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1915 Boston Red Sox Photograph Collection Including Two of the Earliest Known Major League Photos of Rookie Babe Ruth (9 Photos)
Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $5,333
These nine original photographs capture members of the Boston Red Sox during spring training of 1915. The pair of photographs featuring Babe Ruth are especially significant as they represent two of the earliest known photos of Babe Ruth as a major leaguer. In terms of detail and quality each is also among the most remarkable early Ruth photographs in existence. The remaining seven photos are of equally extraordinary quality. Although the photos are all undated, they can be definitively identified as dating precisely from spring training of 1915. The photos originate directly from the estate of former Boston Red Sox president Joseph Lanin! All were taken in 1915 at the club's spring training facility in Hot Springs, Arkansas. There were originally forty-one photos in the entire collection (all consigned many years ago to REA directly from the Lanin family), nine of which are presented in this lot. Within that original grouping of forty-one, three photos captured Ruth, two of which are offered here.
Babe Ruth was purchased by the Red Sox on July 9, 1914; however, he 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, a return that is captured in two of the photos here. The first (4.5 x 2.5 inches) pictures Ruth as he poses together with ten of his teammates, including Joe Wood. The second (3.75 x 2.75 inches) pictures Ruth at bat during either batting practice or a game. To the best of our knowledge there are only two known photographs picturing Ruth as a member of the Red Sox during his brief stay with the club in 1914 (one of which is known only as a newspaper image as seen in Lot 1006 in this auction). These original 1915 spring training photographs are of enormous significance as they represent two of the earliest images of Ruth in a Red Sox uniform and document the start of what would become the greatest career in baseball history.
As mentioned previously, these photos originate from the estate of Red Sox president Joseph Lanin, who is pictured in five of the nine photos (either alone or with members of the team). Included among the remaining photos is an image of pitcher Carl Mays in mid-windup, with his classic submarine style of delivery on full display. Mays, like Ruth, was also in his rookie season with the Red Sox. However, while Ruth would go on to distinguish himself as the greatest sports figure in American history, Mays is best remembered by fans today for having delivered the pitch that killed Ray Chapman in 1920. Chapman's death remains to this day the only on-field fatality in Major League baseball history. The photos, which range in size from 2 x 3 to 4.25 x 3.25 inches, have flawless clarity and are in spectacular Excellent to Mint condition. The photos have been professionally matted and framed together (they could be easily removed), with archival materials, to total dimensions of 24 x 23 inches. Total 9 photographs. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $5,333
(Click the smaller thumbnails to the left and right (if any) to cycle through each photo in the gallery of images for this lot.)