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Lot # 19 (of 1512)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1935 Babe Ruth Last-Game Ticket Stub, Program, and Related Material

Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $7,800

Exceedingly rare Philadelphia Phillies ticket stub to Babe Ruth's final game on May 30, 1935. This is, to the best of our knowledge, the only surviving example of this historically important ticket, as we have never seen nor heard of another. It is accompanied by what is likely the program from that final game, a photo of Ruth from that day, a 1935 Philadelphia Phillies team-signed ball, and a team photo of the 1935 Phillies. The ticket stub (4 x 1.5 inches), which bears the printed date "May 30 P. M. 1935" on the front, was issued for a "Rear Box" and cost $1.65 at the time. A pencil notation, reading "Ruth's Last Game," appears on the reverse. Vg, with a light vertical fold and a small few creases. This ticket was issued for a scheduled doubleheader between the Braves and Phillies. Ruth started the first game for the Braves, batting third and playing left field. Ruth grounded out in his first at bat, and then, like most games that year, he promptly removed himself from the lineup. Unbeknownst to everyone at the time, however, was that that at bat marked Babe Ruth's final appearance in a Major League game. The Braves returned home for a doubleheader against the Giants the following day, with Ruth sitting out both games and then, after an off day, Ruth officially announced his retirement on June 2nd. Because none of the 18,000 fans in attendance at Baker Bowl on May 30th had any reason to suspect that Ruth was playing in his last game, few, if any, saved the ticket stub, which is almost certainly the reason for its extreme rarity today.

Accompanying the ticket stub is what we believe to be the Philadelphia Phillies program from that May 30th doubleheader against the Braves. The fold-over program lists Ruth batting third and playing left field for the Braves, but it has not been scored, which is the reason for the slight degree of uncertainty in attributing it to Ruth's final game. What we do know is that it is definitely from one of Ruth's two final games. Although the program is undated, the fact that Ruth is in the lineup for the Braves conclusively dates it to 1935. Furthermore, the only visit the Braves made to Philadelphia prior to Ruth's retirement on June 2nd was for a three-game series that took place on May 29th and May 30th (doubleheader). If we assume that only one program was issued by the Phillies for the doubleheader, then that means the offered program was issued for one of two days: May 29th or May 30th. Unfortunately, none of the lineups listed in the official box scores for any of the three games played between the two clubs on those dates exactly matches the preprinted lineups in the offered program. (Ruth played in the game on May 29th and only in the first game on May 30th.) Despite that, we feel a stronger argument can be made in favor of it being from the May 30th doubleheader. The two catching options listed for the Braves in the offered program are Spohrer and Mueller. In the first game of the series, on May 29th, Shanty Hogan started the game as catcher for the Braves. Hogan was actually the backup catcher for the Braves, with Spohrer the starter. Mueller was the third-string catcher. Since Hogan started on May 29th, it would be reasonable to assume that Spohrer and Mueller were the more likely options at catcher for the doubleheader, especially since they had another scheduled doubleheader the next day. Therefore, we believe this is very likely the program from Ruth's final game on May 30th. It should be noted that, like the ticket stub, we have never seen another 1935 Phillies program issued for a game against the Braves with Ruth listed in the starting lineup, making this an exceedingly rare souvenir from Ruth's final day in baseball. The program (7 x 11 inches, folded) displays a tiny pencil notation in the upper right corner of the front cover that reads "1935 Babe Ruth," as well as a few very light creases. In Excellent condition overall.

These two pieces commemorate a sad ending to what was the greatest career in baseball history. After Ruth was released by the Yankees following the 1934 season he actually had no desire to continue playing. What he wanted, more than anything, was to manage at the Major League level. He had already been rebuffed in that pursuit by the Yankees, and by most every other Major League club. The only person who showed any interest in Ruth was Braves owner Judge Emil Fuchs, but he had ulterior motives. Fuchs was an extremely manipulative person and he preyed on Ruth's passionate desire to manage by dangling the job position in front of him like the proverbial "carrot in front of the horse." Fuchs had no intention of making Ruth manager of the Braves. What motivated Fuchs was the additional revenue a gate attraction like Ruth would bring in (the team was in dire financial straits at the time; Fuchs couldn't even afford the rent on Braves Field). With that thought in mind, Fuchs made sure that Ruth's contract stipulated that he was a roster player first and foremost, but that he would also assume the positions of "assistant manager" and "vice president," titles that Ruth soon found out were strictly honorary. Fuchs had also promised Ruth that he would take over as manager of the club either during the season, or the following year, and that he would receive additional revenue-sharing income. Fuchs further hinted at the possibility of part ownership for Ruth somewhere down the line. In the back of his mind Ruth probably knew that all of this was too good to be true and that he was being taken advantage of, but his dream of managing most likely clouded his judgment.

A few weeks into the season Ruth realized the awful truth: he would never be manager of the Braves. Instead, Fuchs treated him like a carnival sideshow attraction and the indignity of the situation soon became intolerable. Ruth's final days in baseball saw him mired in misery. He was old, overweight, and often injured. Just stepping onto the field became a chore. The game he had loved so dearly had turned on him seemingly overnight and all that was left was the adulation of the fans. Despite his diminishing skills, people still flocked to the park to see the legendary "Sultan in Swat" in action, or at the least, to hit balls out of the park during batting practice. However, the thought of Fuchs, whom he now despised, profiting by the sweat of his brow quickly became too much for Ruth to bear. Shortly after an amazing performance in Pittsburgh, which witnessed Ruth hitting three home runs (the last of which was the first ball ever hit completely out of Forbes Field) he decided to call it quits. His official retirement announcement came on June 2nd, following a home victory over the New York Giants.

Information on the remaining three items included in this lot can be found on our blog.

Total: 5 items.

SOLD FOR $7,800

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