News item: Babe Ruth's former home outside Boston is on the market for $1.65 million
Put a down payment on baseball history! This is the original House that Ruth Built, back when the "Sultan of Sweat Equity'' was honing his carpentry skills in preparation for building Yankee Stadium.
The Babe began building the 5,200-square-foot home in 1918 while he was still with the Red Sox; but due to the length of the baseball season, lingering stomach aches, frequent hangovers and typical contractor delays, he did not finish until 1921, after he had been traded to the Yankees.
Ruth had trouble with his initial Greek revival design that was heavily influenced by Fenway Park architect James E. McLaughlin. A chance meeting with Columbia engineering student Lou Gehrig outside a New York speakeasy in 1921 solved that. Gehrig suggested that while he appreciated the architectural nods to Fenway Park, Ruth might better enjoy a more open plan that did not include several three-foot wide steel columns in front of the windows and in the kitchen and dining rooms, nor the claustrophobic ramps leading from the master bedroom to the bathroom. Gehrig also suggested replacing the eight narrow, uncomfortable folding seats in front of the fireplace with a large sofa that offered more than 10 inches of leg room.
Construction was swift after that. The house was finished in December 1921, thanks to the entire Yankees roster helping in the spirit of an Amish barn-raising (well, everyone on the roster helped except for that lazy Wally Pipp, who complained all the hammering gave him a headache). Ruth moved into the house at the start of 1922 and told Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert to give Gehrig a tryout in exchange for his engineering help.
Ruth and his wife, Helen, divorced and moved out of the house in 1926 after repeatedly bickering over whether his World Series bonuses should be spent to remodel the kitchen and bathrooms or to mount a 72-inch flat screen above the fireplace, even though television had not been invented yet.