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Lot # 884 (of 1673)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1935 Babe Ruth Single-Signed Baseball

Starting Bid - $1,500.00 , Sold For - $7,637.50

Offered here is not only an extremely attractive Babe Ruth signed baseball, but also one with an aura of mystery and special significance. As a display piece, the ball is simply superb. Ruth has beautifully signed his name in blue fountain pen on a side panel of this official American League (Harridge) ball, with the signature grading a strong “9.” The curious nature of this ball is related to the vintage notations written on two separate side panels. The first reads “June 9th – Comiskey Park – White Sox 1 vs. Detroit 4 - Whitehead Pitching – Sewell Catching – Greenberg Hitting.” An adjacent side panel reads “Game attended by A. H. Zick, C. L. Cruner, V. C. Ankli.” What makes this ball all the more interesting is the date and location named. Ruth was a member of the Boston Braves in 1935 but he retired in mid season, on June 2nd. This ball is dated just seven days after his retirement. The question then becomes: what was Ruth, who resided in New York, doing in Chicago that day, just one week after leaving the game he loved. Luckily, our consignor has documented the oral history of the ball in an accompanying letter in which he offers answers to these questions. He writes in part: This is the ball that was given to me by my grandfather Alfred H. Zick (name on ball) several years ago. He passed away in 1959. He presented the ball to me when I was about 10 years old. He told me that when I was old enough to appreciate the ball, he would give it to me. He told me about the day and the excitement they had that Babe Ruth was at the game. It has been a long time ago but I think he told me that Babe Ruth put on a home run exhibition that day. I will not swear to it because he also told me about going to the Auto Specialties ball park in Benton Harbor, Michigan where the House of David traveling baseball team played at home. Babe Ruth was also there 1 or 2 times and did exhibitions. Anyway, the ball was signed by Babe for my grandfather in person. C. L. Cruner and V. C. Ankli were close buddies of A. H. Zick and witnessed the signing. Research on our part confirms our consignor's story and seems to have solved the mystery. It appears certain that this ball was obtained by the consignor's grandfather and notations about the game were added on that day on June 9, 1935, just as it states on the ball. But we believe the ball was actually signed by Ruth in 1940, not 1935. With the assistance of renowned Babe Ruth historian Bill Jenkinson (and NO ONE knows more about Babe Ruth than Bill Jenkinson!), Ruth traveled the midwest in the summer of 1940 taking part in baseball exhibitions. Ruth participated in a home run hitting exhibition in Benton Harbor, Michigan in 1940 over the course of two days, June 18th and 19th. Thus, it is a virtual certainty, since our consignor's grandfather specifically mentioned seeing him at such an event in Benton Harbor, that Ruth signed this ball on one of those two dates, and that he brought the ball with him to the 1940 event specifically in the hopes of getting it signed by Ruth. The ball is moderately soiled, with a few light abrasions, and is in overall Excellent condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,500. Estimate $3,000/$5,000. SOLD FOR $7,637.50


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