Gate of Heaven Cemetery is where the final resting place of baseball legend Babe Ruth can be found. Gate of Heaven was purchased by the Trustees of St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1916 and was declared sacred by the Archbishop of New York in 1918. The cemetery is the burial place for other famous people, actor Jimmy Cagney and another Yankee great Billy Martin, but the majority of visitors show up to see the burial site of Babe Ruth where they often leave their Yankee memorabilia and hand-written notes to show their respects and appreciation for an American baseball legend.
George Herman Babe Ruth Jr. was born in Pigtown, a neighborhood southeast of Baltimore, Maryland. At the age of 7 he was sent to a reformatory and orphanage known then as St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys in Baltimore. Most information as to why or how he ended up there is debatable as are most of the early accounts of his life. What is known is that after playing from 1914-1919 for the Boston Red Sox Ruth was traded to the New York Yankees. It is these years, from 1920-1934, that Babe Ruth is mostly remembered and would become a national sports hero and one of the greatest home run hitters of all time.
Babe Ruth was just as famous for his womanizing and drinking throughout the Roaring Twenties and beyond. He was often seen socializing with the public at restaurants and bars. He could be found around the playgrounds playing baseball with the local kids and buying them candy. It was reported that he would attend Mass at times after drinking and carousing all night. He was known to visit children in the local hospitals and orphanages and was also known to be very charitable, especially to St. Mary's Reform School, and did so without wanting any publicity.
The legend of Babe Ruth is well-known to sports and baseball enthusiasts around the world. By 1935 Ruth's 715 home runs were the most all-time. In 1927 he was the first player to hit 60 home runs in one season and one of the first five inductees into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. His lifestyle off the field was also legendary with both grown-ups and children alike. During his time, Babe Ruth was one of the most recognizable and approachable sports heroes.
Babe Ruth died of cancer on August 16, 1948. He was 53. Thousands of New Yorkers, including many children, stood vigil outside the hospital in Ruth's final days. On August 16, 1948, at 8:01 p.m., Babe Ruth died in his sleep at the age of 53. Instead of a wake at a funeral home, his casket was taken to Yankee Stadium, where it remained for two days; 77,000 people filed past to pay him tribute. His funeral Mass took place at St. Patrick's Cathedral; a crowd estimated at 75,000 waited outside.1 Almost 70 years after Babe Ruth died many people still pass by his gravesite at Gate of Heaven Cemetery and pay tribute to the Sultan of Swat.