Babe Ruth's 1927 Home Run Record

Babe Ruth of the Boston Braves crosses home plate

Mark Rucker / Getty Images

Babe Ruth was known as the Home Run King and the Sultan of Swat because of his powerful and effective swing. In 1927, Babe Ruth was playing for the New York Yankees.

The Competition

Throughout the 1927 season, teammates Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig competed for who was going to end the season with the most home runs. The competition lasted until September when both men reached their 45th home run of the season. Then, unexpectedly, Gehrig slowed down and all that was left was for Babe Ruth to hit the incredibly high number of 60 home runs.

It got down to the last three games of the season and Babe Ruth still needed three home runs. In the second to last game, on September 30, 1927, Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run. The crowd cheered wildly. Fans threw their hats in the air and confetti rained down on the field.

Babe Ruth, a man known around the world as one of the greatest baseball players of all time, had done the impossible—hit 60 home runs in one season. Gehrig finished the season with 47. Babe Ruth's single-season home run record would not be broken for 34 years.

Previous Records

The previous highest number of Home-Runs in a single season belonged to Babe Ruth at 59 home-runs hit during the 1921 season. Before that, Babe Ruth also held the record in 1920 with 54 HRs and in 1919 at 29 (when he played for the Boston Red Sox). The earliest single-season record was held by George Hall of the Philadelphia Athletics with 5 home runs in 1876. In 1879, Charley Jones batted 9; in 1883 Harry Stovey batted 14; in 1884 Ned Williamson batted 27 and held the record for 35 years until Babe Ruth burst onto the scene in 1919. 

Current Record

Although Babe Ruth remained the reigning Home Run King for 34 years, several notable athletes have since broken the record. The first of which happened during the 1961 season wherein New York Yankees star Roger Maris batted 61 home runs in the season. 37 years later, in 1998, St. Louis Cardinals play Mark McGwire revitalized the competition with an impressive 70-home-run season. Despite impressive seasons from Sammy Sosa in 1998, 1999, and 2001 (66, 63, and 64 HRs respectively), he never held the title of Home Run King at the end of a season because of Mark McGwire beat him out for the record in 1998.

The reigning Home Run King is Barry Bonds who hit 73 home runs during his 2001 season with the San Francisco Giants.