If you could hop into a time machine at any time in your life as a sports fan, today would be the day. Sometime on the morning of July 11, 1914—the story goes it was around 10 a.m.—George Ruth got off the train he’d been riding all night with a Baltimore Orioles employee and prepared to begin his career in Major League Baseball.
“Babe” Ruth was just 19—still a babe in baseball parlance. He would pitch seven innings that day against Cleveland, emerging with a 4-3 win, but striking out in his first at-bat. In a few years, still known more for his pitching, he’d be sold to the New York Yankees and become an icon whose life and career would be celebrated 100 years after that debut.
Collecting Babe Ruth rookie year memorabilia is not an impossible task—even if you can’t afford what may now be the most desirable baseball card in the world. That 1914 Baltimore News Ruth card is so scarce you can count them all on two hands, although it’s really remarkable even that may survived.
There’s one in the Babe Ruth Centennial Auction graded Poor that’ll probably sell for over $500,000 on Saturday in Baltimore (it sold for more than $450,000 last year), but there are reprints on eBay you can pick up for next to nothing.
Some newspapers reporting on the sale of Ruth and Orioles minor league teammates Ernie Shore and Ben Egan have survived and can be purchased for $200-250.
Another paper, from August of that year, has a clip about Ruth being sent down to the Red Sox minor league club in Providence.
There’s even a reprint of a Providence team photo taken later that summer which includes The Babe for around ten bucks.
There’s an entire book about Ruth’s life with the Red Sox: The Babe in Red Stockings , which came out in 1997.
For around $275, you can even wear a replica of Ruth’s rookie uniform with the Red Sox via MLBShop.com.
Ruth was back in Boston to stay by 1915 and a ticket stub from a game played that season is available for $1500. Did Ruth pitch that day?
The research is up to you.