Description1932 Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig Signed Large Photograph from The Christy Walsh Collection. Is the Babe whispering the real truth about his Called Shot? Is he merely pointing out a pretty young thing in the stands? Lou would never tell, but he appears quite amused by the comment, belying the contention that this historic duo spent the entirety of their Yankee partnership at odds with one another. It's an image we've never encountered before, but it immediately became one of our favorites, even dismissing the provenance and ultra-desirable inscriptions which establish it as one of the most desirable artifacts blessed by the hands of Numbers Three and Four.
The 9.5 x 11.5" photo, mounted on a cardboard backing, derives from the personal collection of Christy Walsh, who represented each pinstriped legend as professional sports' first agent. It's a safe assumption that this special partnership inspired each superstar slugger to go the extra mile when signing the image. Ruth's inscription makes reference to the occasion, noting "World Series 1932" below his 8/10 black fountain pen signature, a Fall Classic best recalled for the Babe's apocryphal Called Shot in Game Three at Chicago's Wrigley Field, quite possibly the day this photo was snapped. The Iron Horse takes a more playful turn with his notation, writing "In one ear and out the other" in lighthearted reference to Ruth's whispered secret. Again, the writing is rendered in 8/10 black fountain pen ink.
Only a dime-sized loss of photographic emulsion at Gehrig's right foot requires mention in a discussion of condition. Otherwise the photo survives splendidly, ready to inspire wonder and jealousy among all visitors to the winning bidder's trophy room. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.
The Christy Walsh Collection, Part I.
Christy Walsh was nothing if not persistent. The syndicated cartoonist and newspaper columnist had enjoyed limited success hawking a series of ghostwritten articles for World War I ace turned star race car driver Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, but was convinced that a similar Babe Ruth partnership would prove to be a gold mine. He had watched the young recruit from the Boston Red Sox pack the Polo Grounds during the 1920 season, more than doubling the 620,000 tickets sold by the Yankees in 1919. Surely such popularity would translate to the newspaper business.
His initial attempts to meet with the Babe proved fruitless, however. "Get an appointment," Ruth would shout at Walsh as he attempted to accost him in the streets of Manhattan. Undeterred, Walsh took to camping out at the Ansonia Hotel where Ruth was living. Far more pestered than intrigued, the young Yankees star took to ducking out side doors to avoid the tenacious stalker, and hotel management forced Walsh onto the sidewalk, where he remained for days, waiting. Walsh had stopped in at a delicatessen next door to the Ansonia when his big break came. It was late February, just days before the Yankees would head south for their Hot Springs training grounds.
Overhearing a telephone call ordering a case of beer to Ruth's room, Walsh convinced the deli owner to allow him to deliver it. Five minutes later he was standing in the Babe's hotel room. Before the slugger could eject him, Walsh asked what the United News had paid him for his ghostwritten articles.
"Five dollars a piece," Ruth told him.
"I can get you five hundred," Walsh insisted.
The next day Christy Walsh returned to Ruth's hotel room with the document which leads off the special "Platinum Night" auction presented on the pages that follow. It marks not only the beginning of a lifetime association between Ruth and Walsh, but also the first public offering of The Christy Walsh Collection, an extraordinary archive from the definitive sports marketing pioneer. The remarkable, symbiotic relationship between Ruth and Walsh would continue for the rest of their lives, and Walsh's roster of talent would grow to include the greatest names in American sports. We offer a peek at its fascinating contents in lots 80001 through 80003, and advise you to stay tuned to future Heritage auctions to discover more of the treasures within.
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