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Lot # 231: Babe Ruth Ice Fishing Photograph

Starting Bid: $50.00

Bids: 13 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "2024 Winter Pop-Up",
which ran from 1/14/2024 7:00 PM to
1/28/2024 10:00 PM

Presented is a Brown Brothers early-to-mid-1920s black and white photograph, taken by famed sports photographer Charles Conlon, of Babe Ruth ice fishing on his farm in Sudbury, Massachusetts. The unusual photo has a unique charm, as the Babe is not depicted as he usually is photographed - either in baseball togs or in an expensive suit. Instead, the Sultan of Swat is shown with his pants rolled up, almost as knickers, to accommodate his boots, and he is wearing a warm winter hat, a fur chapeau that looks like something that would keep an ice fisherman warm on a frigid night outside of Moscow. As usual, the extroverted Ruth, with his friendly manner and natural flair, is a photographer's dream as his warm charisma translates to the photo and almost melts the ice by itself. The photo, measuring 6.5x8", depicts Ruth ice fishing, most likely on Sudbury's Willis Pond. While with the Boston Red Sox, Ruth and his wife Helen rented a small cabin on Willis Pond in the winter of 1917-18. Later, while with the New York Yankees, Ruth purchased a large estate and farm on Dutton Road in Sudbury, near Willis Pond. His marriage to Helen was faltering in 1922, but Babe, Helen, and the Babe's adopted daughter lived during the winter of 1922-23 at the farm, named "Home Plate Farm" by the Bambino. Helen lived there during several ensuing winters, but Babe only visited occasionally, spending more of his off-season time in New York City and other environs. Ruth was said to enjoy socializing with the young people of Sudbury, then a small, rural area of about 1,000 persons, 25 miles west of Boston. Ralph Sheridan, in an interview given in later years when he was 96 years old, recounted that when he was a boy, he and his friends would horseplay with Ruth after a snowfall on Ruth's farm, and then Ruth and Helen would sometimes invite Ralph and his friends into the rented cabin for hot chocolate and cookies, and as they left, Ruth would say, "Come on back and bring the gang." There is also a long-time story that Ruth and friends once dragged a piano down to Willis Pond, and Helen played it on the ice, and the piano was left there, to ultimately sink into the pond when the ice melted. In any event, Ruth seems to have enjoyed his time in Sudbury, both at his rented cabin and on his own farm. Perhaps in the offered photo, he is ice fishing for perch, pike, or piano. On the back of the photo are three stamped versions of "Brown Brothers Photographers" - two of the Brown Brothers' stampings show the company with a New York City address, and one version shows a Sterling, PA address. Also, written on the back in pencil, by an unknown hand, is "Babe Ruth fishing through the ice on his farm at Sudbury, Mass." The photo is in excellent condition, and we guarantee that the offering will grade as a Type I original photo.

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