Born in May of 1898, Babe Dye was an all-around athlete who excelled in multiple sports. He excelled in baseball so much that he was offered a $25,000 deal to play for a team, but thankfully for hockey fans, he chose to play hockey. In 1918-19, Dye played for the Toronto St. Pats of the OHA Sr. League before moving on to the NHL in 1919-20 with the NHL’s St. Pats as a 21-year old.
In his rookie season, Dye struggled to dominate the NHL like he did the OHA, largely due to his lack of skating ability. After his first season, however, Dye learned how to work around his weaknesses and lead the NHL with 35 goals in 24 games. The following year, 1921-22, Dye had another strong year and helped lead the St. Patricks to the franchise’s 2nd Stanley Cup. Dye scored 9 goals in the Stanley Cup Finals, a record that is still unbroken to this day, despite the fact that the finals now consists of a best-of-7 instead of a best-of-five as it did in Dye’s day.
In 1922-23, Dye again lead the NHL in goals and for the first time in points as well with 26 and 37, respectively. After a slightly down year, Dye lead the NHL in goals for the 3rd time in his career in 1924-25 with 38 goals and lead the league in points for the second time with 46, the highest total he would reach in his career. Dye finished in 4th for Hart voting. Dye’s first six seasons left him with 176 goals in 170 games, a mark that wouldn’t be reached until Gretzky managed it in the high-scoring 80s.
After another solid season in Toronto, Dye was sold to the Chicago Black Hawks just prior to the 1926-27 season. Dye had a decent season, but encountered injury problems in 1927-28. Dye broke his leg in training camp, causing him to effectively miss out on the entire season. He was sold to the New York Americans for the 1928-29 season, but only scored 1 goal in his 42 games, essentially declaring his NHL career over. Dye would play 6 more games with Toronto in 1930-31 before finally calling it quits at the young age of 32 years.
Dye retired with one of the highest career goals-per-game levels, and to this day is only matched or surpassed by only Cy Denneny, Mario Lemieux, and Mike Bossy, among players with 250+ games. When Dye finally retired, he was ranked third in career goals with 201, just six behind Howie Morenz. Dye was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1970.