Home > MLB > Ohtani who? Joe Kelly is the Next Babe Ruth

Ohtani who? Joe Kelly is the Next Babe Ruth

On April 12, 1922, Babe Ruth watched the Yankees’ season opener from the stands thanks to a six week suspension for barnstorming. While many saw the suspension as overbearing and unnecessary, Ruth used it as an opportunity to watch the Yankees play as a spectator.

Earlier today, Joe Kelly followed in the footsteps of Ruth, taking his 6 game suspension for his part in the most recent Yankees-Red Sox brawl in stride by watching the Sox play from the seats in Fenway.

I’m not saying Joe Kelly is the next Babe Ruth, but so far it’s fair to say Kelly is a better comparison to Ruth than Shohei Ohtani. Neither Ruth or Kelly ever had to be removed from a start due to an alleged blister…

First there’s this most recent example of watching their team play from the stands while suspended.

Neither Joe Kelly or Babe Ruth have struck out 100 times in a single season. It just so happens that Shohei Ohtani’s 162 game average this season puts him at a projected 162 strike outs.

Kelly and Ruth are both Jrs. Joseph William Kelly Jr. and George Herman Ruth Jr. to be exact. While people like Shohei Ohtani and non-Jrs have to grow their reputation from scratch, Kelly and Ruth have a head start in life thanks to less pressure needing to establish themselves. Their fathers did that for them.

Babe Ruth once argued with an umpire in 1917 and was ejected after facing only one batter. Ruth reacted to the ejection by rushing umpire  Brick Owens and punching him in the back of the neck. While Joe Kelly has never attacked an ump, Kelly did in fact throw a punch to the back of Tyler Austin’s neck earlier this April. Great minds think alike – go for the back of the neck.

The similarities of these two men are just too perfect to be coincidences. Babe Ruth notoriously worked as both a baseball player and actor, appearing in over 10 different films in addition to documentaries. Joe Kelly is also known for his acting skills, specifically in the role of Jim Buchanan for JWK Punta Gorda.

Kelly and Ruth also both joined the Red Sox in July of ’14. Joe Kelly was traded to the Sox from the Cardinals on July 31st, 2014 while Ruth was acquired from the Orioles on July 11th, 1914. The resemblance of these two men is uncanny.

On to the stats. Given Joe Kelly’s role as a pitcher and batter for the Cardinals, many fans forget that Kelly was a strong candidate for a Silver Slugger award multiple times. Even more scary is the fact that Ruth and Kelly are basically the same when hitting. 4% of Joe Kelly’s career plate appearances have resulted in a double (4 out of 98 plate appearances). Similarly, 4% of Ruth’s plate appearances have been doubles (506 out of 10,623 plate appearances). If the Red Sox let Kelly hit consistently it’d take him approximately 15 to 18 seasons to match Ruth’s career doubles count.

Obviously there’s no need to jump to conclusions, but without any evidence that Joe Kelly isn’t related to Babe Ruth, one has to assume that they are distant relatives and the skills are clearly hereditary.

Connor Dolan
Connor is co-founder of First And Fan and head of all website operations. He's a die hard Boston sports fan with a passion for sports, media, and all things David Ortiz.
http://twitter.com/connordolan14