As a longtime New York Yankees fan stemming from my father’s link to the game as a left-handed pitcher and my upbringing in Connecticut watching the likes of Munson, Nettles, Dent, Guidry (Louisiana Lightning!), Randolph, Bonilla, Griffey, Jeter, Rivera (the Sandman!), Posada, Pettitte and so many other baseball greats on TV and at the old Yankee Stadium, I am most excited for this summer in the Bronx.
Why? This year something historic happened (again) at Yankee Stadium. This event excited both baseball fans and memorabilia collectors alike. The personal collection of George Herman “Babe” Ruth was to be auctioned off at the Yankee Stadium, located at 1 East 161st Street in the Bronx, on Saturday, June 15. While the New York Yankees were to be playing the Chicago White Sox at the re-named Guaranteed Rate Field (formerly Comiskey Park and U.S. Cellular Field), a major baseball lovers and collectors event was to take place in the Bronx organized by Hunt Auctions.
The historic baseball artifacts and personal mementos of a life in baseball and other special pieces of Americana derive from the personal collection of Babe Ruth.
The history of Ruth has been the history of baseball in the early 20th century. His story has also contributed to the American story in times of trouble. Ruth’s commitment to community and his work helping children in the 1920s and 1930s has become a model for other athletes.
George Herman Babe Ruth was signed to the Baltimore Orioles in 1914 for minor league play and then started his major league career with the Boston Red Sox. He was later an iconic slugger as a team member of the New York Yankees. Ruth’s contract was sold to the New York Yankees in 1920 and he was a pitcher and home run hitter until he retired from baseball in 1935.
Ruth’s stats remain impressive by today’s standards: 714 Home Runs, .342 batting average, 2,213 RBIs. He was a seven-time world champion and a 12-time American League home run leader, too. Of course, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.
Babe Ruth was a major part of American culture during the Roaring 1920s and Depression-era 1930s. He endorsed consumer products, was trusted and widely popular, and devoted time as well as his celebrity status to various charities especially those aiding children. Some maintain that Babe Ruth remains the most popular athlete in American history.
Some of the premiere artifacts to be sold included: Ruth’s barnstorming travel case from the 1920s, Ruth’s game played cleats, an autographed 60th Home Run photograph, the 1923 New York Yankees World Championship Spalding trophy, the 1923 New York Yankees World Champions autographed team ledger sheet, an inscribed Lou Gehrig photograph, the 1934 Batsman trophy from a tour of Japan, among other special baseball objects and items of Americana.