Like the physical demise of his fabled teammate less than one decade earlier, Babe Ruth’s ailment and subsequent passing came quickly. While he hadn’t lost his lust for life, carousing and the spotlight, his health rapidly declined, making those things impossible. Still, while he was unable to enjoy his usual activities, he never begrudged an autograph request. The offered example is among Ruth’s last scriptings, not to mention one of his most potent. Executed in blue-ink fountain pen on a vintage 3-1/2 x 5-1/2” black-and-white photograph, Ruth’s signature trumpets “perfect 10” strength and clarity. A vintage decal adhered to the reverse is dated “March 1948.” Full photo LOA from JSA. More on our website.
The likeness was captured during Ruth’s playing career at a New York Yankees’ spring training site. As mentioned in our catalog description, a decal on the reverse is dated “March 1948.” It reads (in full): “BABE RUTH – the one and only – Sent from Miami Beach Florida – March 1948.”
The magnificent signature is consistent with the typewritten date, as Ruth stopped using quotation marks around “Babe” sometime around 1928. As for the Florida origin of the signed photo, Ruth visited there often after his playing career and even during his battle with cancer. Having had a malignant tumor removed from the left side of his neck, Ruth recovered in New York’s French Hospital for three months (and lost 80 pounds), before being discharged in February 1947. From there, he went to Florida to relax in the warm weather, reportedly making several return trips during his illness and remission. While we are unable to pinpoint a specific date and location, elements are consistent with Ruth’s final months. The autograph (like its author) is nothing short of spectacular!