Rare Film Shows Ruth, Gehrig Barnstorming Tour

From John Branch of The New York Times on March 22:

Major League Baseball has only about an hour’s worth of Babe Ruth video in its archives, but there may be untold hours of moving images still buried in basements or stashed in attics around the country.

Perhaps nothing shows Ruth this way: in his prime and shot from close range, sitting atop a pony while wearing a child’s cowboy hat and muttering into the home movie camera, as a boyish Lou Gehrig, who never had children and was known for his dignified demeanor, held children and framed his smile with big dimples.

Amid eight reels of 16-millimeter film recently discovered in excellent condition in an Illinois cellar are three and a half minutes of Ruth and Gehrig wearing the uniforms, but not the caps, of their barnstorming teams. The film is believed to have been shot with a high-end home movie camera in or around Sioux City, Iowa, on Oct. 18, 1927 — 10 days after the Yankees completed a four-game World Series sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/23/sports/baseball/23ruth.html

Here’s the direct link to the video.

Originally published: March 22, 2011. Last Updated: March 22, 2011.