Babe Ruth 100th Anniversary Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 7/12/2014
Offered is an extremely rare program/scorecard for the April 18, 1923 game at the brand new Yankee Stadium, the first ever game played at Yankee Stadium. Over the years a tremendous amount of history was created at Yankee Stadium, but the history BEFORE the new Stadium was built needs to be discussed.

At the time Babe Ruth was traded to the Yankees, the team was playing its home games at the Polo Grounds, home of the cross-town rival New York Giants. The teams would play each other in the World Series in 1921 and 1922, both Giants victories. But as the aura which was Babe Ruth continued to flourish and after he hit a record 59 home runs in 1921, a funny thing happened. The Yankees began to outdraw the Giants playing in their own home! The Giants were not enamored with this fact, and after the 1922 season, they booted the Yankees from the Polo Grounds. Yankee owner Jacob Ruppert responded with the greatest construction project of all time, the first concrete and steel Stadium ever created – just across the river from the Polo Grounds and to be built in time for Opening Day 1923. And in about six months time Yankee Stadium was complete and the Yankees had a ball park of their own.

Over 74,200 fans were in the stadium on April 18, 1923 to witness the game between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, ironically Ruth’s former team. It was also reported that another 25,000 or more people were turned away at the gates. It always seemed Babe Ruth did the “first” of many things related to baseball. He hit the first home run in an All Star game; he was the first to hit 50 home runs, and then the first to 60 home runs. So after Ruth hit the first ever home run at the Stadium (See this auctions Lot #1), it was only natural the Sultan of Swat hit the first home run during a game in new Yankee Stadium. In the third inning against Red Sox starter Howard Ehmke, Ruth clouted a massive three-run homer to right field, providing the wining margins in the Yankees 4-1 victory. Yankee pitcher Bob Shawkey bested his former A’s teammate, garnering the first ever pitching victory in what Ruth called “a real nice ball yard.” Ruth also was quoted in saying, “I’d give a year of my life if I can hit a home run in this first game in this new park.” And in another great Ruthian baseball moment, the Babe backed up his wish. Interestingly, after Ruth crushed that home run, the Red Sox didn’t pitch to him again, walking him in his final two plate appearances and he ended the day 1 for 2, the home run, two walks, two runs scored and three RBI. It was after this historic game legendary sports writer Fred Lieb, writing in the Evening Telegram, dubbed the Yankees' new home "The House That Ruth Built." But with that short right field porch built specifically for Ruth’s prowess, if likely should have been “The House Built for Ruth.

Amazingly, while the demand was high for tickets to this game, and 74,000 fans were actually at the game (plus those turned away), you would figure even more programs than the amount of seats available were produced for that game. So, why are these programs exceedingly rare? Well as opposed to World Series programs sold over the course of a series of games, this was a one day event. Maybe the Yankees, even though they knew the anticipation was strong, simply did not produce as many as they should have. In any event, this is an extremely rare program, one of a dozen or so known. The actual program measures 9-1/4" x 11" and has 14 internal pages. On page 11 there are circular, pin-back style black-and-white images of the defending American League Champions, including Ruth in the top row. The pre-printed lineups also feature Ruth in his customary No. 3 position. Ironically, Wally Pipp’s image is to Ruth’s left and behind him in the initial Yankee Stadium lineup. Yankee owners Col Jacob Ruppert and Col. T.L. Huston are featured in black-and-white images on the front cover, and there are features inside about both owner’s plus general manager Ed Barrow and field manager Miller Huggins. There are also pieces discussing the new Stadium, including a “Facts and Figures on Yankee Stadium” area.

The program has been scored in black ink, with Ruth’s three-run blast clearly indicated. This program has been professionally restored to present at the current level of appearance. Most significantly, the program's binding has been reinforced and rebuilt, with staples reapplied to their original location. Several areas along the edges on the front and back covers have had paper and tear repairs. Several sets of staple holes from previous amateur rebinding attempts have been filled on the covers but are still visible near the gutter on the interior pages. This is considered by many to be the single most significant regular-season program in existence, and with all things considered (including the restoration), this program displays well and would be a highlight of any vintage and historic baseball collection.
Extremely Rare Yankee Stadium 1923 Opening Day Program – Red Sox at Yankees Ruth’s First Regular Season Yankee Stadium Home Run
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $9,480.00
Number Bids: 21
Auction closed on Saturday, July 19, 2014.
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