He posed for photos countless times during his career, but what did that scene look like? If only we could go back in time and stand on the field when Babe Ruth was in uniform.
The image, taken the day before the start of the 1928 World Series, shows Ruth with a bat in his hands as a man with a camera focuses his viewfinder on sports’ most well-known figure. It’s a rare image by itself but the photographer is no ordinary newspaper lensman. It’s Ruth’s Yankee teammate, pitcher Herb Pennock.
Snapped by a wire service photographer, the unique shot measures 9 ½” x 10” and is among the featured lots in RMY’s December Premier Auction, which closes Saturday. The original caption remains attached to the back of the photo, which would have been available for use by newspaper editors at the time.
The 1928 Series opened at Yankee Stadium, with New York facing the St. Louis Cardinals for the second time in three seasons.
The Cardinals were the betting line favorite going in, partly because they had beaten the Yankees two years earlier, had what was believed to be superior pitching and also because there were some questions about how well Ruth’s injured leg would hold up during the series. A few days rest had helped, though, and newspaper accounts of the day quoted Ruth and his teammates as feeling a little slighted.
“Imagine them making us the underdogs in this series!” Ruth exclaimed to reporters. “Those 2-1 favorite are going to get bumped off quicker than anyone is looking for a crippled ball club to turn the trick.”
Ruth was right.
The Yankees swept the Cards in four straight.