Long-lost Babe Ruth WWII-era radio interview found in obscure archive

Nearly 70 years after his passing, the Sultan of Swat is still knocking them out of the park.

A long-lost radio interview with Babe Ruth, considered by many to be the greatest baseball player ever, has been found in the archives of Cheshire Academy, a private school in Connecticut. The interview where listeners can hear Ruth's voice, along with several others, is part of a donation made by Joe Hasel, a sports announcer and alumnus of the school.

So far, the Cheshire Academy has released a 5:14 clip of the recording and noted that more excerpts will be released soon. You can listen to the excerpt here.

The 1943 recording, which lasts 13 minutes, was made during World War II and gives intimate details of Ruth's life, touching on subjects such as how he gripped his bat and how he got his nickname.

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“I was in the training camp,” in Baltimore, Ruth said, according to a release from the Cheshire Academy. “One of the coaches there said, ’Look at that big babe come in here.’ So the name 'Babe' has stuck to me ever since.”

He also noted that he gripped his bat differently, something most baseball historians were unaware of until now.

"I used to always bat different because I'd always put my little finger on the knob of the bat so I could do the follow-through on my swing," Ruth said in the interview.

According to an interview with NPR, Brian Otis, who serves on Cheshire Academy's Board of Trustees and was instrumental in getting the donation to Cheshire, noted that Hasel never said what was on the tapes.

"[Hasel] talked about experiences of calling games at the Cotton Bowl, boxing matches in Madison Square Garden," Otis said, according to NPR. "Had I known then what I now, I would have been more thorough and spent more time with Joe."

Also included in the collection were interviews with boxing legend Jack Dempsey and Hall of Fame baseball manager Connie Mack. As part of The Armed Forces Radio Service, Hasel interviewed more than 120 famous athletes and managers of the time.

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Ruth's legacy

The Great Bambino was more than just a prodigious power hitter, though his 714 home runs were hit at a pace unlike anything Major League Baseball had ever seen up to the time he retired in 1935. Ruth started his career for the Boston Red Sox primarily as a pitcher, before making the legendary switch to the outfield.

He had a career record of 94-46, along with a 2.28 ERA, pitching 17 shutouts and 107 complete games, at a time when pitchers routinely went the full 9 innings. He last pitched at the age of 38 in 1933, the year of the first All-Star Game.

On the field, Ruth was nearly second to none. In addition to blasting 714 home runs, Ruth retired with a batting average of .342, 2,214 RBIs, 2,873 hits and an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of 1.164, the best in baseball history.

Ever the party animal, Ruth spent a large part of his life drinking and eating anything he wanted. The left-handed slugger was also a good quote and is remembered for such phrases as “It's hard to beat a person who never gives up" and “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”

Interest in Ruth memorabilia continues to remain exceptionally high, after his passing from cancer in 1948.

Actor Charlie Sheen owned Ruth’s 1927 World Series ring, in addition to an original copy of the sale document that sent Ruth to the New York Yankees from the Red Sox. They were put up for auction last year and sold for $4.4 million, split almost evenly between the ring and the contract, according to Bleacher Report.

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia