Summer Games #34 (Bidding Ends 5/30/2012)
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This lot is closed. Bidding ended on 5/31/2012.
This historic photograph was taken at Yankee Stadium on June 13th, 1948 a special day for the Yankees and Babe Ruth - the 25th anniversary of the Stadium, “The House That Ruth Built”. Ruth, who had left the Yankees as a player 14 years earlier, was having his famous number 3 uniform retired. The black and white photo measures 9-1/2” x 7-3/4”. The moving scene shows a humbled Ruth on the third base line using a bat as a cane, his hat held at his side with his shoulders slightly stooped as he faces right field, a.k.a. “Ruthville”. Sixteen of Ruth’s Yankee teammates from the 1923 Championship Team can be seen along the first base line. The photo flawlessly captures a moment of great triumph and a tremendously sad moment as well, a man returning to the scene of his greatest successes, saying goodbye for the final time in front of the home crowd of 49,641. The photographer, Nat Fein, used a 4x5 Speed Graphic without a flash attachment because he believed what he learned from his picture-editor, Richard Crandall to be true - "natural light catches the mood of the occasion." To say Fein caught the poignant mood would be an understatement. The idol of millions whose home run hitting, personality and flair literally built Yankee Stadium and made him baseball's greatest figure, the Babe Ruth here was a very sick man who had barely two months to live. On the morning of June 14, the photograph first appeared on the front page of the sports section of the New York Herald Tribune 1st Edition. After seeing it, the Editor-in-Chief moved it to the front page of the paper for subsequent editions. The photo appeared in papers around the country after the Associated Press picked it up and the rest, as they say, is history. Fein won a Pulitzer Prize for “The Babe Bows Out”, the first sports photo to receive the prestigious award. Since then, it has become one of baseball's most famous and widely circulated photographs. It now hangs in both the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Only eight vintage prints are known to exist. This is the original print used by the newspaper for the June 14, 1948 issue, the first print from Nat Fein’s 4” x 5” negative. The print itself features masking tape and crop marks, designating a 8-5/8” x 4-3/4” portion of the photo that was to be used for the front page of the New York Herald Tribune on June, 14, 1948. The photo shows impeccable contrast and amazing clarity. The verso of the photo features Nat Fein’s signature in pencil dated “10-12-92” below. Fein’s name is also written in blue ink, circled with “file” above. As it was customary, rubber stamps were applied to the back of prints upon requests for copies by other newspapers across the country. One stamp reads, “HERALD TRIBUNE-FEIN”, another reads “Must Return - Herald Tribune Picture File”. “530” is written in blue grease pencil, crossed out in purple and below that is “354” written in the same purple grease pencil. “Sports” is written in pencil in the upper right corner along with the photo’s specifications. There is a 5” diagonal crease with some cracking in the lower right corner of the photo and a small 1” diagonal crease in the lower left region, no pinholes are present. “25/8” is written on the bottom piece of masking tape, crop marks and arrows have been drawn on the tape, all in red ink. The 64-year old photo is in VG condition and it is accompanied by a LOA from the Hudson Center for Photography that states that, “This 8 x 10 print is the first print done in 1948 of the Pulitzer Prize Babe Ruth photograph. The LOA has been signed and dated “9-29-92” by the Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Nat Fein and the signature is accompanied by a LOA from JSA.

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