1939 Original Lou Gehrig Wire Photo - The Streak Ends!

Sold For: $840

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 1688

Item Year: 1939

Category: Post-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Original wire photo capturing Lou Gehrig sitting on the steps of the dugout at Briggs Stadium in Detroit on May 2, 1939, after taking himself out of the lineup and ending his then-record streak of playing in 2,130 consecutive games. This is one of the most heart rendering images in baseball history, because unbeknownst to Gehrig at the time, he was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a fatal neurological disease that would take his life just two years later. This particular image is an early wire photo in that it was transmitted by phone and printed at a remote location, as opposed to being developed in the newspaper's art department from the original negative. Although technically not an original news photo, this is perhaps the finest example of this famous image because of the few others we have seen, all are tightly cropped and picture just Gehrig. This image captures not only a large portion of the fields and grandstand, but this teammates warming up prior to the game, which makes it all the more poignant. Accompanied by an original newspaper clipping (4 x 6.75 inches), dated "May 3-1939," that features this very image of Gehrig in the dugout. The caption to the newspaper photo reads "Lou Gehrig, the man who survived the lumps and strain of 2,130 consecutive major league games, watches from the Yankee dugout just after he asked to be benched yesterday because of his poor playing. Judging by Lou's forlorn expression it was a difficult decision to make. (Associated Press Wirephoto)." Two separate "1939 May 2" date stamps appear on the reverse, as do a number of handwritten editorial notations. The photo (9.75 x 8 inches) displays a tiny chip in the lower right and upper left corners, a few tiny edge tears, and a single tack hole along both the top and bottom borders. It also appears to display a slight trim along the right border. A few light surface wrinkles are also evident. In Very Good to Excellent condition overall. Reserve $500. Estimate (open).

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