I have written about baseball cards on this blog from time to time, because they inspire me on occasion. But I’m not at all a believer in the idea that they have any actual monetary value. They’re fun to have, but they aren’t worth the cardboard or cardstock that they’re printed on, either.
Yesterday at an estate sale, which has been another recurring theme in this space, I came upon a metallic tin filled with old baseball cards. I didn’t even bother to go through it, knowing that whatever was in there, something of interest would be found. And was it ever.
The card itself was printed as part of a collector’s set for the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth’s birth in 1995. This would have been right on the edge of the Internet age, so I don’t know if anyone has ever commented on this card before. It wouldn’t surprise me either way, really, but it’s so unique that it does demand a few words on my part. I’m all about the unusual and the unique, after all.
I love this image of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig–teammates during the season– having some fun together in a realm entirely outside of baseball. If two big baseball stars went fishing together today, I wouldn’t care too much about that. But these are the greatest 1-2 hitters the game will ever see, and they’re hauling in fish together. That’s very cool to me,
And the color of the photograph is also something special. This has probably been colorized by somebody somewhere, because I don’t think that color film existed in 1927. But the idea that I have that life itself appeared in black and white back then is upended by this image. And I like having my assumptions–wrong though they may be–challenged like this.
Finally, I wonder who the guy lounging on the rail behind the Babe Ruth logo is. He seems like a kid or a teenager, and he must have felt like the luckiest kid on Earth to be spending time fishing with two of baseball’s legends. And he’s the only one who seems to be aware of the camera’s presence, which makes the image even more interesting to me. I think I would call this one “Baseball Immortals Catch Fish, while One Very Lucky Kid Smiles for the Camera.”
I think the tin filled with cards cost me a dollar at the estate sale. This one card alone made it worth that, from a storytelling perspective.