A newly discovered snapshot of Babe Ruth in front of the Red Sox dugout not long after his famous sale to the Yankees in 1920 is up for auction.
The RMY Auctions Photo of the Day was uncovered in an old 1920 family photo album, showing a smiling Ruth holding a bat with Red Sox players in the dugout behind him. It’s believed to be the only image of its kind in existence, showing Ruth as he apparently shared a few words with players on his former team just prior to a game.
The photo was apparently taken by an amateur photographer, perhaps with some influence, who had gained access to the field. Rhys Yeakley of RMY Auctions says the rest of the album consisted of around two hundred snapshots from around the New York and New Jersey area with scenes of beaches, family members and other day-to-day activities, all taken during the same time period.
From the online auction catalog:
“Considering the rarity (unique) and significance of the photo this is without a doubt one of the most important Babe Ruth images to come to public auction in some time. The item was carefully removed from the scrapbook but left on the black paper mounting for historical provenance and with the vintage identification on the top. The resulting completely original item is much like a cabinet photograph in its appearance and composition. The entire rest of the album (with no other baseball images) will be included to the winner as provenance.”
The photo is among 1,500 lots in RMY’s August Premier Auction.
Ruth was smiling for a reason. His impact on the Yankees had been almost immediate. He would set a new Major League record in 1920 with an astonishing 54 home runs while driving in 135 and batting .376.
The Red Sox, who had previously been among the league’s most powerful franchises, would suffer the impact of losing their top player and drawing card for decades to come.