There’s no doubt Babe Ruth still harbored managerial aspirations, even as doors continued to close following his long career as a player. He was three years removed from his last game when the Brooklyn Dodgers brought him on board as a coach in mid-June.
Ruth was largely there to encourage players, take some batting practice in hopes of attracting a few fans and maybe provide an informal tip or two. Ruth was generally popular with players and attendance picked up but according to news accounts of the time, he didn’t help himself with a lackadaisical attitude toward signs and his role as a coach.
Brooklyn general manager Larry MacPhail had indicated Ruth wouldn’t be the new skipper of the Dodgers after Burleigh Grimes made good on his plans to step down from the role at the end of the season. Leo Durocher was MacPhail’s pick and since Ruth and Leo weren’t exactly close friends, even going so far as to tussle in the clubhouse after one game, it became obvious Ruth wouldn’t be back in 1939. In fact, he never again had a working role inside the game he loved.
The Photo of the Day pictures Ruth, toweling off on a warm day during that season. The 5 ½” x 7” photo is among more than 400 historic images up for bid through June 18 at RMYAuctions.com.
The uniform Ruth is wearing shows the patch the Dodgers wore to promote the upcoming World’s Fair in New York. At the time of publication, an editor darkened the background of the photo for artistic purposes.