A Dying Babe Ruth In Memorial Hospital July 29, 1948
New York – Babe’s Most Recent Picture – This picture, taken at Memorial Hospital here July 29, is believed to be the last picture of the baseball idol. It was made just before the Babe’s most recent relapse. With him is Steve Broidy of Allied Artists movie studio, who is presenting Ruth with a check for the Ruth Foundation for underprivileged children. The homerun king’s condition today was critical. photo – AP, August 11, 1948
On June 13, 1948 just six weeks prior to the above photograph being taken, Ruth made his final appearance at Yankee Stadium and put on his old uniform for the last time as his number three was retired by the Yankees. After the ceremony the uniform would be shipped off to Cooperstown to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The day was hailed as Silver Anniversary Day at Yankee Stadium officially marking the 25th anniversary of “The House That Ruth Built.” Sixteen members of the 1923 Yankees came to the ceremony and even participated in a two inning old-timers game against a team of Yankee all-stars from other years. But everyone was there to see the man himself, Babe Ruth.
Friends and old teammates lined up and approached Babe before the ceremony and he obligingly signed autographs for everyone. After others had spoken, Ruth emerged from the dugout to a huge ovation and made a short speech in a raspy voice telling the crowd how happy he was to be present, how proud he was to be the first man to have hit a home run at Yankee Stadium and how glad he was to be with his old friends again.
Returning to the story of our original photograph, the last one of Babe Ruth, the emaciated Babe was probably happy to receive a check for the film The Babe Ruth Story, based on his life . But he could not have been pleased with the film which starred William Bendix. The movie had just opened July 26 and the entire proceeds from the premiere at The Astor Theatre went to Babe’s foundation.
Bendix is woefully miscast and the script is horrible. The film is so bad that it is laughable at even the most tender moments. It is best comparable to an Ed Wood movie in its absurdness. One over the top ridiculous scene, portrays Ruth hitting a stray dog on the field with a batted ball. Ruth rushes over to the dog and leaves the ballpark to personally rush the dog, not to a veterinary hospital, but a human hospital to save the dog’s life! Babe then gets suspended for missing the game. None of this of course ever happened in reality.
On August 16, 1948 the world mourned when it was announced Babe Ruth had succumbed to throat cancer at the age of 53. His funeral lasted two days as fans lined up to pay their respects to the Sultan of Swat as he lay in state at Yankee Stadium. And yes, there are photographs of Ruth in his casket, but the one of Ruth with Broidy is the last known published photograph showing the Babe alive.