No one is alive today to recall it, but Game 2 of the 1916 World Series was one of the most compelling ever played. The starting pitcher for the American League champs that day in Boston?
Babe Ruth, who was making the first post-season start of his career.
Now, an image from one of the most important moments from that game is on the auction block.
Strong fan interest caused the Red Sox to move their home games from the new Fenway Park into the larger capacity home of their National League cousins, Braves Field. Boston had taken Game 1 from the Brooklyn Robins and sent the 21-year-old Ruth to the mound to start the second contest. Still considered primarily a pitcher rather than the home run king he’d become, Ruth had won 23 games and struck out 170 during the regular season.
Brooklyn’s Hy Myers gave his team a 1-0 lead with an inside the park homer off Ruth in the first inning, punctuated by a head first slide into home. In the third inning, they had a chance to add to the lead, when Ruth’s mound opponent, Sherry Smith, smashed a pitch down the right field line but the end result of the play is captured in the historic photo that’s now at RMY Auctions.
Smith—against the wishes of his third base coach, according to newspaper coverage at the time—tried to stretch a sure double into a triple but was thrown out and that first inning run would be the only one Brooklyn would score. The Red Sox tied the contest in the bottom of the third and pushed across a run in the 14th inning to win 2-1. They’d go on to win the series four games to one.
The action photo supplied by the American Press Association, shows Ruth, standing near third base, helping back up the critical play as Everett Scott applies the tag and the umpire hustles to make the call. Ruth pitched all 14 innings that day and began a World Series scoreless streak of 29 2/3 innings.
The back of the photo bears a file date stamp of October 12, three days after the game. The caption is stamped on the back and describes the play.
The photo is one of more than 400 historic images in RMY’s October online catalog auction, which runs through Saturday, October 12.