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SPOTLIGHT: BABE RUTH IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA
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Just as George Herman "Babe" Ruth was the most popular player with baseball fans, so, too, was he a fixture in front of the camera lens. Whether at home or on the field, he was a top subject for photographers and news agencies.
The sepia photograph at top left was taken by the World Wide Studio of New York City and depicts Ruth in his dressing gown, watch and pinky ring. This specimen features a handwritten caption on the reverse, most likely offered by an editor at a New York newspaper: "Geo. Herman Ruth, highest salaried baseball player and supreme ruler of swat as he appeared in his home on West 88th Street." The photo features extensive pencil editing marks, along with a heavy crease where the image was folded to indicate a crop line (hence the notation: "crop as much as possible").
The photograph at top right also was issued by the World Wide Studio of New York City. This sepia image shows Ruth seated in a more formal pose. Like the companion derssing gown image, this photo most likely was used by the same newspaper for the same story as it, too, sports the same editor's order to "cut Tuesday noon" and a similar crop fold. The photography studio's stamp, however, is slightly different, with this second specimen bearing the admonishment: "Must not be used for advertising purposes except on written consent."
The image seen at top, middle, shows Ruth being prepped to be photographed or filmed, with a white-coated makeup artist dutifully working on him. The studio lights are seen at right, along with a typewriter in the foreground. This photograph was taken by R.P. Johnson, Commercial Photography, NYC and features his stamp on the reverse.
The two black and white photographs below are later generation prints, unlike the original first generation prints seen above. The two images below were reproduced from original negatives, most likely in the late 1970s or early 1980s, and depict two uniqe poses of Ruth. The image at left shows Ruth wearing his 1920 or 1921 home cap and road jersey, while the photo at right captures the Babe posed in tie and knickers at home plate at a local town ballfield. Both images are rendered in spectacular clarity.
This photo was issued by The Americal League Service Bureau in Chicago, depicting the Philadelphia Athletics' infielder, Max Bishop. This particular specimen was once the property of the Cleveland News Reference Room, which entered it into its library on October 12, 1931, as per the newspaper's stamp on the reverse. The front of this photograph features heavy Art Deco production marks along with a hand lettered name plate in the upper left.
Bishop enjoyed a 12 year career with the A's and Red Sox, known for his good fielding and ability to draw bases on balls. He served as the leasoff batter during the A's 1929-1931 World Series years.
SPOTLIGHT: LOU GEHRIG -- EARLY AND LATE
Lou Gehrig -- the Iron Horse -- is seen in this spotlight section at the peak of his powers in the early 1930s and in 1939 at their nadir, as he officially retired from the game and accepted a position as New York City Parol Commissioner.
The ACME news service photo above shows Gehrig sliding into home plate in the sixth inning of the first game of the 1932 World Series at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees won the game 12-8 and the World Series in four straight. This photo has a paper news caption on the reverse, along with both the ACME stamp and thestamp of NEA which owned ACME.
The photo above is an extremely significant news service print, issued on October 17, 1939, capturing the exact moment when Lou Gehrig's career officially ended. Gehrig is seen here taking his official oath of office as parole commissioner. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia is captured administering the oath as Lou's wife Eleanor looks on. Interestingly, it is noted in the accompanying news story which is glued to the picture's reverse, Gehrig's commission was set to last ten years beginning on January 1, 1940. He died in June, 1941.
Both sides of this photograph are shown above. Click on the images to enlarge.
This historic photograph is crystal-clear and is adorned with some white highlighting to the right of Gehrig's head to increase contrast for publication, and sports a newspaper library stamp on the reverse. The news service which capturedthis moment is unknown, as the library story copy is affixed to the reverse, obscuring any news stamps.
This 1933 photograph features Connie Mack in a non-baseball setting right before the start of spring training. This photo was released by ACME News Pictures, Inc. and features the news service's stamp on the reveerse, along with the stamp of ACME parent, NEA. Additionally, the news caption tag also is affixed to the reverse.
Mack, the venerable owner and manager of the Philadelphia Athletics is shown on the front steps of his daughter's home in Asheville, North Carolina. This image was captured on February 10th during Mack's short vacation before the start of spring training in Florida.
This c.1936-37 photo was taken by the famed Chicago-based baseball photographer, George Burke, and features Chicago White Sox pitcher, Monte Stratton. The clarity of this image is truly spectacular, as can be expected with Burke's photos. This specimen features Burke's personal stamp and address on the reverse and was originally part of a treasure trove of photographs from Burke's own files.
Stratton's best year for the Sox came in 1937 when he won 15 games, losing only 5 and boasting a 2.40 earned run average.
These two great news service photographs of Hall of Famer, Dizzy Dean, have been cut for cropping purposes for publication. Both of these photographs originate from the same newspaper collection and both were distributed by International News Photos.
These two are either from the 1930s or 40s with Dean captured at the ballpark in one photo and with baseball in-hand, celebrating, in the second. Intrestingly, the St. Louis Cardinal great was retained as a guest "columnist" during a World Series, prior to his later years as a broadcaster, and perhaps the photo of Dean in his suit at the ballpark originates from one of the games he "covered" as a member of the print media. To provide any additional information, click here:
A fantastic image, this photo shows New York Giants' ace, Carl Hubbel, warming up on the sidelines before opening day, 1937. Slightly larger than a postcard, this privately-photographed image was captured by a photographer who signed his name on the reverse as Fitz. Clearly visible in the background is a member of the grounds crew painting the lines of the batter's box. Also shown is the Gem razorblade billboard and two cars of a passing train outside the stadium.
In 1937, as in 1936, the Giants would go on to win the National League pennant, but lose in the World Series to the Yankees. Hubbel would win 22 games and lose only 8 that year.
This ACME news swervice photo was taken during the winter baseball meetings in 1936. Seen here are Boston Red Sox manager, Joe Cronin and Detroit Tigers manager, Mickey Cochrane. Both were later elected to the Hall of Fame. Cochrane was a player-manager for the Tigers and is the figure in the right in a three-piece suit, while Cronin is at left in a hat.
A slew of stars can be seen above in this four-piece Elliott News Service collage, including Joe DiMaggio, Pepper Martin, Connie Mack and many, many others from the Cardinals, Red Sox, Chicago and Athletics. Click on each image to enlarge separately.
This postcard-sized photograph depicts a town or semi-pro team whsoe uniforms mirror those of the major league Cardinals. Seen here are 12 players with equipment and their batboy or mascot, posed on what looks like a sandlot or empty neighborhood lot.
These two snapshots were taken at Yankee Stadium in the late 1930s from box seats directly behind the Yankees' dugout which was then behind third base.
The photo at left captures the depths of the stadium's outfield, billboards and flagpole. The photo at right includes a familiar face poking his head out above the dugout roof -- none other than Joe DiMaggio.