The home run barrage of 1927 captivated the country and sports’ first super agent, Christy Walsh, wasn’t about to let an opportunity slip away. Walsh organized a nationwide barnstorming trip headlined by the two sluggers, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
Ruth had broken his own record with 60 homers; Gehrig had launched 47. Hack Wilson was third—with 30. The two Yankees traveled by train to cities without major league teams, posing for photos and signing countless autographs. Their prodigious power spawned the nicknames for the two squads filled out by local players: The “Bustin’ Babes” and the “Larrupin’ Lous” began their cross-country trip while the weather in the northern half of the country was still favorable.
The first stops were in the Tri-State area where on October 12, they handed out trophies and awards to some local youngsters. A rare original wire photo from that stop is among the headline items in RMY Auctions’ June catalog.
The 6×8 International Newsreel image shows Ruth and Gehrig are dressed in their full tour uniforms along with the young winners, surrounded by a large crowd of fans who filled the bleachers to see the country’s biggest sports stars in person. A woman off to the left holds a baseball, perhaps hoping to snare a couple of autographs.
The original paper caption remains attached to the back and is dated.
Ruth and Gehrig look a little tired in the photo and with good reason. The photo was taken just three days after the final game of the 1928 World Series which took place in St. Louis. Gehrig and Ruth likely arrived back in New York, received last-minute information on their trip and then headed out on the road for a month, covering 8,000 miles and playing in front of an estimated 220,000 people.
Bidding on the photo quickly soared to over $1,700. The auction will close Saturday at RMYAuctions.com.