Most baseball images from the pre-War era were taken by professional photographers. The era of cameras that were inexpensive and portable was still largely in the future. Field access for fans who did own cameras was uncommon.
A pair of photos of two legends now at auction is the rare exception.
The RMY Auctions Photo of the Day is a two-for-one. The company is offering two candid, dated snapshots of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in its November auction. Both images are being offered for the first time.
Taken late in a season at League Park in Cleveland, the posed photos appear to have been taken prior to the Yankees’ final series in the city–the last time Ruth and Gehrig would appear in the city as teammates.
The date of each and the location are hand-written in pencil on the back. The Ruth photo, which measures 3 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches, is dated September 15. The slightly larger Gehrig image carries a September 16 date, although it’s possible both were taken at the same time and the photographer simply dated one of them incorrectly.
The Yankees were essentially playing out the string, having fallen back of the eventual American League champion Detroit Tigers. Ruth would not start either game, but appeared both times as a pinch-hitter.
The photos are among 481 lots in RMY’s auction, set to run through Saturday, September 23.