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This is one of eleven 1915 Underwood & Underwood Boston Red Sox Original Glass Plate Negative Portraits being offered in this auction. Click Here to read more about this very special collection.
Among the small number of existing action images of Babe as a pitcher, this is arguably the finest of them all. Boston's ace southpaw stares intently at his target while completing the follow-through of his graceful delivery. The photo's design composition is flawless, with Ruth perfectly centered, sharply focused and elegantly posed. Adding to the splendor is the meaningful setting of the Polo Grounds—hence, the home ballpark of Ruth's future franchise...before the House That He Built.
Only the best photographers learn to master the art of contrasting a crystal-clear foreground against a softly muted background, as is so expertly achieved here. Thus, Babe's boyish visage and lithe physique rightfully take center stage, while his teammates nicely round out the scene, and while the stadium's architecture and advertising provide charming vintage ornamentation without distracting the viewer's eye. Another intriguing foreground element is the mud-caked field at Ruth's feet, where every clod and pebble is visible.
Gazing upon the mesmerizing tableau, one can't help but wonder what might have been if the Big Bam had never left the mound. After all, if he could win a combined 47 games in his two truly full seasons (1916-17), plus another 18 in the better part of a campaign (1915), and another 21 over two partial years (1918-19), then Ruth surely would've ranked in the upper echelons of the 300 Win Club with a whole career on the hill. And then there was his impeccable World Series legacy: 3-0 record, 1.000 win-loss %, infinitesimal 0.87 ERA, 2 complete games, 1 shutout and 8 strikeouts. Heck, even at the age of 35 and then 38, the Babe still had good enough stuff to hurl a pair of complete-game victories for the Yankees!
This one-of-a-kind negative exhibits a Near Mint central image area with negligible peripheral wear and a corner chip.
Historically Significant 1915 Babe Ruth (Pitching) Rookie Season Underwood & Underwood Original Glass Plate Negative
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