1919 Original Boston Red Sox Photos with Babe Ruth (13)

Sold For: $3,300

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 1609

Item Year: 1919

Category: Post-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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This outstanding collection of original photos, featuring twelve different members of the 1919 Boston Red Sox, is noteworthy not only for the fact that it includes a phenomenal image of Babe Ruth posing together with Ed Barrow and Billy Sunday, but also for its significant provenance. All of these photos originate directly from the estate of former Red Sox outfielder Amos Strunk and remain affixed to their original album pages as saved by Strunk. Of the twelve different Red Sox team members featured here (Strunk and Pennock are pictured more than once) all are pictured individually with the exception of Ruth and Barrow together. The highlight of the group is a candid image of Babe Ruth (wearing his team sweater) posing near the batting cage together with former ballplayer-turned-evangelist Billy Sunday and manager Ed Barrow. 1919 was the year in which Ruth made the full transition from pitcher to outfielder, so it seems quite apropos that he is pictured here leaning against his bat in front of the batting cage. It is also interesting to note that while Barrow is in street clothes, Sunday, who was fifty-seven years old at the time, is dressed in full uniform (no team affiliation visible). Sunday was a member of the Chicago White Stockings during the 1880s before he found religion and became one of the country's foremost evangelists. Obviously, as evidenced here, he never lost his love for the game and probably dropped by to get in a few quick swings before once again embarking on the "sawdust" trail. The remaining eleven photos feature Harry Hooper, Herb Pennock (two examples, one picturing him in a batting pose!), Carl Mays, Wally Schang, Ossie Vitt, Del Gainer, Sam Jones, Dave Shean, Martin Lawler (team trainer), and, of course, Amos Strunk (two examples), from whom this collection originates. All of the players are identified in black fountain pen, presumably in Strunk's (or Mrs. Strunk's) hand, at the base of the photo, with the exception of the Strunk photos. Each photo measures 3.75 x 6 inches with the exception of the two Strunk photos (6.5 x 8.75 inches and 6.5 x 8.5 inches, respectively) and one Pennock photo (6.5 x 8.5 inches). All of the photos picture the respective player in uniform and appear to have been taken at the club's spring-training facility. One of the Strunk photos was issued by a news service, but the others appear to be snapshot images, presumably taken either by Strunk or a member of his family. Although the photos are undated, the players featured here only played together on the Red Sox in 1919. All of the images display exceptional clarity, and aside from the fact that the photos are affixed to their original scrapbook pages, each is in Excellent to Mint condition. Total: 13 photos (front and back on four 10 x 12-inch album pages). Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open).

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