Spring training rituals haven’t changed much since the 1920s: Players still spend some of their free time on the golf course.
Evidence of that comes in the form of a news photo of Babe Ruth and New York Yankees teammate Everett Scott, waiting their turn on the tee box at Hot Spring Arkansas in March of 1923. While most latter day spring training outings aren’t covered by the media, when you’re Babe Ruth, you’re never far from a photographer’s lens.
The best part of the 6 ½” x 8 ½” photo is the huge golf cap atop his noggin. Ruth was an avid golfer who enjoyed being a little stylish on the links and he’s often seen in knickers and a more traditional chapeau like the one Scott is wearing.
The backgrounds of the two men were quite different. Ruth was the orphaned city kid from Baltimore. Scott grew up in a two-parent household in small town Indiana.
The photo was taken as the Yankees were beginning preparations for what would be their first World Series championship. Acquired from the Red Sox prior to the 1922 season, Scott was becoming well-known in his own right. A captain in Boston and New York, he led the American League in fielding percentage for eight straight seasons but more notably, was in the midst of a record-setting streak of playing in 1,307 consecutive games-a mark that would be broken more than 70 years later by Cal Ripken Jr. It remains the third longest streak in baseball history, one ended only when manager Miller Huggins benched Scott in May of 1925. Scott is also the man who recorded the first assist in the history of the original Yankee Stadium several weeks after this photo was snapped.
Complete with the original International News Service caption still stuck to the back, it’s one of more than 1,200 in RMY’s July Premier Auction, which closes this Saturday.