Donald Trump Even Made False Claims About Babe Ruth When He Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

Add President Donald Trump’s comments on Friday about Hall of Fame baseball legend Babe Ruth to the ever-growing list of times Trump made incorrect statements about a person or subject.

On Friday, Trump awarded Ruth the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor a civilian can receive from the U.S. government, but Trump made several mistakes in extolling Ruth’s career and how he ended up with the New York Yankees through an infamous trade in 1919, according to a reporter for the Toronto Star.

“In 1920, he started with the New York Yankees. And I have heard for many years—what’s the worst trade in the history of sports?” Trump said. “Babe Ruth, 19-year-old pitcher, for $100,000 and a 35-year-old third baseman. That was not a good trade—who was out of baseball the following season. That was not good. Of course, $100,000 is probably like $25 million today, but it was still a lousy deal.”

Ruth, however, was actually 24 when the Yankees purchased him from the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees also paid a grand total of $125,000 for Ruth.

Trump’s quip about the trade and its total value in today’s dollars did draw laughs, but his estimate was wildly off. Instead, the cost of the trade was closer to $1.3 million.

Furthermore, no other player, like a 35-year-old third baseman, was involved in the trade. The Yankees acquired Ruth from Boston in a straight-up sale.

Trump also appeared confused about the “dead-ball era,” which was actually ushered out when Ruth rose to prominence and started smashing home runs around the country.

“The Babe hit 714 home runs—a record that stood for nearly 40 years. And people often would say that was a somewhat dead ball; it didn’t have the life the ball has today,” Trump said.

The president also claimed Ruth’s time as a pitcher was unknown to many, but that’s been a widely known fact among even casual baseball fans.

“At the age of 19, he was signed by the Boston Red Sox as a pitcher, and soon became one of the best pitchers in baseball. People don’t know that. Babe Ruth was one of the best pitchers. He still has records today,” Trump said.

Along with Ruth, Trump also presented the award to NFL great Roger Staubach, the international music icon Elvis Presley, outgoing Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and Justice Alan Page.

Trump has received serious criticism from the media and his detractors for making false claims throughout his time in office. The Washington Post reported earlier this month that Trump had made over 6,400 either “false or misleading claims” in his almost 650 days in office.

donald trump, babe ruth, presidential medal of freedom President Donald Trump awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to baseball legend Babe Ruth, his grandson Thomas Stevens accepting, at the White House in Washington, D.C., on November 16. Trump made several mistakes in extolling Ruth’s career and how he ended up with the New York Yankees through an infamous trade in 1919, according to a reporter for the Toronto Star. AFP via Getty Images/Saul Loeb

Join the Discussion