Babe Ruth was a prodigious talent, who never did anything in small way. Whether he was pitching shutouts, hitting moonshot home runs or running around town to speakeasies, the Babe lived large.
Many of us know Ruth through his days with the New York Yankees, as he set power records and became larger in girth. A rarely seen image of him before the the sale that sent him on to international fame usually attracts a crowd of bidders.
Collectors will have a chance to latch onto one such photo, a picture of the Babe taken sometime in 1917 or 1918 when he was still a star pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. The RMY Auctions Photo of The Day is an unusual rectangular shot that measures 3.25 inches by 7.5 inches. It’s one of hundreds of images in RMY’s September online catalog auction.
Ruth went 24-13 as a pitcher for the Red Sox in 1917 and led the American League with 35 complete games. His ERA was 2.01. The following season, Ruth went 13-7 with a 2.25 ERA, but he began to see more action as a hitter and was a co-leader in home runs (tied with Tillie Walker). with 11. The Red Sox hit just 15 homers as a team in 1918.
The photograph, issued by Underwood and Underwood, shows a much slimmer Babe than most fans recall, hands on hips, posing in front of the stands. The back carries the company’s copyright stamp dating from the time period.
It is definitely a rare, candid shot of Ruth just as he was emerging as one of baseball’s biggest stars.
Bidding is underway and runs through Saturday, September 16 at RMYAuctions.com.