“The Babe” ~ St. Patrick’s and Lowell

Lowell Historical Society Board member and genealogist Eileen Loucraft shared this piece about Babe Ruth and his Lowell connection with our friends at LowellIrish.com. We share it here for LHS followers. The introduction is written by Eileen’s fellow reseacher and historian Dave McKean


Lowell historian, Eileen Loucraft, has been part of many of our searches, especially dealing with Civil War veterans.  She has her own blog at Lowell Doughboys (http://loucraft.blogspot.com/).  Many thanks to Eileen for sharing this story. 
There must be a lot more of you out there with you Boys School Stories.  Let’s hear from you.

Lowell Sun, Jan 31, 1924

Babe Ruth came to Lowell for the St. Patrick’s School 16th Annual Alumni Banquet on January 30th 1924. Why did he come? Because Brother Herman and Brother Gilbert asked him to!Brother Herman and Brother Gilbert were also teachers at the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boy’s in Baltimore, MD. Babe Ruth turned out to be their most famous student. A product of an Xaverian education just like the boys of St. Patrick’s.

From the Lowell Sun, January 31,1924“Big Reception to “Babe” Ruth

To the accompaniment of vociferous applause, “Babe” Ruth was next introduced. From all appearances, this home run artist is a champion social hub as well a diamond celebrity. In characteristic vein, he said he had been present at 17 functions during the past week and was pretty well tired out.He spoke of his associations with Bros. Clarence, Herman, Peter and Aquinas at St. Mary’s Industrial school in Baltimore, which he attended 22 years ago and where he leaned the fundamentals of the national pastime of Bro. Herman, now stationed at St. Patrick’s here. “I regret to say,” said the Babe, “that I have succeeded in becoming a better player than Bro. Herman.” I remember distinctly when Bro. Herman and I banged balls round the lot at St. Mary’s. By the way, I never understood why they called that an industrial school, but anyway, 16 or 17 years ago, we played together. He showed me a lot of stuff, not only in baseball, but in football, too. O, yes, we used to play the rugby game. On a rocky field, too. I recall being knocked “cold” in a scrimmage once.”

Ruth then recounted several experiences at St. Mary’s. He went there 22 years ago next month, he said. Though it was hard at first, but he learned its value in later years. “I had my own ideas when I was a kid,” he added. “I never smoked a cigarette until I was 19 years old. I went direct from school to baseball, joining the Baltimore club with Ben Egan and Ernie Shore. Our first jump was to North Carolina and I was at a loss to know how we would sleep on the train. I had never heard of a sleeping car.”

The Babe in concluding, gave some good advice, asking the men to encourage baseball among the younger talent and to give them an example of clean living. He was accorded a wonderful demonstration as he left the hall to keep another engagement with the Knights of Columbus. Outside the building his progress to his waiting automobile was barricaded with groups of kids anxious to get just one look at the man they had read so much about. As his machine sped away, youthful throats shouted an envious “Good-bye, Babe,” and he was gone.”

Brother Herman also claimed that the Babe took his name for his confirmation name. Brother Herman taught 7th grade at St. Patrick’s. He died in 1956.

Brother Gilbert discovered Ruth at St. Mary’s School. He is credited with getting him signed with the Orioles. He was also a teacher at Keith Academy in Lowell. He died in 1947 and his funeral was at St. Peter’s on Gorham Street.

His memoirs were published in 1999 and are available on amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Young-Babe-Ruth-Baseball-Industrial/dp/0786406526