Three of the FBI’s most wanted criminals had been gunned down by federal agents weeks earlier. Stopping John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde seemed easier than getting Lou Gehrig out that summer.
The Yankees’ slugging first baseman was on his way to the Triple Crown but on August 14, 1934, a camera captured not only a rare Gehrig infield out—but three Hall of Famers in one photograph.
The RMY Auctions Photo of the Day takes you back to Yankee Stadium on a warm Tuesday afternoon where 72,000 fans—a huge weekday crowd—turned out to watch two American League pennant contenders play a doubleheader.
Tigers pitcher General Crowder worked 8 1/3 innings in game one that day and it wasn’t pretty. He gave up five runs but kept his team in the game thanks to hustle plays like this. Crowder took a flip from Tigers’ first baseman Hank Greenberg and got Gehrig out. The Yankees had already built a 5-0 lead but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Detroit tied the game in the sixth against Lefty Gomez and tacked on four more in the 7th against reliever Jimmie DeShong to help the first place Tigers maintain their lead on the Yankees.
In addition to Gehrig and Greenberg, who watches the completion of the play, the photo also pictures Yankees first base coach Joe Sewell, who was also one tough out during his playing days and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1977.
Gehrig did have two hits in the game and finished the season with a .363 average, 49 homers and 165 RBI but the Tigers held them off to win the pennant where they lost to St. Louis’ Gashouse Gang. Detroit would return to the World Series and win it in 1935.
The 4 ½” x 5” NEA photo carries a dated caption on the back as well as a file stamp. It is one of more than 450 photos up for bid in RMY’s June auction, set to close Saturday.