In 1902, 7-year-old George Herman Ruth was sent away to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys.

“The little boy his family called ‘Little George,’ they abandoned to a reform school on the far western edge of Baltimore City,” writer Jane Leavy says. “And these boys slept head to toe. They bathed together, they ate together, they played baseball together. So what Babe Ruth learned was not just to throw and hit a baseball, but he learned to be public. That’s where he is most exquisitely happy — and most himself.”

And a few decades later, before the final Christmas of his life, Ruth had a chance to show a group of kids who he really was.

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