It lasted almost as long as the game.
Lou Gehrig’s last warm-up jacket and the ball Babe Ruth hit for his 712th home run sold for a combined $546,250 as the 979-lot 2008 All Star FanFest auction came to a close in New York.
The names come right out of New York baseball history. And that’s the way they planned it.
Ruth, Gehrig, Lazzeri, Mantle, Jackie and Whitey were among the attractions as hundreds of pieces of vintage baseball memorabilia changed hands on the second day of the 2008 All-Star FanFest auction at the Jacob Javits Center Tuesday.
Two pieces of baseball lore entering the mainstream hobby for the first time were what is believed to be Lou Gehrig’s final warm-up jacket and the baseball Babe Ruth sent into the Forbes Field stands in 1935 for his 712th career home run. The Gehrig jacket was sold to collector Gary Cypres for $373,750 while the Ruth ball was purchased for $172,500. Both prices included a 15% auction house buyer’s premium.
An Associated Press photograph taken May 2, 1939, appears to show Gehrig wearing the jacket while standing at home plate with Detroit Tigers manager Del Baker and the game umpires on the day Gehrig’s streak of 2130 consecutive games played came to an end. It was among a collection of the late player’s clothing given to friends by his widow Eleanor following Gehrig’s death in 1941.
Passed down from relatives, the heavy wool jacket hung in a closet as a conversation piece for years before the latest owner, Dave Ennis, consigned it to Hunt Auctions for the sale.
The Ruth ball, also passed down through generations, was part of a three-homer day by the aging slugger. It had been signed by Ruth after the game and documented through a scorecard and news accounts.
MLB and Hunt made certain the auction had a definite New York flavor which may have helped push prices upward.
A bat given by Brooklyn Dodgers’ Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson to a New York priest on the final day of the 1956 season, his last, brought $92,000.
Numerous pieces from Whitey Ford’s Hall of Fame career were consigned by the former Yankee pitcher and his family. His road gray 1950 rookie jersey and the plaque he was awarded for winning the 1961 World Series MVP each went for $50,600. A 1999 Yankees World Series ring he received sold for $36,800, a ball signed to Ford by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 drew a winning bid of $29,900 while the game-used glove Ford wore in the 1962 World Series brought $17,250.
Other vintage baseball memorabilia sold included:
- 1930 Babe Ruth game used bat $74,750
- 1928 Tony Lazzeri Yankees World Series ring $48,875
- 11×14 autographed Babe Ruth photo $37,375
- Single-signed Babe Ruth ball $35,650
- 1960s Jackie Robinson autographed baseball from collection of former Major Leaguer Don Lee $27,600