Toronto's Historical Plaques
Learn a little of Toronto's history as told through its plaques
Babe Ruth at Hanlan's Point
Photos by Alan L Brown - Posted May, 2007
Photo Source - Wikipedia Commons
Photo Source - Wikipedia
The Babe in Toronto? When? Where? Why? To find the answers to these vexing questions, let's read this set of two historical plaques erected by Heritage Toronto in 2006. They are located here on the road curving off to the right at the Hanlan's Point ferry dock on Toronto Island. Here's what they tell us:
Plaque coordinates: 43.627129 -79.390522
Babe Ruth at Hanlan's Point
Near this site, in Maple Leaf Park on September 5, 1914, the now legendary baseball player Babe Ruth hit his first home run as a professional. It was to be the only home run he ever hit in the minor leagues.
As a 19-year-old rookie, playing for the Providence Grays in the International League, he connected with a pitch from Ellis Johnson of the Toronto Maple Leafs, sending the ball over the fence in right field and scoring three runs. Pitching for the Grays, Ruth allowed only one hit, earning the title "southside phenom" from the Toronto Daily Star. The final score was Providence Grays 9, Toronto Maple Leafs 0.
Babe Ruth quickly moved up to the major leagues, and played his way to a phenomenal career. The Toronto team went on to win a total of eleven pennants before folding in 1967.
Professional Baseball at Hanlan's Point
In 1867, Toronto's professional baseball club moved to the new Hanlan's Point Stadium - part of the larger Hanlan's Point Amusement Park on this site. Baseball and lacrosse joined other attractions here, including hotels, thrilling amusement rides, and such curiosities as a diving horse.
In 1910, the baseball team, now called the Toronto Maple Leafs, replaced its wooden stadium with a concrete, 18,000-seat structure named Maple Leaf Park. The team remained there for the next 15 years, winning pennants for adoring fans in 1912, 1917, and 1918.
In 1926, the club was moved to a more accessible, state-of-the-art stadium at the foot of Bathurst Street. The island stadium was eventually demolished and the site was redeveloped for the Toronto Island Airport.
> Posted December 23, 2010
Amazing...in my opinion Ruth is the greatest because he would have been a hall of fame pitcher if he wasn't one of the best hitters of all time. The guy had 90 wins before age 24. Even for his era of high win totals, he was setting the pace to start his pitching career with the Red Sox. Throw in 714 homers and a .362 lifetime batting average, you have the best ball player of all time. I go to Ward's Island all the time in the summer. I've been to Hanlan's Point and Centre Island a few times. I fly out of the island airport on Porter airlines regularly. Very hard to believe the airport is on the same ground as the Bambino crushed his first long ball as a paid pro!! So exciting. Good job Toronto for putting these plaques up so generations to come will know about this. Imagine 19-year-old George Herman Ruth in Toronto playing ball in an 18,000 seat concrete stadium??? Incredible...
> Posted December 15, 2008
Thanks for taking the time to do this. I had read about Ruth's first professional homer, but I didn't know that the place and time had been remembered like this in Toronto. Anybody know how far that first homer went? Wouldn't you love to have that ball? Harry Hooper, who played with Ruth on the Red Sox championship teams of 1915, 1916, and 1918 (and taught Ruth how to play the outfield), said that he witnessed with wonder the transformation of an awkward and uneducated kid from a Baltimore reform school into something like a god. And that legendary and improbable journey to 714 started at this spot in Toronto. Wow ....
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