The Futility Infielder

A Baseball Journal by Jay Jaffe I'm a baseball fan living in New York City. In between long tirades about the New York Yankees and the national pastime in general, I'm a graphic designer.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

 

The Bambino in Action

A note from somebody at the New York Times alerted me to this new-found footage of Babe Ruth swinging a bat and playing Yankee Stadium outfield circa 1928. The footage comes via 90-second silent 8-millimeter clip shot recently unearthed by a New Hampshire man from his grandfather’s home movie collection. It won't win any awards for clarity, but the Bambino's distinctive swing and gait are apparent, and the expert researchers at the MLB Network archive have verified it.



From the accompanying story:
Babe Ruth has struck out looking. Displeased, he leans on his bat, right hand on his hip, and looks back at the umpire. He utters something that can only be imagined. Lou Gehrig, on deck, leans on his bat, too, as if he has seen this act before. Ruth finally shuffles away, head turned to the umpire, dragging his bat through the dirt.

...The newly arrived Ruth film is part of the video collection of Major League Baseball Productions, the league’s official archivist, which spans more than 100 years and includes about 150,000 hours of moving images. Most of the collection is stored in plastic cases that line metal shelves of a room labeled “Major League Baseball Film and Video Archive.” The overflow rests in storage a few miles away, in Fort Lee, N.J.

...He is shown in right field, hands on his knees, glove on his right hand. To a casual fan, it appears unremarkable. But it represents the archive’s only game action of Ruth playing in the outfield — where he spent more than 2,200 games — other than a between-innings game of catch.

Nick Trotta, baseball’s manager of library licensing, took a look at the newly arrived Ruth clip first. He quickly realized it was something he had not seen before.

When others saw it, it was “wow, wow, wow,” Mr. Trotta said.
Wow, wow, wow indeed.

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