FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — If you're a baseball fan, you know about Babe Ruth. But did you know Ruth hit his first professional home run in Fayetteville?
What You Need To Know
Babe Ruth hit his first home run on March 7, 1914 in Fayetteville
A highway marker was dedicated to the historic hit in 1951 and stands on Gillespie Street
Fayetteville is also where George Herman Ruth, gained his "Babe" nickname
The Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum has an exhibit dedicated to the city's baseball fever, including artifacts from Ruth. The museum is located on Franklin Street and is the same spot where the city hosted some of its first baseball games.
"The military green hosted early baseball in the years following the Civil War," said city historian and museum curator Bruce Daws.
Daws has been working at the museum since it opened in 2006 and was even a part of the grant process that helped it open. One of its most popular exhibits is Baseball in Fayetteville. It documents how baseball got started in Fayetteville around the 1860s and follows the timeline to the city's home team today, the Fayetteville Woodpeckers.
"The colors for the Woodpecker team are red and black," Daws said. "The color of special operations on Fort Bragg. So there's a lot of symbolism that goes into the naming and colors of the team.”
The exhibit boasts dozens of artifacts, including a baseball Babe Ruth signed after a game in 1935.
"When I was kid and played baseball, he was kind of a mythological hero, somebody to look up to," Daws said.
A few blocks away from the museum stands a highway marker on Gillespie Street. It was dedicated in 1951 to Ruth's first home run that happened during his spring training in 1914. Fayetteville is also where his gained the famous "Babe" nickname.
"I think it was a very proud moment for Fayetteville when we were able to unveil the Babe Ruth marker," Daws said. "Baseball is an all-American sport. Babe Ruth is known by everyone and is certainly one of our many claims to fame.”
If you want to see those artifacts, or learn more about baseball history, the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free.