Babe Ruth reported for spring training a month after his 39th birthday with an idea that his time as an active player was winding down.
Our Photo of the Day from RMY Auctions is from The Babe’s last arrival in Florida as a member of the New York Yankees. The rare image offers insight into Ruth’s status as the most important sports figure of the era, the center of attention who was now slipping into the twilight of his on-field career.
Taken by an Acme News photographer and pushed out with a caption attached to the back dated March 13, 1934, the rare 7×9 image remains in excellent condition and is up for bid in RMY’s July auction. It shows Ruth obliging a clearly excited group of fans prior to his first workout in St. Petersburg, FL that day.
Ruth’s once athletic body was long gone and despite another productive season at the plate in 1933, his ability to run and field had slipped noticeably. With a bat in his hands, The Babe was still dangerous. He had hit .301, belting 34 homers, driving in 103 runs and leading the league in walks with 114. His home run at Comiskey Park had led the American League to victory in the first MLB All-Star Game that summer. Despite those accomplishments, he took a sizeable pay cut for ’34: down to $35,000. That, too, probably had him fuming internally.
His final season in New York saw Ruth bat .288 with 22 homers, pedestrian stats for the home run king who would spend a part of his final year as a would-be gate attraction with the Boston Braves in 1935.
Multiple Ruth photos are included in the auction, which closes Sunday, July 19 at RMYAuctions.com.