A group of five photographs, taken by a fan witnessing Lou Gehrig’s famous “luckiest man” speech at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939 have been uncovered and are being offered at auction for the first time.
While captured from a distance, the images were taken from a vantage point above and behind home plate and offer a unique, new perspective of the emotional event at which Gehrig was honored following his retirement due to ALS.
The black-and-white images were developed and placed in a scrapbook by the fan who chronicled his trips to various ballparks and was in the ballpark the day Gehrig reluctantly addressed a huge crowd that came out on a holiday to honor him. According to RMY Auctions, the scrapbook with ballpark photos was consigned recently and it wasn’t until the company began paging through it that the Gehrig Day photos were uncovered. They are now being offered in RMY’s current online catalog.
Pasted onto two black-colored pages, the photos are accompanied by neatly written silver-ink text describing what’s been captured on film.
One photo clearly shows a somber Gehrig, cap in hand, as gifts are presented. There’s also a second photo of Gehrig standing and looking back at current and former players who have lined up with a marching band behind them.
Another captures Babe Ruth, wearing the white suit he wore that day and posing for a crowd of photographers and film crews on the back of the pitcher’s mound prior to the ceremony with the microphone having been set up in the batter’s box. Other images highlight a procession of former Yankees walking to the flagpole in center field and a banner-raising ceremony that had taken place earlier. It’s believed they are members of the 1927 “Murderer’s Row” team which gathered that day to honor Gehrig and participate in the championship banner ceremony, although the original owner captioned one of the photos as “Hoisting the 1938 World’s Championship Flag.”
The pages of photos are part of an auction of more than 1,000 sports, news and entertainment images that runs through August 3 at RMYAuctions.com.