By Mark McConville
THE FAMOUS Murderer’s Row New York Yankees team of 1927 have hit a homerun straight into the twenty-first century thanks to a series of colourised pictures.
The striking images show inaugural Baseball Hall of Famer Babe Ruth, who hit 60 home runs in the 1927 season and Lou Gehrig who was renowned for his prowess as a hitter and his durability.
Other portrait photographs show the core of the hitters including Earle Combs, Mark Koenig, Bob Meusel and Tony Lazzeri.
The sports shots were painstakingly colourised by Danish colouriser Mads Madsen (23), from Horsens.
“I love the mysticism around baseball,” he said.
“It’s a simple enough game, but it’s been around for long enough in America’s collective history that it’s become synonymous with America. A hotdog, a beer, and a ball game, that’s a good Sunday.
“The figures in Baseball, like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, appear almost like myths, legends, when you look at the records and achievements they hold.
“As famous as Babe Ruth is on his own accord, his participation in the 1927 Yankee’s line-up was perhaps even more famous – not only that, they were dubbed ‘Murderer’s Row’.
“That in and of itself made me think I needed to bring that line-up to life, as they are widely considered to be one of the best teams in Baseball’s history.”
The term Murderer’s Row was originally coined in 1918 by a sportswriter to describe the pre-Babe Ruth Yankee line-up of 1918.
The term was initially associated with the beginning of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig Yankee teams in the mid-1920s, and is commonly recognized to refer specifically to the core of the 1927 Yankee hitting lineup.
The 1927 season was particularly spectacular by baseball standards for the Yankees. After losing in the 1926 World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals, they went 110–44 the next year, winning the A.L. pennant by 19 games and sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1927 World Series.
Mads explained why he likes to colourised old black and white images and the reaction he gets when people see his colour versions.
“We’re all humans – even though there’s hundreds of years separating us, we’re still just human beings trying to find our way in this crazy world,” he said.
“You’re seeing a view that, in some cases, is over 100 years old. Yet, time doesn’t seem to distort it. To me, it seems as clear and crisp as a photograph taken just yesterday, and you get to experience what happened all those centuries ago in a brand new way.
“The general response is a pretty simple ‘Wow!’. A lot of them are speechless at first, because it is kind of a slap in the face to see an iconic moment in colour.
“It’s something that you don’t see often since colour photography wasn’t really prominent until the 50s and 60s. It’s existed in several forms since at least 1907, but it’s not been commercially and widely available until the Vietnam era.”