He’d been retired as a player for only six years but it looked like Babe Ruth was living a pretty laid back lifestyle when a photographer snapped a photo of him and his wife Claire in 1941. Dressed in a pair of slippers, pants and wearing a smoking jacket as he held his pipe, the Babe was a far cry from the big leagues. Behind him, however, were memories of his long career in the game.
The RMY Auctions Photo of the Day is a newly discovered 6×9 image that’s entering the hobby for the first time.
Ruth appears sad with his wife Claire consoling him and while the exact date is unclear, it was taken during the same year that Ruth’s former teammate, Lou Gehrig passed away. In the background are framed team photos, including one of the 1927 team and artwork. On a table next to the couple is a copy of LIFE magazine and even one of the unique George Burke stand-ups the legendary photographer created for numerous players who served as his subjects.
While it may look like Ruth was a man of leisure, he was keeping pretty busy at the time, working with producers on the set of Pride of the Yankees, competing in a well-publicized golf match with Ty Cobb, making promotional appearances and participating in baseball clinics here and there.
He battled nasty viruses on more than one occasion, though, relegating Claire to family spokesperson. She told one reporter in ’41 that The Babe was no longer interested in a managing or coaching position. His tenure as a Dodgers coach in the late 1930s didn’t last long and it was apparent that no big league organizations had much interest in talking to him for any type of important position.
He’d live for only seven more years, serving as an unofficial ambassador for baseball, promoting American Legion baseball, helping sell war bonds, and making appearances for companies that paid him to do so.
The photo is one of over 1,400 in the auction, which runs through Saturday at RMYAuctions.com.