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    Massive 1926 World Series Panoramic Photograph (Type 1) Dating from Babe Ruth's Greatest Game! This absolutely massive piece, in terms of physical dimensions, importance and desirability, was unbelievably found ten years ago at a St. Louis area yard sale, where the lucky consignor purchased it for a song. While this leaves the exact trail of provenance a mystery, we can be almost certain that its original home was a wall of the clubhouse at Sportsman's Park, where this image was captured during the bottom of the third inning of Game Four of the World Series, October 6, 1926. The image's quality and its simply tremendous size--over nine inches high and fifty-six inches wide! (not including the frame)--certainly leaves no doubt that the piece was produced for a serious and powerful V.I.P. The original frame carries the final dimension to 14x61", over five feet in width! Considering that the average panoramic photograph of the day measures three feet wide, we begin to understand just how rare and special this piece is.

    But again, the majesty of this one of a kind artifact extends well beyond its tremendous breadth. Clearly it was a stroke of luck that the photographer working the complicated panoramic camera happened to be stationed in the right field stands this day, as he couldn't possibly have known it would prove to be one of the game's most historic. As we look out past the expanse of outfield grass, beyond where the Babe stands positioned twenty yards from the left field foul line, we come upon the stadium scoreboard. It lists a run for each team in the first inning, none in the second, and another run for the Yanks in the third. This also happens to be the sole World Series game in which Ruth took left field duties, a fact verifiable at the noted baseball reference site The stats will confirm that this could have only been that famous game in which the Babe clubbed three home runs, establishing a record that has been equaled but never beaten. Known to baseball historians as "The Johnny Sylvester Game," it is named for the bedridden young boy to which the Babe made a promise to hit a home run in Wednesday's game. The heartwarming tale figures prominently in Hollywood films "The Pride of the Yankees" and "The Babe," both of which find the eleven-year old baseball fan miraculously healed by the Babe's performance in this game. The two runs posted on the scoreboard for the Yankees at the point this photograph was taken each represent Ruth homers; the third would come in the sixth inning.

    Babe Ruth, clearly recognizable in the outfield grass, is not the only Hall of Famer present in this image, not by a long shot. Holding Billy Southworth close to the bag on first is Lou Gehrig. Tony Lazzeri plays deep at second. Earle Combs stands at far right of the image, deep in center field. On the mound, in the blur of his delivery, is Waite Hoyt. The only right handed batter for the Cardinals to appear at the plate with a man on first, as is the case here, is Rogers Hornsby, who would strike out in this at bat. Even the man behind the plate, as listed on the outfield scoreboard, is Hall of Fame ump Bill Klem. We then take a wider view of the scene to note image quality so clear and distinct that each of the thousands of fans jamming the grandstands, dressed in coats and hats, is individually discernible. Standing on top of the upper stands' roof are a number of photographers silhouetted against the pale sky. The detail is simply phenomenal, and no catalog description or greatly minimized photograph could possibly convey this.

    The photograph has remained protected behind the glass of its original frame since the time of its creation, and the catalog images should capture the several vertical bands of light grey toning that are only particularly visible against the white of the sky, and as such do very little to detract. The toning was likely caused by humidity which has caused parts of the photo to become ever so slightly wavy, though this is only noticeable when viewed at a rather steep angle, essentially invisible when viewed from directly in front. At far left, there is an inch wide area that has lightened a couple shades from apparent exposure to light. And at upper right, a three-inch crack in the glass encounters only empty sky as well. None of these considerations interfere with the tremendous visual appeal of the piece in any noteworthy fashion. It still presents far, far better than most panoramic photographs of the day, which are almost invariably plagued by deep creases, tearing or other such unwelcome visitors. And the few considerations of condition that are present here must be excused when viewed in light of the tremendous importance and quality of the photo. At bottom right is found the photographer's mark, reading "C[opyright] 1926, A.H. Sanders." The original oak frame also shows just moderate wear which only adds to the vintage patina.

    This never-before-seen image, allowing the viewer to take a seat in the right field stands of Sportsman's Park for one of the most famous games in World Series history, must be seen in person to be truly appreciated. Who will be the lucky winning bidder that gets to go see Ruth and Gehrig play in the World Series any day he chooses?

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    21st-22nd Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,149

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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