As the 1930 season approached, Lou Gehrig was coming to the end of a three-year contract and hoping another stellar year would force Colonel Jacob Ruppert to hand over a nice raise. Shockingly, despite a .379 average, 41 homers, 173 RBI and a 419 total bases, Gehrig’s one-year deal in 1931 would pay him just $25,000, less than one-third of what teammate Babe Ruth was getting.
The Photo of the Day from RMY Auctions is a unique image that captures Gehrig’s classic swing from the prime of his career. Taken in spring training 1930, it shows Gehrig casting his bat aside and the bat suspended in mid-air. The original photo measures 6 1/2 x 8 1/2″ and remains virtually perfect. The back holds a 1932 date stamp when it was moved to a newspaper archive and a caption was attached to the back much later.
It’s one of more than 300 photographs, primarily from newspaper archives, that are up for bid at RMYAuctions.com through August 16.
Gehrig was 26 when the photo was taken and about to embark on a remarkable three-year offensive explosion that saw him drive in 509 runs. However, the Yankees would take a temporary back seat to the American League champion Philadelphia Athletics from 1929-1931.