Back in 1927 Babe Ruth needed to hit 17 home runs in the month of September to break his then all time home run single season record of 59 set in 1921. For Ruth it went down to the final day of the 1927 season before he would hit number 60 and his 17th home run in the month. Ruth’s record still stands and he is tied along with Barry Bonds for most home runs by left-handed hitter in one month in major league baseball history. Bonds hit 17 back during the month of May in 2001. The record for major league home runs in one month is 20 set by Sammy Sosa in June of 1998.
Tonight in Reading right handed hitting Darin “Babe” Ruf hit his 18 home run in the month of August and 36th of the season to move him within one home run of Ryan Howard’s all time Reading Phillies home run record for a season of 37. Ruf still has seven games to go in the Eastern League season including four more games in August to break Howard’s record . With the all time major league record for home runs in one month at 20, even this mark is still with in range of Ruf who is having a month of almost no equal in baseball history.
Though Ruf is putting up historic numbers at AA when compared to major league records in the the month of August, several other of his statistics impress me even more. He is hitting left-handed pitching at a .390 pace for the season while he is learning a new position in left field. The Phillies need a right handed power bat to provide some offense and they need a left-fielder with pop. They already appear to have one who fits the description in the farm system in Darin Ruf. Though Ruf does not have great foot speed he has committed no errors in left and has thrown out two runners on the bases from left field in 23 games there this season to show he has the skill set to play in the outfield.
Amazingly while playing a new position recently other than first base where he has played all of his career, Ruf has had an offensive explosion at the same time. With seven games remaining in the Eastern League season he has a shot at the Eastern League triple crown. He has the home run title wrapped up, is up by one in leading the league in RBIs with 96 and his .316 batting average is five points down from taking over the league batting lead. What is most impressive no one is even close to him with his 1.030 OPS.
No one really knows other that the Phillies Front Office what will happen to Ruf after the AA season is over. It looks like Reading will quality for the post season which starts the first week in September and could extend another week if Reading makes the finals. They must first get past the Yankees Trenton Thunder in a best of five series to make the finals. If Reading does face Trenton as expected, Phillies fans are expected to flock to nearby Trenton to see some of the top talent in the Phillies system such as third baseman Cody Asche, catcher Tommy Joseph, acquired in the Hunter Pence deal, pitcher Trevor May, who threw a two hit win tonight against the Mets farm team from Binghamton, in addition to the now legendary”Babe” Ruf.
With “Babe” Ruf T-shirts reportedly flying off the racks at the First Energy stadium concession stands in Reading the big question remains will Ruf get a shot with the big Phillies at Citizens Bank Park before the major league season ends. Early reports had him slated to play in the Venezuelan Winter League to get more playing time in left field. But with the legend of “Babe” Ruf growing and with the Phillies needing a right handed power bat who can play left field, the 26 year old should get added to the 40 man roster and get a cameo in the last several weeks of the season with the big team. He has earned it in so many ways!