The New York Yankees have won 27 World Championships to date, and Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali claimed the heavyweight boxing title three times, each achievement a record unmatched in sports history. On Feb. 22, in New York, Heritage’s Platinum Night Auction will sell key artifacts of each respective historic first championship to the most determined collector.
Widely considered to be the most significant article of New York Yankees memorabilia ever to surface, the pocket watch presented to Babe Ruth for his contributions in claiming the franchise’s first World Championship in 1923 is consigned to auction by the gentleman who bought it from Ruth’s caddy in the late 1980s.
From the team’s second championship in 1927 through their most recent in 2009, rings have been awarded for winning the World Series, but the first of 27 team championships was marked by an elegantly engraved gold pocket watch. Ruth’s personal model was gifted to his friend Charles Schwefel, owner of the famed Gramercy Hotel in Manhattan. Schwefel’s wife then passed the watch to her nephew, who often caddied for the Babe at St. Albans Country Club in Queens, N.Y.
“While a few 1923 championship pocket watches have surfaced from lesser players and front office personnel, it was widely believed that Babe Ruth’s had been lost,” said Chris Ivy, director of Heritage Sports Collectibles. “Learning that this wasn’t true, that this extraordinarily piece still existed, was a great thrill, I can tell you. The pre-auction estimate is $750,000-plus, but it’s truly a priceless artifact of Yankee history.”
If there has been any figure in American sports as captivating as Ruth, it was a brash, young boxer from Louisville, Ky., named Cassius Clay, better known to the sports world by his adopted name, Muhammad Ali. Though he achieved some limited fame with a gold medal performance at the Rome Olympics in 1960, it wasn’t until 1964 that he became a household name with his historic victory over a heavily favored Sonny Liston, the first of two meetings.
The boxing gloves Clay was wearing as he shocked the world in that February 1964 bout in Miami are expected to bring more than $250,000.
Another historic beginning is commemorated with the only known factory model bat from the arsenal of “Shoeless Joe” Jackson.
The unique labeling format, as well as the factory side-writing on the bat, assigns use to Jackson’s official debut season of 1911, one notable as the only major league rookie campaign to record a batting average of .400 or better.
“This bat serves as a key piece of evidence for the many millions who believe that Jackson deserves enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame,” said Ivy.
Other significant baseball bats on offer in this Platinum Night auction include one used by Ruth during his first Yankees season of 1920 and Mickey Mantle’s special model issued for the 1956 All-Star Game, the only Mantle bat that can be definitively attributed to the sole Triple Crown season of his career.
Other highlights in the auction lineup include:
- 1910 E98 “Set of 30” Ty Cobb (Black Swamp) SGC 98 Gem 10
- 1927 Babe Comes Home one sheet movie poster
- 1950 Joe DiMaggio game-worn New York Yankees jersey
- 1966 Mickey Mantle game-worn New York Yankees jersey
- 1974 “The Wide Swing” original painting by Harvey Dinnerstein
- 1980 Phil Verchota “The Miracle on Ice” game-worn USA Olympic hockey jersey
- 1989 San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl XXIV NFL Championship ring presented to Bill Walsh
- 1996 Derek Jeter World Series game-used rookie bat, PSA/DNA GU10.
For more information, visit www.ha.com or call (800) 872-6467.