Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Babe Ruth Bows Out

with 4 comments


It was a gloomy dismal day in New York. June 13, 1948. The day that Babe Ruth announced his retirement to the Yankees due to illness. George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth would die two months after this photo was taken. The day was not only his last day in uniform but also the 25th anniversary of Yankee Stadium, the House that Ruth built. It was also the day that the number three, Babe Ruth’s number, was retired along with him. Thin and frail as a result of a long illness, Ruth emerged from the dugout into “the caldron of sound he must have known better than any other man” (W.C. Hines, U.S. Sun).

The field was swarming with photographers, and one Nat Fein (the N.Y. Herald Tribune) took the rear-angled composition that effectively captured the significance of the anniversary of the stadium, of the retired number and uniform and stooping figure of sick Babe Ruth. Ruth’s identity was unmistakable even without the sight of his face. Fein refused to use flash on that overcast day and used f5.6 and 1/25 shutter speed to slowly take the picture.

“His picture caught the whole essence of what Babe Ruth was… and it allows the reader to take his own imagination and experience into the story” noted Hal Buell, former head of AP Photo. The Babe Bows Out won a Pulitzer Prize for Fein, the only sports related photograph to win the Pulitzer. The magnificent photograph is featured in the Smithsonian Institute and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, besides the immortal uniform.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

June 1, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Society, Sports

Tagged with ,

4 Responses

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  1. Obviously, Babe Ruth did not actually retire on this day in 1948. He was 53 then, and had retired more than 13 years before, in May of 1935. He wasn’t even working in major league baseball in 1948, having left his last coaching position in 1943. This picture is from the 25th anniversary of Yankee Stadium ceremony. The Babe died from throat cancer.


    October 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm

  2. please identify the people in the picture
    the babe bows out

    l. f. brightwell

    August 24, 2010 at 12:15 am

  3. […] ‘Napalm girl’ running for her life in Vietnam. The fatal shooting at Kent State. Babe Ruth’s last day in uniform. […]

  4. FYI Ruth retired in 1937; this photo was taken in one of his final public appearances, but in 1948 he had been retired for years.


    November 2, 2016 at 12:54 am

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