words of Wisdom:
Sometimes I still can’t believe what I saw. This 19-year-old kid—crude, poorly educated, only lightly brushed by the social veneer we call civilization—gradually transformed into the idol of American youth and the symbol of baseball the world over, a man loved by more people and with an intensity of feeling that perhaps has never been equaled before or since.
-Harry Hooper, teammate

The Backstory:
It wasn’t just about home runs. It was the nicknames, the called shot, the home runs promised to bedbound kids—stunts so earnest and good natured, it feels cynical to even call them stunts. He was building a legend, for himself and for the sport. It was one of those rare times when a person gets so famous, and so good at being famous, that the real person all but disappears. All that’s left is, well, an icon. It was the greatest gift sportswriters ever got—and almost a hundred years after his major league debut, it’s still paying dividends.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom