An avid baseball fan’s photographic chronicle of game at Fenway Park more than 100 years ago is among the highlights in the newly launched online catalog at RMY Auctions. It wasn’t just any game either. The amateur’s camera captured action images of a young Babe Ruth pitching for the Red Sox against Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers.
Believed to have been taken on May 15, 1918, the sunny afternoon was a perfect day trip for the unidentified fan/photographer who attended the game with friends while serving in the armed forces. Taken from the stands, the set of four photos includes handwritten descriptions of the action. The newly discovered slice of baseball history is a new discovery that’s being offered at public auction for the first time.
The photos are small, but capture both Ruth and Cobb in action. Ruth’s pitching load was beginning to lighten by 1918 but his 20-game stint on the mound included this assignment against the Tigers. Ruth is shown pitching to Cobb in one photo and belting a double in another. A third photo shows Cobb approaching third base with the photographer’s inscription reading “Ty Cobb coming into third. It was some slide!”
A fourth image, taken outside the ballpark, shows two of the friends, dressed in uniform with a description on the back indicating the photo was taken on Tremont Street.
Cobb had 76 career plate appearances against Ruth between 1915 and 1921 and fanned a somewhat astonishing seven times. In fact, those whiffs against the lefty account for nearly 1.5 percent of Cobb’s career strikeouts, according to this story in The Sporting News.
The set of photos is one of nearly 600 lots of vintage sports, history and entertainment-oriented photos in the auction, which will run through April 24.