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1918 Babe Ruth "Hand Study" Original News Photo - PSA/DNA Type 1
Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $2,133.00
Original news photo capturing Babe Ruth's batting grip in 1918. This is a remarkable and extremely historically significant Babe Ruth photo as it documents his extraordinary transition from one of baseball's greatest pitchers to the game's greatest slugger. This photo bears a date stamp on the reverse of "Jun 7 1918." That date is all the more important when one realizes that is wasn't until May 6th of that year that Ruth first appeared in a game as anything other than pitcher or pinch hitter. Fittingly, the game took place at the Polo Grounds in New York against the Yankees and Ruth, starting at first base, hit a home run in the contest. Ruth's power quickly became the talk of the league and obviously occasioned this photo, so that fans could get a look at the hands and grip of baseball's newest slugging sensation. Ruth appeared in a total of ninety-five games in 1918, twenty as a pitcher and seventy-five as a position player. In just 317 at bats he hit a league-leading 11 home runs. While that total might seem unimpressive today, it was extraordinary for the time. To put that number in proper perspective it should be noted that Ruth's eleven home runs were more than the team totals for four other American League clubs. Although Ruth would be the subject of additional photographic studies of his hands and grip over the years (all of which are extremely desirable to collectors), this is certainly the earliest-known example and one that we have never seen before. The fact that it dates just one month after his transition from pitcher to everyday player makes it all the more exceptional. In addition to the date stamp, a "Reference Dept. - N. E. A." stamp also appears on the reverse, as do a number of handwritten editorial notations, including "Babe Ruth/Boston Red Sox." (N. E. A. stands for Newspaper Enterprise Association, which was one of the nation's first news syndicates.) This is one of a small selection of extraordinary Type I photos from the Acme Newspictures photo archive consigned to this auction. Valuing original photos (especially extreme rarities that are unique or nearly unique) is naturally subjective, but these never-before-offered photographs really are "the best of the best." All are offered with nominal reserves and the auction process (as always at REA) will determine the proper value level. The photo (10.5 x 7 inches) displays a heavy diagonal crease in the upper right corner, as well as a few additional moderate creases (mainly along the border areas). In Very Good condition overall. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,500++. SOLD FOR $2,133.00
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