Circa 1953 Lou Gehrig "1st Home Run" Marker at Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium Photograph....Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
DescriptionCirca 1953 Lou Gehrig "1st Home Run" Marker at Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium Photograph. Baseball has been played in the Philippines ever since 1898, when U.S. sailors and Marines first square off against each other on a diamond. In 1902, the Manila Baseball League was born and the Reach All-Americans were the first professional players to visit the country in 1908-09.
As the last stop on 1934 Tour of Japan and the Far East, the U.S. team arrived in Manilla at 5:30 am on December 9th from Honk Kong. Their first game would be played just three hours later at Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium. Shortly after their second and final game in the afternoon of the following day, Gehrig and his wife left for Europe while Ruth and his wife stayed on in Manila for a few days before heading to Indonesia to begin an around-the-world voyage.
As the players were exiting Manilla, workers on ladders painted six large white baseballs on the outfield walls at Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium. Next to each ball was painted a player's name and a date - Babe Ruth, December 9, 1934; Charlie Gehringer, December 9, 1934; Lou Gehrig, December 9, 1934; Lou Gehrig, December 10, 1934; and Earl Averill, December 10, 1934, twice. It would be the start of a tradition to paint a ball marking the location of every home run hit out of the stadium.
The photograph offered here pictures Gehrig's December 9th marker, for the first home run ever hit at the stadium, which was taken after the 1953 renovation to repair damage sustained during World War II. Ron Campisi, who worked as a management assistant for the Yankees from 1969-74, obtained the photograph (measures 3.5x4.5" and mounted inside a 5.75x7.75" display folder) as a gift from Masanori Ochi, an Nippon Network announcer for the Tokyo Giants. Letter of provenance from Ron Campisi.
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