He had donned a New York baseball uniform many times before but it was big news when the game’s most famous player put on the home white flannel of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Three years after ending his career in unceremonious fashion with a two month stint in Boston, Ruth took a shot at coaching. The RMY Auctions Photo of the Day captures the moment in June of 1938 when he put on the Dodger uniform for the first time with help from manager Burleigh Grimes. The wire service photo includes the original caption and measures 6 ½” x 8 ½”. It’s among the featured attractions in RMY’s January online catalog.
That caption states Ruth spent an hour before the game posing for cameramen, signing autographs and chit-chatting with fans. He was hoping the post might lead to a manager’s job somewhere in baseball but in reality, he was almost too big for the job.
Ruth provided encouragement to Dodger players, took some batting practice in hopes of attracting a few fans and did his part for public relations inside and outside the locker room but according to news accounts of the time, he didn’t help himself with a lackadaisical attitude toward his role as a coach.
Brooklyn general manager Larry MacPhail chose Leo Durocher as the club’s next manager and since Ruth and Leo weren’t exactly close friends, even going so far as to duke it out in the clubhouse during a post-game disagreement, it became obvious Ruth wouldn’t return to Brooklyn in 1939. In fact, he never again had a on-field role with any major league team.
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