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Lot # 1055 (of 1743)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1933 Babe Ruth Signed Letter with Home-Run Content!

Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $5,288

Outstanding one-page typed letter on Babe Ruth stationery, dated May 28, 1933, signed by Babe Ruth, accompanied by its original mailing envelope. This letter was written by Ruth in response to a fan letter he received one day earlier. A photocopy of that earlier letter is included, which allows us to put Ruth's response into its most proper context. On May 27, 1933, Ruth received a letter from one of his staunch supporters, W. Arthur Emmel, who was a resident of Baltimore, Maryland. Emmel writes:

Dear Babe: I will start this letter by saying that all the fellows in the office where I work are laughing at you and saying that your baseball days are over. I don't agree with them and to prove it, I made a bet that you will get 40 home runs this year. The whole crowd of us will be in Washington Memorial Day to see the Yankees play Washington. I also have a bet on these two games. It will please me very much if you will knock at least one ball over the right field fence and give me a chance to razz this crowd of Washington rooters. Wishing you the best of health and luck and hoping you will do this little favor for me, I am W. Arthur Emmel. P.S. Will you please send me a short reply to this letter?

Ruth received Emmel's letter the very next day and he responded with the letter presented here. The letter, typed on Ruth's personal letterhead, reads in full:

Dear Mr. Emmel; Thanks for your very kind letter. I certainly hope to make at least 40 home runs this season. We will all try our best in Washington on Memorial Day, and I will try to get a home run. Thanking you again I am sincerely yours Babe Ruth [signed].

Ruth's signature has been flawlessly scripted in black fountain pen and grades "10." Ruth letters are exceedingly rare and the home run-related content of this example makes it particularly extraordinary. It is interesting to note that the secretarial identification initials at the base of the letter (indicating the initials of the person who typed the letter) are "J/R" and almost certainly stand for Julia Ruth, who was Ruth's sixteen-year-old stepdaughter. Accompanying Ruth's letter is the original mailing envelope, bearing Ruth's preprinted return address on the reverse, postmarked May 28, 1933. Ruth and the Yankees played a home double header against the White Sox on Sunday, May 28th, before heading to Washington for a Memorial Day double header on Tuesday, May 30th (prior to 1971 Memorial Day was always held on May 30th). Rain interrupted the first game of the twin bill and forced the cancellation of the second game. Unfortunately, Ruth was unable to knock a home run for Mr. Emmel in the game, but he did manage two hits in the Yankees' 3-2 victory (a photocopy of the boxscore from the game also accompanies the letter). While Mr. Emmel collected on his immediate bet, he lost money on his long-term wager. Ruth finished the year with 34 home runs, 103 RBI, and a .301 batting average. Even though those numbers look fine on paper, they represented the lowest totals for Ruth in each category since his injury-plagued 1925 season and were a clear indication that he was indeed nearing the end of his legendary career. The following year, his final season in pinstripes, saw a greater drop in Ruth's power numbers (22 home runs and 84 RBI) and he eventually retired in mid season of 1935 as a member of the Braves. Ruth letters are exceedingly rare and highly prized by collectors. This example is especially desirable not only for its specific baseball content and the fact that it is accompanied by its original mailing envelope, but also because this letter tells a story that is fully appreciated with the reading of the photocopy of the letter to which Ruth is responding. (Note: the original was likely returned by Ruth and may be stored within the framed display). The letter (5.5 x 8.25 inches) displays a horizontal mailing fold (running through the Ruth signature), a tiny edge tear along the fold line, light toning, and staple holes in the upper left corner. In Very Good to Excellent condition overall. The letter has been mounted (most likely by means of an adhesive on the reverse) and framed together with a Perez-Steele Hall of Fame postcard of Ruth. Total dimensions: 11 x 20.5 inches. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $5,288


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