He wasn’t quite ready.
Signed out of Columbia University, Lou Gehrig made his major league debut in 1923. The following spring, Gehrig spent spring training with the Yankees in New Orleans and rode the train north for exhibition games in New York just prior to the start of the regular season.
He wouldn’t be there on Opening Day.
Gehrig spent all but the final weeks of 1924, playing for the Yankees’ farm team in Hartford, but our Photo of the Day, in cooperation with RMY Auctions, is a rare Yankees team photo from April 12 of that year featuring both Gehrig and the already established Babe Ruth.
It’s among more than 300 images up for bid, including three others featuring Gehrig. The auction closes Sunday night.
The photo is one of the earliest images of Gehrig in Yankee pinstripes. His low stature on the spring training roster reveals itself by his position in the photo, seated on the ground rather than standing. Ruth, by contrast, was already a major star. The Yankees had won three straight pennants and were the defending World Series champs when this photo was taken. They would finish 1924 two games behind Walter Johnson and the Washington Senators.
In 1925, Gehrig was famously inserted into the struggling Yankee lineup, replacing Wally Pipp and played the next 2,130 straight games, a record that stood until Cal Ripken broke it decades later.
Interestingly, the caption of the 1924 photo indicates it was “a first” because in years past, the Yankees had been reluctant to gather for a team picture in April for fear of jinxing the season.
The 8 x 10 ½” photo carries a watermark.
For more information, visit RMYAuctions.com.