It was a last minute stop. Babe Ruth and teammate Bob Meusel were touring the west coast in 1924, when agent Christy Walsh struck a deal with city leaders in Dunsmuir, CA, a tiny berg near the Oregon border. The $1,000 asking price had been met and The Babe and Bob would pay their visit, put on their uniforms and play a seven-inning game against local talent.
Ruth’s visit was understandably a huge deal in the area. Over 900 fans and curious citizens—over half the population at the time– turned out to the city’s ballfield to take in the scene and maybe an autograph. The price of admission was $1.10; 25 cents for kids.
A posed photograph taken that day has become a fairly well known image of Ruth’s travels but original postcards created by a local photographer? That’s a rarity. One of them, originally owned by Albert Souhrada, who was in the crowd that day, is now at Lelands.com where bidding has surpassed $14,000.
The postcard has been rated SGC 2 because the original owner circled himself in the crowd. A decades-old postcard of Souhrada is included with the Ruth card.
Incredibly, the ballpark itself looks much the same today and is still in use.
KOBI-TV in nearby Klamath Falls, dropped by and aired this story last Friday:
The photo was taken by Paul J. Standard, whose name is printed on the back. The image shows a young Ruth posing with a bat in front of the crowd, which also seems to be posing. Meusel is standing at the site of the dugout.
Ruth loved the area so much, he returned two years later to go fishing on the Klamath River and presented a championship football trophy to the local high school team, thus making good on a promise. That sentiment was reflected in a letter he and Meusel wrote to those city leaders after the 1924 tour concluded. The letter was printed in a 1986 book written about Dunsmuir for the city’s centennial. The co-author was a well-known local woman whose husband had played alongside Ruth that day.
“We don’t know yet how to tell you what a wonderful time we had in Dunsmuir,” Ruth and Meusel wrote, presumably with guidance from Walsh. “We have been treated royally in little towns and big cities, but when it comes to beautiful girls, wonderfully fine fellows and the real two-fisted spirit of California – little old Dunsmuir gave us more laughs, more hospitality, more thrills and more things to remember than any place between Broadway & Shasta.
“We didn’t expect to visit Dunsmuir, but believe us, we will positively be back (in person)!”