Babe Ruth doesn't show up on the party circuit anymore. But fans of the late, great Hall of Famer should be in a celebratory mood next year as they note a very significant date for the the Baltimore-born slugger.
Ruth died in 1948, at the age of 53. Had he lived, he would have celebrated his 100th birthday next Feb. 6. To mark the occasion, Baltimore's Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum is planning a yearlong series of events, ranging from banquets to art exhibitions. The museum's executive director, Mike Gibbons, recently spoke with The Sun's Mark Hyman.
Q: What changes are coming to the museum for The Babe's birthday?
A: We've undertaken a restoration of the historical part of the building. We'll totally redo it, from floors to wallpaper, to better tell the story of Babe Ruth and his time in Baltimore.
Q: What are the highlights planned for the birthday itself?
A: We have activities scheduled that whole weekend, February 4, 5 and 6. On Feb. 4, we'll open an exhibit of Babe Ruth art, from sculpture to oil paintings. On Feb. 5, we'll host a kids party. Babe loved children, so we'll have a party letting them celebrate. On Feb. 6, we'll actually rededicate the museum. There will also JTC be a Babe Ruth statue unveiled (on a pedestrian plaza near Oriole Park).
Q: Do you expected an upswing in museum attendance?
A: Normally, we do 60,000 visitors, give or take, every year. We haven't done projections yet for next year, but I would anticipate we could go into six figures, maybe 100,000 visitors.
Q: How would The Babe have felt about the birthday bashes?
A: I think Babe would have put on his party hat and raised a champagne toast to himself.