As the Babe Ruth Road Show consignment tour continues for Goldin Auctions in preparation for its big sale in July, some of the treasures being unearthed along the way are being leaked by the company. Below is one of those finds – a unique Babe Ruth home run baseball, the “first” of his at Yankee Stadium.
Many baseball fans know that Babe Ruth hit the first regular season home run at Yankees Stadium on April 18, 1923. What most fans do not know is that the Babe actually hit his “first” home run at the new stadium on Feb. 14, 1923, when he put on a hitting display for New York Daily News reporters to demonstrate the Stadium’s short right field porch.
A baseball hit by Ruth that cold February day and signed for the Stadium construction worker who retrieved it, has been consigned for auction by legendary sports memorabilia curator Joel Platt into the Goldin Auctions Babe Ruth Centennial Auction, scheduled for July 12, 2014, at the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Sports Museum in Baltimore. An online auction of 1,000 additional lots of sports memorabilia will close on July 13.
Platt acquired the baseball and learned of its story more than 50 years ago from the construction worker who retrieved the baseball from the newly completed right field stands at Yankee Stadium. Since the stadium had not yet been named “Yankee Stadium,” the ball is signed and inscribed by Babe Ruth — “New Yankee Field Feb 14-23 Babe Ruth.” It features a distinctive mark where the ball was struck and is authenticated by PSA/DNA and JSA and comes with a Sports Immortals Letter of Authenticity.
While doing research for the auction, Goldin received confirmation of Babe’s accomplishment when he stumbled upon the story of that February day in 1923, in Leigh Montville’s book, The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth. The book was published in 2006, almost 50 years after Platt first heard the story from the construction worker.
“When Ken Goldin talked to us about the Babe Ruth Centennial Auction, we recognized he was putting something together truly historic that would have incredible reach throughout the world, not just to collectors but to all baseball fans,” said Platt, chairman and founder of The Sports Immortals Museum in Boca Raton, Fla. “Babe Ruth has a tremendous fan and collector base, even 65 years after his passing. Since we have several hundred Babe Ruth items in The Sports Immortals Collection, we saw this as a unique opportunity to share one of the most treasured Ruth mementos with the rest of the world. The Babe was my inspiration 71 years ago to start Sports Immortals, and we are happy to contribute one of the worlds’ most significant and historic Ruth and Yankee collectibles to this special event.”
In addition to Ruth’s “first” Yankee Stadium home run baseball, some of the high-value Live Auction items include: 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card: highest graded 1916 Weil Baking Co. D32 Ruth rookie card SGC EX 5; 1916 Babe Ruth rookie era game-used bat (PSA GU-9); 1916 Babe Ruth Sporting News rookie card with the rare ‘famous and barr’ back: one of just four known; Babe Ruth single signed baseball (PSA 8.5); 1929 Babe Ruth game-used bat (PSA GU-10) with provenance and letter from the Yankees; 1931 signed and typewritten letter and photo from Ruth to his doctor; 1942 Ruth signed and typewritten letter from Pride of the Yankees filming; and many more soon to be announced surprises.