Babe Ruth - Signed Portrait

This portrait of Babe Ruth (1895–1948) was one of a series of eight taken of the famous baseball player (born George Herman Ruth, Jr.) by the photographic firm Irwin, LaBroad, & Pudlin on July 23, 1920.

The image experienced a resurgence in popularity when it was displayed during the exhibition "One Life: Babe Ruth" at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., from June 2016 to May 2017. The photo is signed/autographed: Yours Truly, "Babe" Ruth.

The exhibition card from National Portrait Gallery read: In late December 1919, Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Ruth to the New York Yankees for the reported sum of $125,000. The circumstances of the sale remain sketchy, but allegedly Frazee needed money to finance his passion for producing Broadway plays. Ruth had helped the Red Sox win three World Series, and the Yankees were betting on him to do the same. He did not disappoint Yankees fans for the next fifteen seasons.

This rare studio photograph of Ruth in pinstripes was made shortly after the Yankees acquired him. The quotation marks around “Babe” indicate that he was still growing into his nickname. Although his signature appears as a facsimile, it was indeed his. He took great pride in his handwriting when signing everything from team contracts to baseballs, of which he autographed thousands. Ruth was naturally left-handed, but he wrote right-handed, no doubt the influence of the Xaverian brothers at St. Mary’s Industrial School.

Photographer: Irwin, LaBroad, & Pudlin
Date: July 23, 1920
Location: New York
Print: Black & White
Image enhanced by Rebel Seed Studio