Babe Ruth Retires No. 3
1949 Pulitzer Prize, Photography, Nathaniel Fein, New York Herald Tribune.
Yankee Stadium, June 13, 1948. The stands are packed. But the fans aren't here just for a baseball game. They've come out to honor one of the greats, baseballs most beloved player: Babe Ruth.
Down on the field. New York Herald Tribune photographer Nat Fein has a close-up view of the home run hero, slumped in the dugout, weakened by illness. "He looked tired, very tired; the power that had been his in his youth and manhood was slowly ebbing away." But as Ruth slowly makes his way onto the field, the crowd goes wild. They give "The Sultan of Swat" a thunderous standing ovation.
Fein takes several pictures, but he isn't satisfied. So he walks around to the other side. "I saw Ruth standing there with his uniform, No. 3, the number that would be retired, and knew that
was the shot. It was a dull day, and most photographers were using flash bulbs, but I slowed the shutter and took the picture without a flash."
The thick shock of hair, the famous number, the cheering fans — Fein's photograph tells the whole story of the Babes bitter-sweet finale. Babe passed away just two months after the photo was taken.