It was just one of the 714 he hit during his career (15 more if you include his World Series efforts) but to Babe Ruth, the first home run belted at the newly constructed Yankee Stadium in 1923 always ranked among his favorites. In fact, leading up to the huge park’s debut Ruth told reporters he’d “give a year of my life if I could hit a home run on opening day of this great new park.”
And that he did, although it’s doubtful the “trade” played any role in his early demise just 25 years later.
Now, an original photograph of that historic moment when baseball’s greatest icon touched home in the “House That Ruth Built” is about to go up for auction. Heritage Auctions will sell the professionally framed and matted piece in its February Platinum Night auction. Measuring 14” x 17” including the frame, it is expected to sell for $15,000 or more.
The historic image dates from April 18, 1923 when Ruth belted a three-run blast off Howard Ehmke of the Red Sox in the third inning, propelling the Yankees to a 4-1 victory. It was the 198th homer of his career.
The 6.5×8.5″ Keystone View production includes a typed paper caption the back from distribution to a newspaper. In fact, papers across the country carried a similar photo along with a wide angle shot from the upper deck in right field in their coverage of the inaugural game.
Ruth is shown as he completes his home run trot with teammate Joe Dugan already heading for the dugout after scoring ahead of him. Ruth’s good luck charm, hunchbacked bat boy Eddie Bennett, is holding the bat as Ruth heads across the dish. Also pictured are Hall of Fame umpire Tommy Connolly and Red Sox catcher Al DeVormer.
The auction is expected to begin in early February with several hundred high-end items up for bids.