Collectors spend hours wading through boxes of books, old record players, glassware, old furniture and other uninteresting stuff, hoping to spot that one special item that makes a trip to the estate sale worthwhile.
For baseball memorabilia collectors in southern Minnesota, that day came over the weekend. If you didn’t live near Mankato, you probably didn’t hear a thing about it.
A Babe Ruth signed baseball was on the block after being discovered among the belongings of an elderly woman who passed her possessions on to relatives in Wisconsin.
It was no secret that the ball was worth something, so it was sent away to PSA/DNA for authentication. It came back genuine, but that was expected considering the family had the full story of how the woman’s husband had gotten the signature.
In fact, the story was that 10-year-old John Rudowsky had actually caught one of the Babe’s home run balls on a summer day in 1929 and had him sign it afterward. There was even a scorecard from the game.
The lot sold at auction for over $7,000 on Saturday. A bargain price for a signed Ruth home run ball? If you read coverage in the local newspaper, you’d get that impression. Even the auction description indicated it was a ‘home run ball’.
Bidders, however, seemed to know that part of the story wasn’t true. All it took was a look at the ball, which was not of the type used in official American League games. “Official League Special” does not equal “Official American League”. At least we can officially say that another Babe Ruth signed baseball has been uncovered and the story makes for good reading, but once again, the moral of the whole affair would be…do your own homework.