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Lot # 6: 1915 Babe Ruth Rookie and Boston Red Sox Original Team Photograph from The Dick Hoblitzell Collection (PSA Type I)

Starting Bid: $5,000.00

Bids: 49 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "2024 Summer Classic",
which ran from 6/9/2024 12:00 PM to
6/29/2024 10:00 PM

Rare original Type I photograph capturing Babe Ruth during his 1915 rookie season with the Boston Red Sox. This is not just a Ruth rookie photo, but one of the earliest images of Ruth as a member of the Boston Red Sox because it was taken prior to the start of the regular season at the Red Sox's 1915 spring training facility in Hot Springs, Arkansas. We know this because a smaller snapshot photo of this very image appeared in a 1915 spring training photo album belonging to Red Sox team owner Joseph Lanin (the album was sold at auction many years ago). Like that smaller photo in the Lanin album, the offered photo also comes with impeccable provenance. This photo once belonged to Ruth's 1915 Red Sox teammate Dick Hoblitzell and has been consigned to this auction directly by a Hoblitzell family member. 

The photo captures Ruth posing on the field with ten of his teammates, all of whom are identified on the reverse by a vintage pencil notation, below which is written the year, 1915. The players pictured here, left to right, are Guy Cooper, Vean Gregg, Dutch Leonard, Carl Mays, Babe Ruth, Rube Foster, Joe Wood, Ernie Shore, Ray Collins, Ralph Comstock, and Everett Scott. The credit stamp of Boston photographer G. T. Murphy also appears on the reverse. (Murphy's credit stamp can be found on a few other 1915 Boston Red Sox spring training photos we have seen over the years.) 

It must be noted there are very few, if any, images of Ruth as a member of the Boston Red Sox that predate the offered photo. Ruth was signed by the Red Sox on July 9, 1914, but he appeared in only four games with the club before being sent down to the minors on August 5th for the remainder of the season. To the best of our knowledge, no photos of Ruth as a member of the Boston Red Sox in 1914 have ever surfaced. Therefore, the photos taken of Ruth during spring training in 1915 are the earliest images we have of him with the Red Sox. Ruth was twenty years old at the time of this photo, and it may be surprising to some to see how thin he was during his early days. Ruth was a starting member of the club's vaunted pitching staff in 1915 and he finished his rookie campaign with a record of 18-8 and a 2.44 ERA. And, in what would be a foreshadowing of things to come, he led the team in home runs with four, despite having only 103 plate appearances. 

The photo (8.5x6.5") displays a tiny chip in the upper right corner, a few small, light creases in both the bottom left and upper right corners, a tiny red mark near the lower right, and a few stray pencil marks along the right border. The central image area picturing the players is free of any significant flaws and has an overall Excellent to Mint appearance. Encapsulated as Type I Authentic by PSA.

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