The 1915 Boston Red Sox finished the season with five pitchers winning 15 games or more. Left-hander Babe Ruth, at 20 years of age, was the youngest of the five, followed by 23-year-old lefty Dutch Leonard. It was Leonard's stellar 1914 season, when he posted an ERA of just 0.96 in 224 innings pitched, that cemented his early reputation as a star, and headed into the spring of 1916, Sporting Life magazine intended for him to be the subject of their March 4 cover. The image they chose, however, featured a different lefty: Leonard's teammate, Babe Ruth.
The result was an inauspicious magazine cover debut for the young man that would become one of the most recognized faces in American history. His first magazine cover, a beautiful action pose of the young Babe, identified as "Hubert Leonard of the Boston A.L club."
This is an extremely desirable piece, seldom seen intact, a recent example fetching upwards of five figures in a 2021 sale. This 11" x 14" example presents extremely well, its pages intact but with signs of wear, particularly at the edges and corners. Some very light wrinkling and tiny edge tears are evident. As is the case with any century-old newsprint, the paper has yellowed somewhat, and is quite dry and brittle. Its fragile nature notwithstanding, any item depicting Ruth as a Red Sox pitcher is extremely desirable. An outstanding, scarce early Ruth collectible.