The 1949 Pulitzer Prize-winning photo “Babe Ruth Bows Out” shows Babe Ruth during his final public appearance at a ceremony at Yankee Stadium to retire his number, photographed by Nat Fein.
It is the photo that should be remembered as the day one of the greatest legends of sports said his farewell to the game nicknamed “America’s Pastime.” Although not a particularly accurate observation, it is the most fitting and lasting memory of the man known as Babe Ruth. The unfortunate reality is that this 1949 Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph was taken a full 13 years after George Herman Ruth, universally known by the alias of “Babe”, bowed out of baseball after a brief and unceremonious stint with the Boston Red Sox.
The iconic image of a frail legend was nonetheless more than suitable to capture the greatness that he deserved. It was on that day, the Yankees Silver Anniversary of Yankees Stadium that Nat Fein of the New York Herald Tribune visually bookended Babe Ruth’s historic career.
Fittingly on that day, Babe Ruth, wearing his pinstripes proudly, received the reception he had earned in the home he earned it. It was after all aptly named, “The House that Ruth Built.”