The date was July 30, 1927. Lou Gehrig was in the midst of a Hall of Fame career on one of the most well-known teams in Major League Baseball history. Some say it was the best team in baseball history.
Pictures now up for auction capture a fan’s eye view of Gehrig and teammate Tony Lazzeri up to bat at Yankee Stadium during that historic season.
The 6 1/4″ x 10 1/4″ black-and-white snapshots were placed in a scrapbook, apparently by an avid fan who was astute enough during the era to carefully chronicle his baseball trips.
That same book yielded never-before-seen images of Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech and surrounding activities on July 4, 1939. The recently consigned scrapbook’s contents included neatly written copy that accompanied photos of Yankee Stadium, Ebbets Field and the Baker Bowl.
Gehrig appears to be waiting on a pitch while the Indians infield defense gets set. Fellow Hall of Famer Lazzeri seems to have already attempted a swing. The view from the stands rather than the third base line or another standard press photographer angle, is unique.
While it’s hard to make out much detail of the right-handed Lazzeri, the photo does offer more broad insight into the actual structure of historic Yankees Stadium with seats occupied by straw hat-wearing fans.
Interestingly, Gehrig would belt two long balls that day against the Cleveland Indians that day. Over 33,000 fans were in attendance for the Saturday showdown. Gehrig’s 34th and 35th home runs came in the first game of a doubleheader. The Yankees won that affair 7-3. Babe Ruth (not pictured) was relatively silent, going 1-4 at the plate. Lazzeri finished 1-3. The Yankees also won game two 5-0 behind a six hit complete game shutout from another Hall inductee, Waite Hoyt. The win gave New York 73 wins in just 100 tries on the season. Gehrig was 1-4 in the nightcap.
The lineup of the eventual World Series champs blasted 158 home runs and outscored opponents by 376 runs that season, earning their “Murderer’s Row” moniker.
It was historic.
It was mind-boggling.
It was a pitcher’s worst nightmare.
Gehrig was a huge part of the overall statistics with a .373 average, 47 home runs and 175 RBI (the most ever in MLB at the time). Gehrig would drive in 184 several years later, adding to the allure of his storied career.
All Ruth did was amass a then record 60 dingers.
Maybe Lazzeri didn’t get the public attention his counterparts seemed to land. That doesn’t change the fact he was a Hall of Fame talent. The San Francisco native boasted a .292 career average and 1192 RBI. He was an integral infielder on several World Series championship teams. His only problem, perhaps-playing on teams loaded with names like Gehrig and Ruth.
The closing date of the auction is August 3. It’s all part of RMY’s Summer Premier Auction that includes over 1,000 historic photographs.