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Old Footage of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig Taking Batting Practice is Alarmingly Unimpressive

The Big Lead logo The Big Lead 1/15/2019 Kyle Koster
a group of people standing in a room: Getty © Getty Getty

First things first. This 1931 video of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig taking batting practice before a game in Brooklyn is extremely cool. It's an extensive look at the swings of two all-time greats, an unexpected peek at baseball four score and eight years ago.

That said, this footage is slightly troubling in the sense that Ruth and Gehrig in no way look like a modern ballplayer.

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Ruth is off-balance, falling into his swing. Gehrig routinely lifts his back foot off the ground. Again, it's batting practice so the competitive juices weren't flowing. But even by that standard, the whole exercise looks sloppy and inefficient.

The pitcher struggles to throw strikes, the pace is reminiscent of a disinterested JV team, and the only person bringing the heat is the verbose infield coach who belongs in a Conan O'Brien sketch.

Life moved a little slower in 1931.

Again, anyone who likes baseball should check out the clip. But set those expectations low. Starting to think Adam Ottavino was on to something with his time-traveling claim.


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