An original 104-year-old news photo showing a young Babe Ruth and his Boston Red Sox teammates posing before the World Series is coming to auction for the first time.
The remarkably clear 7 ¼” x 9 ½” silver gelatin image is being offered by RMY Auctions and retains the original Central News Service caption on the back. It had spent its entire life inside a newspaper’s long-running photographic archive.
Taken October 2, just after the Red Sox had won the American League pennant, the photo is thought to be the best of a relatively small number that survive.
The 21-year-old Ruth is pictured seated in the front row, an appropriate position since there’s little doubt he was a major reason for the team’s success. Primarily a pitcher at that point in his young career, Ruth went 23-12 in 1916, with four victories over fellow future Hall of Famer Walter Johnson. Ruth’s ERA was 1.75 and he tossed nine shutouts, a league record that wouldn’t be matched until Ron Guidry of the Yankees tossed that many in 1978. He made 152 plate appearances for the Red Sox that season, belting a modest three home runs.
Interestingly, the photo appears to show Ruth wearing a steel plate on the toe of his left cleat.
Piloted by Bill Carrigan, the Red Sox had to fight off the pesky Chicago White Sox to earn the AL championship, then beat the Brooklyn Robins in five games to win their second straight World Series title.
Bidding is now underway in the auction, which includes over 600 sports, news and entertainment photos and will close November 28 at RMYAuctions.com.