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Rare video of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Walter Johnson uncovered

Mar 26, 2014, 6:57 AM EDT

Ruth Called Shot Baseball

Some previously unseen footage of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig — and even a snippet of Walter Johnson — has been unearthed by Hall of Fame curator Tom Shieber, who located the footage a University of South Carolina archive. Shieber’s personal blog post explains, using Retrosheet, how he figured out which game the footage was taken from and has the video in its entirety. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times has a story about it and a large version of a small part of the video.

Shieber explains how, using Retrosheet, he figured out the game was June 1, 1925. That day Ruth played his first game of the season, returning from his famous “Bellyache heard ’round the world,” and the Yankees faced Walter Johnson and the Senators. Ruth’s sixth inning at bat, grounding out against Johnson, is seen in the video. Gehrig is only a background figure. The day of the video he pinch hit, marking the first game of his record-setting consecutive games streak. The next day is the day he would fill in for Wally Pipp as a starter and not relinquish first base until 1939.

Just fantastic that something like this has been unearthed.

  1. renaado - Mar 26, 2014 at 7:17 AM

    I Really Really love Baseball’s History :-).

  2. paperlions - Mar 26, 2014 at 7:21 AM

    Wait a second, I thought traditional baseball meant that you run out a ground ball.

    • Rich Stowe - Mar 26, 2014 at 7:24 AM

      unless your name is George Herman Freaking Ruth

      • renaado - Mar 26, 2014 at 7:26 AM

        LoL! Why does Babe have to run when he keeps hittin homeruns? XD

    • renaado - Mar 26, 2014 at 7:24 AM

      So, What you mean is It’s not traditional baseball if they don’t?

    • dillongeeescapeplan - Mar 26, 2014 at 8:19 AM

      Better bench them in favor of David Eckstein.

      • aceshigh11 - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:41 AM

        Ruth lacked grit.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 26, 2014 at 3:46 PM

      If only he’d played the game the right way, he might have had some success.

  3. nymets4ever - Mar 26, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    Don’t click it’s a RickRoll

    • historiophiliac - Mar 26, 2014 at 8:39 AM

      Oooh, I love Rick Astley.

  4. willclarkgameface - Mar 26, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    I think it’s more fascinating that Robinson Cano, after all these years of being told he doesn’t hustle down the line, was just following the lead of his former franchise’s most important player. Maybe he had this video all along.

    • Rich Stowe - Mar 26, 2014 at 8:50 AM

      Ruth was just returning from the bellyache heard round the world so maybe they didn’t mind him not running out a ground ball so he didn’t hurt himself further?

      it’s one thing not to run out a ground ball if you’re injured, it’s another if you’re just “lazy” or simply never hustle

  5. jcmeyer10 - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    Quick get Ken Burns on the phone! I need a third inning stretch or however he would fit it within Baseball.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      Please, God, no. We’ll all sleep through it.

      • spudchukar - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:52 AM

        What? I try and watch it late winter every year. Never ceases to fascinate me. Have you seen his most recent stuff? About the depression in Oklahoma? or The New York Five?

      • historiophiliac - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:21 AM

        Yes, I watched the Great Snooze. Only Burns could take one of the most ominous natural disasters this country has ever seen and make it plodding. The glacial pace (and the narration) completely undid the tension. The only good parts of that were the interviews and pictures (which were not his part). His schtick gets old.

      • spudchukar - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:28 AM

        To each their own. His style remains convincing for me. I must admit I don’t take in documentaries for their titillating drama. Pretty sure he has a so say in the interviews/picture productions. Perhaps I am just easily entertained.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:31 AM

        Oh, yes, I watch documentaries because I loooove how flashy and exciting they are….not at all because I like to learn. /eye roll

      • spudchukar - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:41 AM

        Hey you were the one complaining about the tension destroying aspects of Burns’ films, not me.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:42 AM


      • spudchukar - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:00 PM


      • jcmeyer10 - Mar 26, 2014 at 2:29 PM

        Spud, me too. I sat down with a fine glass of whisky (yes whisky) and take in the great past time. It never ceases to amaze me.

  6. edwar288 - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    He didn’t run hard to first base on his ground out. He’ll never be a star.

  7. yahmule - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    I like how his whole body is dragged along by the the momentum of swinging that 46 ounce log.

    And, of course, there’s this:

  8. yahmule - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    It’s good to be the Babe.

  9. moogro - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    I love how Gehrig is glued to his cell phone in the dugout during the game. You don’t see players doing that these days.

  10. dacty4491 - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    The thing that struck me was how far the catcher and umpire were from home plate. Was that characteristic of the time?

    • spudchukar - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      And it used to be even further. Rules insisted the ball had to hit the ground once before the catcher could snag it. Umpires where stationed behind the pitcher. You can see it again, on the famous steal of home by Jackie Robinson, that Yogi Berra insists he was out. But with better equipment catchers are much closer now.

      • padraighansen - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:46 AM

        I was noticing that as well….both the distance between the plate and the catcher, but also the catcher and the umpire. Spud, I’m aware that Umpires used to be behind the pitcher…but I cannot remember when that changed.

        Here’s a question, though, that I can’t find an answer to: The catcher is pulling a Tom Berenger-in-Major-League-Crouch….when did catchers move to a full squat? And…did it have something to do with the strike zone shrinking a bit?

      • spudchukar - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:51 AM

        Odd that you should mention that, cause I almost included it in my comment. I don’t know the answer for sure, but I know Yogi, didn’t squat like you mention, and it is again that Robinson steal of home that confirms it.

        My guess is it evolved sometime around the fifties/sixties, but don’t know for sure. But it is an improvement.

      • spudchukar - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        Sorry failed to address question #2. Never really considered it, but it would follow. The closer the more exact, makes sense to me. I prefer the smaller strike zone, but don’t appreciate umps who squeeze pitchers. And no Baseball game has ever been too long for me. Some Auction Fantasy Drafts, yes, games no.

  11. shawndc04 - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    In this game the Yankees dugout is on the third base side. Does anyone know when they switched to the first base side?

  12. temporarilyexiled - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    Didn’t get cheated on any of his swings. : )

  13. bigjimatch - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    “Who is Babe Ruth?” asks Yankee fans everywhere under under 35.

  14. zdravit - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    Look at his terrible hitting mechanics.

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