If one image could best capture the 1922 World Series, this might be it.
Babe Ruth taking a mighty cut but missing Art Nehf’s pitch in the first inning would come to symbolize the New York Yankees’ futility against Giants pitching in the intra-city battle to determine baseball’s champion 99 seasons ago. Giants catcher Frank Snyder and home plate umpire Bill Klem are also in the photo, likely captured from the Polo Grounds roof that afternoon.
The 6×8” International Newsreel image that’s among the headliners in RMY Auctions’ latest online catalog is atypical in that it shows Ruth’s failure in an era he dominated. He’d belted 35 homers and knocked in 96 runs while batting .315 during the regular season, but the World Series quickly became a frustrating endeavor for the home run king. In four losses and a tie, Ruth went 2 for 17 with no homers. His lone RBI came later in that first game, helping the Yankees to a 2-0 lead but the Giants finally got to Joe Bush in the eighth, bringing three runs home to earn the first of their four wins.
The Giants, who used only five pitchers in the series, pitched around Ruth and the rest of the Yankees lineup wasn’t able to muster much offense.
The photo includes the original dated caption on the back—October 4, 1922—and remains in excellent condition. Images of Ruth’s more successful appearances in the Series in 1921 and ’23 are also among the nearly 600 lots in the auction, which is set to run through June 5.