Deeper Into Jeopardy! VII: Photography – $400

Arthur Chu continued his dominant play through this week, winning his ninth game on Friday, although he had probably the fiercest competition he’s had so far in buzzer-quick Semret Lemma, who managed to keep the game from being a lock for the first time since regularly play resumed after the College Tournament. Semret kept the game close well into Double Jeopardy! but a gutsy (and smart!) wager by Arthur set him up for a healthy, but not dominating, lead. Best of luck to him and his would-be ousters this week, as we take a look at Friday, February 28th’s sports-history-technology-science Double Jeopardy! category, Photography.

Jeopardy! category: PHOTOGRAPHY (28-02-2014)

$400 clue: It’s the location where the iconic Pulitzer-winning photo seen here was taken

Correct response

The gist: On June 13, 1948, Nat Fein, staff photographer at the New York Herald Tribune knelt in foul territory behind the third base line and took the first sports photo to win a Pulitzer Prize. He’d previously taken photos of luminaries like Albert Einstein, Queen Elizabeth II, Albert Schweitzer, and Marilyn Monroe, but he that day he was assigned to cover a very special event in baseball history.The photograph captured Babe Ruth’s final appearance atYankee Stadium, affectionately known as the “The House that Babe Built.” The team was retiring his famous number 3, which is the reason for the perhaps odd-seeming choice to photograph the man from behind – the focus of the night was his number, not his face. Already very weak from the cancer he didn’t know he had, it was a struggle for Ruth just to talk out onto the field, so he picked up a bat belonging to future Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller. The photo shows Ruth leaning a little bit forward, using the bat as extra support. He holds his cap in his left hand, and the Yankees players can be seen holding theirs to their chests along the first base line as the stadium band played “Auld Lang Syne.” Ruth faces right field, known in the stadium as “Ruthville” for his habit of smashing balls into the bleachers in that direction, probably not a planned aspect of the photograph but evocative nonetheless. Two months and three days later, August 16, 1948, Babe Ruth died in his sleep of throat cancer. In 1949, Nat Fein won the Pulitzer Prize for Photography for the photo, known as “Babe Ruth Bows Out.” He later commented that though he found the photo captured the spirit of the moment, he “didn’t think it was a great shot.”

The clue: This clue is made a bit easier than if the writers had made the correct response Ruth himself, which is a more direct question about the photograph itself. There’s a lot going on in this photograph to point you towards the correct response, even if you don’t recall having seen it before. First, Ruth’s number 3 is fairly well-known as far as sports numbers go, but that still probably needs some familiarity with sports or New York history to know. Otherwise, the pinstripes on Ruth’s uniform are a big hint that the sports team in question is the Yankees, who are sometimes known as “The Pinstripes” themselves. From there, it’s just a short hop to “Yankee Stadium” – luckily one of easiest stadium names to remember in sports (although the one in the photo was demolished in 2010, and today’s Pinstripes play in a new stadium of the same name). You definitely don’t need to be able to identify Ruth to get this one (I couldn’t, for example), but a bit of sports knowledge seems necessary.

In Jeopardy!: Unfortunately there’s no way at the moment to search for pictures in the J!Archive, so this one’s a bit hard to suss out. However, neither “Nat Fein” nor “Babe Ruth Bows Out” return anything related to the photo. It seems like this is the photo’s first appearance on the show, but of course the Babe himself is in a healthy 93 regular and three FJ! clues. Americana, sports, and a very famous name are a recipe for Jeopardy! prominence, and Ruth has those in spades. Why not take some time to peruse his Wikipedia page, so you won’t get him confused for Lou Gehrig and Hank Aaron in clues about home runs, like so many others have.

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