Baseball was still buzzing with the news when Babe Ruth reported to spring training in March of 1935. The big man, now 40, had been granted his release after 15 years the New York Yankees, signing with the National League’s Boston Braves as a team vice president, assistant manager and outfielder. “Gate attraction” wasn’t mentioned but it, too, was part of his role.
During the Braves’ workouts prior to the season, Ruth was a drawing card and despite his now worldwide fame, took time to take a photo with a couple of youngsters during spring training. The boys look happy, but Babe appears a little tired. Indeed, after a hot start, the experiment ended exactly two months from the date this image was taken when Ruth played his final major league game.
The unique 2 x 3 1/2″ snapshot is among the featured lots in RMY Auctions’ September catalog.
Ruth would offer Braves fans some encouragement on Opening Day when he belted his 709th career homer and led Boston to a win 18 days after the shutter was snapped on this image. However, it soon became obvious that his skills and dedication to the game as a player had clearly waned. He had joined Boston hoping to manage the club at some point, an offer that he knew wasn’t coming from the Yankees. Disillusioned by his lot there, he walked away from a three-year contract and ended his playing career.
Auction bidding runs through Saturday at RMYAuctions.com.