Babe Ruth’s 1921 season was one for the ages. He’d already developed a reputation as a slugger, having set the single season home run record in 1919 and then breaking it again in 1920, but he took it to another level in ’21.
Now, a rare original photo dating to that season showing him taking a mighty cut in the batter’s box is up for sale.
The 6×8 World Wide Photos image is the top item in RMY Auctions’ November catalog.
Encapsulated as a PSA 1, the photo still has remnants of the original caption on the back, but it’s the full length size and clarity that makes it “a museum quality image” that “ranks among his best,” according to RMY, which specializes in vintage photos.
The 26-year-old Ruth went five-for-five on Opening Day against the Red Sox and didn’t let up.
He belted 59 homers, setting the record once again while leading all of baseball in RBI (168), runs scored (177), on base percentage (.512), slugging percentage (.846), total bases (457—still a major league record) and extra bases (118—also still unsurpassed). He hit .378 and even stole 17 bases while drawing 145 walks. The Yankees lost the World Series after Ruth sustained an injury and wasn’t able to contribute much during the pivotal postseason matchup.
The photo is one of five images dating to Ruth’s playing days that are among hundreds up for auction through November 27.