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Lot # 996 (of 1411)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Earliest Known Major League Photo of Babe Ruth - 1915

Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $8,700.00

This historic image is, to the best of our knowledge, the earliest known Major League photo of Babe Ruth. While the photo itself is undated, it can be definitively dated to spring training of 1915. This particular photo was one of forty-one similar photos originating from the estate of former Boston Red Sox president Joseph Lanin, all of which were taken in 1915 at the club's spring training facility in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Within that original grouping of forty-one, three photos included Ruth (the other two are being offered in this auction in a separate lot), with this example being the only one featuring Ruth in a pitching pose. Ruth, who is pictured in uniform as he warms up on the field, was only twenty years old at the time and his svelte appearance stands in stark contrast to his latter-day proportions. While there are many photos of Ruth prior to 1915, this particular photo is believed to be (along with the other two previously mentioned photos) the earliest example featuring him as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Ruth was purchased by Boston in July of 1914; however, his stay in the Majors was short. Ruth only appeared in four games for the club before being sent down (on August 5th) to the minors for more seasoning. He did not rejoin the Red Sox until spring training of 1915. We have not seen any photographs of Ruth taken during his short one-month stay with Boston in 1914. The photograph (3 x 3.25 inches) is exceptional in all respects, with flawless clarity and contrast. Every detail, including Ruth's facial features, is perfectly captured. Excellent to Mint condition. This is an extraordinary and very historically significant museum-quality original photograph capturing Babe Ruth during his rookie season with Boston. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$1,500. SOLD FOR $8,700.00

(Click the smaller thumbnails to the left and right (if any) to cycle through each photo in the gallery of images for this lot.)