History In Ink®  Historical Autographs


 
 
 
 

 

1431526

Babe Ruth

A virtually pristine signed photo of the Bambino, the Sultan of Swat

George Herman “Babe” Ruth, Jr., 1895–1948.  American professional baseball player.  3½” x 5¼” photograph signed Babe Ruth.  Accompanied by document of provenance.

In the annals of baseball, there is no bigger name than this:  George Herman Ruth, the Babe, the Bambino, the Sultan of Swat.  In 22 major league seasons from 1914 to 1935, including 15 with the New York Yankees, the southpaw pitcher-turned-outfielder with the mighty bat, who belted magnificent, record-setting home runs, came to define baseball.  His power and his charisma, coupled with his risky off-the-field lifestyle, epitomized the Roaring Twenties and made him a legend.

This beautiful, very fine condition photograph depicts Ruth in his Yankees uniform, swinging a bat.  Ruth has signed it in black fountain pen across his pinstriped uniform jersey, in a light portion of the photograph.

This photo has not been on the autograph market for some 66 years.  It comes from a collection assembled in the late 1940s and was last sold on February 12, 1948—for $3.00!—by autograph dealer Conway Barker of Galveston, Texas.  A copy of Barker’s invoice accompanies the photo.

Ruth hit a record 59 home runs in 1921, his second year with the Yankees, and racked up large home run totals throughout the 1920s until, as the leader of the Yankeesʼ powerful Murdersʼ Row lineup on what was arguably baseballʼs greatest team ever, he broke his own record by clubbing 60 home runs in 1927.  Overall, Ruth led the Yankees to seven league titles and four world championships.  For good reason, New York Telegram sportswriter Fred Leib dubbed Yankee Stadium, which opened in the Bronx in 1923, “The House That Ruth Built.”

Ruth remains first on the all-time lists for slugging percentage (.690) and on-base plus slugging percentage (1.164) and second for runs batted in (2,213).  He finished his career with 714 home runs, a record that stood until 1974, and he remains third on the all-time list.  Ruth also remains third for all-time walks (2,062), fourth in runs scored (2,174), and 10th in career batting average (.342).  As a pitcher—which his hitting overshadowed—Ruth compiled a 94-46 record and a 2.28 career earned run average.

This postcard-sized photograph is in very fine condition.  It is virtually pristine, and only a tad bit of silvering to the background of the image keeps us from grading it extra fine.  It has been triple matted in marine blue suede and Yankees pinstripe matting, with inlaid black wood fillets and a silver-tone engraved identification plate, and framed in a black wood frame to an overall size of 13” x 16”.

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