Nat Fein Signed Photograph - The Babe Bows Out - Pulitzer Prize Winning Photograph

Sold For: $1,185

Auction Year: 2012 spring

Lot: 1128

Item Year: 2000

Category: Post-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Large-format 12.5 x 10-inch photo of The Babe Bows Out photo taken by noted photographer Nat Fein (1914-2000). The haunting image, capturing Babe Ruth during his final appearance at Yankee Stadium on June 13, 1948, has been inscribed by Fein in black marker ("10") in the lower right corner: "To my friend Reb Orrell III/+ Jean Nat Fein 6-21-00. This extraordinary print from the original negative was given to our consignor (Reb Orrell) as a gift from Fein. Orrell's father and Fein were good friends and the history of their relationship, as well as how our consignor came to receive this photo from Fein, are detailed on Orrell's blog ( Without spoiling the story, we will state that Fein, in addition to being a talented photographer, was also extremely generous. Included with the photo is a short handwritten note from Fein that accompanied the signed photo when it was sent to our consignor (one should read the blog entry first to fully understand some of Fein's references). This image earned photographer Nat Fein the Pulitzer Prize for photography and is perhaps the single most famous sports photograph of all time. Today, it remains the most enduring image of Ruth ever taken, and is featured in both the Baseball Hall of Fame and at the Smithsonian Institute. This photo was taken on June 13, 1948, when the Yankees commemorated the 25th anniversary of Yankee Stadium by inviting all the members of the 1923 team to join them in the celebration. In conjunction with that ceremony, the team also chose to honor Babe Ruth by retiring his number. Ruth was gravely ill with the cancer at the time (he died just two months later); however, he was determined not to let the fans down. In this photograph he is captured for the last time in a New York Yankees uniform. Out of all the photographers present on that memorable day, one man captured the essence of the event in a single image: Nat Fein of the New York Herald Tribune . Fein knelt behind Ruth, aimed his Speed Graphic camera, and captured a priceless moment in American sports history. Babe Ruth Bows Out ran on the front page the next day and later became the first sports photograph to earn a Pulitzer Prize. Fein was asked why he broke a fundamental rule of photography and took the shot without showing Ruth's face. "The retiring of No. 3 was the story. You didn't need to see the Babe's face to recognize him. You'd recognize his great hulk and spindly legs anyplace. No one else had that particular angle, so it was a little something different." Original prints of this famous photo personally created and signed by Fein are extremely desirable and ideal for display. Near Mint condition with flawless contrast. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $1,185

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