Babe Ruth and Lou Gerhig are among baseball’s most revered figures, and when the Denver Art Museum sent a notice to my mother-in-laws home about a collection of rare photos and baseball cards featuring the two going on display, she made sure that I heard about it. Thus earlier this week I found myself heading over to the museum to take a peek at forgotten photos of these two Yankees greats.
If you’ve never been to the Denver Art Museum you’ve missed out on what I think is one of the best displayed and most interesting museums in the US. It won’t overwhelm you with its size, but in terms of quality it is outstanding and this exhibit lived up exactly to that standard.
The whole exhibit, called Capturing America’s Game, consists of perhaps rare 20 photographs, a broadsheet advertising a barnstorming tour, two of Babe Ruth’s famous 60 ounce bats (one from 1925 and the other from 1931), 4 baseball cards, and a handprint of the legendary slugger’s right hand which he had done for some sort of fortunetelling analysis. Yet while the amount of material is small it provides an interesting snapshot of baseball’s legends between the years of 1915 (when the earliest photo is from – one of Ruth pitching for the Red Sox) and 1939 (a photo of Ruth embracing Gerhig on the day he made his famous speech at Yankee Stadium).
For me the highlights of the collection were a pair of photographs by Charles Martin Conlon featuring just the eyes of these two fearsome hitters with captions mentioning that Ruth’s vision was better than what we consider perfect, the four baseball cards (3 by Leaf and 1 by Gum), and Ruth’s handprint (he had fairly small hands).
The exhibit is well worth seeing as a part of any visit to the Denver Art Museum but probably isn’t worth going to see just for this exhibit despite the rare photos. It’s just too small to justify the expense unless you just need to stare into the eyes of the great Babe Ruth or Lou Gerhig.
All of the items on display are on loan from the collection of Marshall Fogel, an attorney in Denver and renowned collector of sports memorabilia and photography. The exhibit runs through September 30th, 2007.
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