Do you want to own a piece of Babe Ruth? No, not the candy bar, but an actual jersey he wore when he was a New York Yankee.
One of the most valuable pieces of sports memorabilia ever brought to auction, the earliest known jersey worn by New York Yankees legend Babe Ruth, is being offered by .
The c.1920 Yankees road jersey was worn by the Sultan of Swat shortly after he made the transition to the Yankees from the arch-rival Boston Red Sox. Exhibited for years at The Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum in Baltimore, Md., the jersey will be put up for auction for the first time as part of SCP Auctions’ spring auction beginning April 30.
The Ruth jersey is expected to bring in seven figures. Only a handful of other pieces of vintage baseball memorabilia have eclipsed the $1-million mark. Topping that list is the fabled T-206 Honus Wagner tobacco card sold by SCP Auction for $2.8 million in 2007.
Some industry experts have speculated that the Ruth jersey could raise the bar set by the Wagner card and make sports memorabilia history as the most expensive single item ever sold.
Bidding, open to registered bidders from April 30 to May 19, will be conducted online at SCPAuctions.com. The spring auction will also feature hundreds of other historically-significant sports memorabilia items and cards. For more information on how to participate, visit scpauctions.com or call (949) 831-3700.
“This is simply the finest sports artifact we’ve handled in our 30-year history,” said SCP Auctions President David Kohler. “It has it all. You would be hard pressed to dream up a more desirable baseball artifact. The historical impact of Ruth’s emergence in the Big Apple in the early 1920s, combined with the jersey’s superb original condition, makes this a sports treasure of the highest order.”
“It has a definite aura about it,” added SCP Auctions Managing Director Dan Imler. “It is hard to put a value on an item of such singular importance. Ruth was a man of mythic proportions. More than any other man, he transcended sports, achieving a nearly unrivaled status as an American icon. In the process, he changed the game of baseball forever. To think this jersey was worn by him during the most pivotal years of his career, and arguably the most consequential years in baseball history, makes this one of the finest sports artifacts we’ll see in our lifetime.”
No professional athlete has ever had an impact on his sport to match the effect Ruth had on baseball after he joined the New York Yankees in 1920. Slamming home runs in unprecedented numbers, he made the front page of the New York papers as often as he appeared in the sports section, posing for innumerable photo opportunities in whatever outlandish costume he chose.
The sale of Ruth to the Yankees from the Red Sox spawned the fabled “Curse of The Bambino” which haunted the rival Boston franchise and its fans for nearly a century. In the wake of the Black Sox scandal, the Babe’s arrival in New York was exactly what the game needed at the time. In the media capital of the world, the combination of Ruth’s boundless charisma and unmatched prowess on the diamond elevated him to a level of popularity in his day greater than that of any public figure in American history.
At the vanguard of the Lively Ball Era, which saw hitting reach heights not attained again until the 1990s, Ruth -- the highest paid player in baseball – made such a profound impact that he also meant more money in the pockets of owners and other players alike. As Hall of Farner Waite Hoyt, a teammate of Ruth’s, put it, “Every big leaguer and his wife should teach their children to pray ‘God bless Mommy, God bless Daddy, and God bless Babe Ruth.”