Babe Ruth 100th Anniversary Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 7/12/2014

Offered is one of the most significant items of baseball memorabilia to ever come up for auction. This baseball combines two of the best factors in baseball history; that of its greatest player, Babe Ruth, and Ruth’s greatest individual achievements – the home run. Best of all, this all took place in the New Yankee Stadium, the House That Ruth Built, prior to any game being played! 

Marshall Hunt was the first New York Daily News sports editor, who was hired by the founder of the paper, Captain Joe Patterson. The Daily News had begun operations in June of 1919, right before the Babe came to New York in the greatest baseball trade of all time. According to Hunt, “Patterson was looking for some outstanding people we could latch onto and sort of cultivate and have exclusive stuff on the guy.” At the time, most newspapers carried tiny headshots and lots of text. Patterson however, wanted to pattern his new paper around sensationalism, supported by much larger than usual photos. No one in the sports world was as sensational as Babe Ruth, and when Babe was shipped to New York, Hunt knew they had their guy. The timing of Daily News beginning operations and Ruth being traded to New York was such a tremendous confluence of events. Hunt convinced Patterson to let him cover Babe Ruth on a daily basis, not just around New York during the season, but in the off season, up to his Sudbury, MA winter home and all over the country. Wherever the Babe went, whether it was a publicity or charity event, and even some well earned quiet time, Marshall Hunt was there.

Pretty soon, the Babe liked having a familiar face around all the time, and Babe and Hunt became friends - going fishing, heading to Hot Springs for early season training or even to the speakeasies and houses of ill repute. It was Marshall Hunt who organized for Babe Ruth to come out to the nearly finished Yankee Stadium on February 14, 1923 to see the new “ball yard” as Ruth called it. It was an exclusive planned by Hunt for New York Daily News readers. On this Valentine’s Day, Ruth fell in love with the new Stadium, and Hunt wondered “if the Babe could keep his eye on the ball after a quiet winter on his Massachusetts farm.” A spot was cleared in the four inches of new snow which a new pitching mound would eventual be constructed, and the Babe shed his usually dapper fur coat, grabbed hold of a bat and squared himself in the general area of the batter’s box, a location he would soon come to adore. Everyone wanted to know if Babe approved of the new Stadium’s dimensions, which unbelievably were somewhat shorter in right field! After all, in 1923 Ruth was the home run king and the cornerstone of the two-time defending American League Champions. After an initial errant offering, and a couple swings and misses, Ruth connected on the fourth pitch thrown and sent the sphere flying through the crisp air, landing safely into the right field stands. Ever the jokester, the Babe exclaimed “Sorry you ain’t pitching for the Browns.” Somehow I don’t believe it really mattered.

The story of this event was highlighted in 'The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth,' by Leigh Montville published in 2006. The first home run ball was retrieved by a stadium worker, which now contained a huge Ruthian welt and a few scrapes, and had it signed, dated and inscribed by the Bambino. The Babe wrote “New Yankee Field Feb. 14 – 23 “Babe” Ruth”. This “Official League Ball” has the new bat mark and is lightly shellacked, while the signature and inscription grade a solid “6-7”. The significance of this ball cannot be overstated. It is the first home run (albeit unofficial) ever hit by Ruth at the new Yankee Stadium, a park built for him and known as the “House That Ruth Built”, which should have been more aptly named “The House Built for Ruth.” It is also the first ball ever signed by Babe Ruth at the new Yankee Stadium! Ruth likely signed thousands of baseballs around the Stadium during his time as the premier player in baseball history, but there is only one first Yankee Stadium single signed Babe Ruth baseball. This is it. A piece of American history. It is an outstanding and historic piece of baseball memorabilia. Goldin Auctions is proud to offer the first home run ball hit and signed by Babe Ruth, the greatest player in baseball history as the first lot of their 100th Anniversary Babe Ruth Centennial Auction. Full LOAs from PSA/DNA and James Spence Authentication. Also comes with LOA from Sports Immortals which acquired the ball over 40 years ago from the family of the stadium worker.

This lot has a Reserve Price that has not been met.
Current Bidding (Reserve Not Met)
Minimum Bid: $50,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $0.00
Number Bids: 6
Auction closed on Saturday, July 19, 2014.
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