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Lot # 845 (of 1641)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1947 Babe Ruth Day Collection with Scorecard Signed by Ruth (3)

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $3,851

This collection of three items, all relating to Babe Ruth Day, held on April 27, 1947, is comprised of a Yankees/Senators score sheet from April 27th signed by Ruth, a typed signed letter from former American League umpire George Hildebrand offering Ruth congratulations on his special day, and a ticket stub from Babe Ruth Day.

In 1947, organized baseball honored its greatest star by formally declaring that April 27th would be officially known as Babe Ruth Day. While each ballpark around the land sponsored its own special ceremony recognizing Ruth's achievements and contributions to the game, the main event took place at Yankee Stadium, where 58,339 fans showed up to say goodbye to the fabled "Sultan of Swat." Ruth was seriously ill at the time, stricken with throat cancer, yet he still managed to say a few words to the fans. Speaking in a very hoarse voice, he delivered a brief, yet poignant speech:
Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. You know how bad my voice sounds. Well, it feels just as bad. You know, this baseball game of ours comes up from the youth. That means the boys. And after you're a boy and grow up to play ball, then you come to the boys you see representing clubs today in your national pastime. The only real game in the world, I think, is baseball. As a rule, people think that if you give boys a football or a baseball or something like that, they naturally become athletes right away. But you can't do that in baseball. You got to start from way down, at the bottom, when the boys are six or seven years of age. You can't wait until they're 14 or 15. You got to let it grow up with you, if you're the boy. And if you try hard enough, you're bound to come out on top, just as these boys here have come to the top now. There have been so many lovely things said about me today that I'm glad to have had the opportunity to thank everybody.

All of the items offered here directly relate to that historic day. 1) The most significant is a one-page unofficial score sheet from the game between the Yankees and Senators on April 27, 1947, which immediately followed the Babe Ruth Day ceremonies. Ruth has flawlessly signed the score sheet in black fountain pen (grading "10") to the right of the Washington lineup. Although the score sheet is not scored, pencil notations do note the starting pitchers on that day; Hudson for Washington and Chandler for New York. (Hudson out-dueled Chandler; defeating the Yankees 1-0.) Although there is always the possibility it could have been signed by Ruth at a later date, it seems reasonable to assume that Ruth signed this sheet on that day, making it an extremely significant Ruth-signed piece dating from one of the most memorable moments of his illustrious career. The score sheet (11 x 14 inches, unfolded), displays one vertical and three horizontal folds, a few edge tears, and minor creasing. A pencil notation (meaning unknown) on the front reads "Rue Pop Sum." In Very Good to Excellent condition overall. 2) The second item is a one-page typed letter, dated April 9, 1947, to Ruth from former American League umpire George Hildebrand. In his letter, written on his personal stationery, Hildebrand offers Ruth his congratulations upon hearing the formal announcement of Babe Ruth Day. In part: "In my thirty-odd years of association with baseball, I know of no one who more deservedly warrants this tribute than yourself - you, who have contributed so much to the National Pastime - who has been symbolic of the sportsmanship and clean athletic examples so idolized and followed by millions of American boys and girls." It is signed "George Hildebrand" in blue fountain pen (grading "10"). Hildebrand's tenure as an American League umpire (1913-1934) corresponded almost exactly to the Ruth's twenty-one years in the league (1914-1934). The letter (8.5 x 11 inches) has two horizontal mailing folds and three notebook holes along the left border; otherwise Ex. 3) Accompanying the score sheet and letter is a Yankee Stadium ticket stub from Babe Ruth Day on April 27, 1947. The stub (1.5 x 2.5 inches) displays light adhesive residue on the reverse (most likely from having once been displayed in an album) and is otherwise in Excellent to Mint condition. Total: 3 items (score sheet, letter, and ticket stub). LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,851

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