He’d hit 59 the season before and as the 1927 season approached, the question around Babe Ruth was whether he could possibly top a figure that seemed otherworldly just ten years earlier.
The Babe got the chase started on April 15 against the Philadelphia Athletics. In the bottom of the first inning, he attacked a pitch from Howard Ehme, belting a scorching drive to right field that cleared the fence at Yankee Stadium.
There would be 59 more to come.
Moments before Ruth headed for the plate that afternoon, a photographer stationed on the field snapped a terrific portrait-type image. Now, that original glass plate negative, the envelope in which it was stored and the caption that would accompany it are up for sale. RMY Auctions is offering them in its June Collectors Auction, set to run through Saturday.
The Underwood & Underwood negative measures a sizeable 4 ¼” x 5 1/4” and has never been offered publicly until now. RMY calls it “one of the greatest images of Ruth ever taken from his most famous season.”
The paper caption mentions Ruth hit his first homer of the season right after the photograph was taken.
Incredibly, Ruth would hit only three home runs before April 29, then go on a season-long tear that ended with #60 against Tom Zachary on September 30, breaking his own record for the third consecutive year. It lasted until Roger Maris broke it in the same ballpark 34 years later.