Babe Ruth memorabilia remains a big hit with collectors. Particularly baseballs signed by the Sultan of Swat.
A baseball signed by Ruth as part of a team collection of signatures from the World Series champion 1915 Red Sox is one of several key pieces of memorabilia items offered for sale in the Lelands Fall 2019 Classic Auction.
The baseball, which opened at $5,000 Sunday, came from the family of Dick Hoblitzell, Ruth’s teammate on the 1915 Boston squad that defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. The ball contains 28 signatures, including those of Tris Speaker, Harry Hooper, Duffy Lewis, Everett Scott, manager Bill Carrigan and Hoblitzell.
Ruth’s last name signature on the 1915 baseball is one of several key items for auction in the Lelands auction. With the centennial of the 1919 World Series just passed, items from the disgraced Black Sox are coveted items. One such piece is a 1916 mortgage voucher signed by outfielder “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. The right fielder was illiterate and rarely, if ever, signed anything other than official documents. Ron Keurajian, an autograph expert who has published two books analyzing signatures of baseball Hall of Famers and players who could have been Cooperstown-bound, writes that a Jackson autograph, if authentic, is valued “between $20,000 and $30,000.”
Keurajian estimates there are 10 authentic Jackson autographs, “all of which are document-related.” Keurajian said the document has been “around for decades” and is genuine. The starting bid for the Jackson voucher was $5,000, and with a month to go in the auction, bids have already doubled that amount.
Other items from 1919 include World Series tickets, from Games 1, 2, 5 and 6; a 1919 White Sox celluloid and handwritten letters.
Other signature baseball memorabilia on the auction block includes the 1911 Philadelphia Athletics World Champions gold medallion and 1913 Philadelphia Athletics World Champions pocket watch presented to star player Rube Oldring, a circa 1909 Honus Wagner Horner cabinet, Jesse Haines’ Hall of Fame Induction Plaque, a 1939 Inaugural Hall of Fame Induction signed baseball, Ricky Ledee’s 1999 Yankees World Championship ring, a 1927 World Champion Yankees team-signed ball and a 2019 Pete Alonso New York Mets signed, game-used bat.
Another memorabilia item is just as famous, even if it is from a film based on fiction. The Cleveland Indians cap worn by Charlie Sheen in the 1989 film “Major League” is one of several items up for auction from the actor’s collection. The cap shows some wear — after all, Sheen sweated as the character Ricky Vaughan, striking out his rival with a 101 mph fastball in the movie’s climactic scene. That baseball is also on the auction block.
Cards will take center stage during the auction. Highlights from a million dollar collection consigned to the auction include a 1917 Collins-McCarthy complete set that contains 20 PSA-graded cards; a 1916 Ruth rookie card from the 1916 M101-5 Sporting News set and a collection of Zeenut cards from 1911 to 1936.
There are also complete sets of 1956 and 1958 Topps, a complete 1972 Topps football set with several graded cards, and a graded Joe Namath rookie card. Non-sports items include 1959 Fleer Three Stooges cards, a 1966 Beatles card set that was distributed only in Spain, and Jefferson Burdick’s non-sports type collection.
Turning to football, memorabilia from former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier includes the helmet he wore against the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XIII in 1979. There is also a signed jersey from Super Bowl XIV, when the Steelers won their fourth Super Bowl of the decade by defeating the Los Angeles Rams 31-19; and a signed playbook from that game. Wounded in Vietnam and told he’d never walk again, Bleier defied the odds and earned four Super Bowl rings..
Other Bleier items include a Super Bowl championship trophy presented to him after the 1974 season, and memorabilia from his high school career at Appleton (WI) Xavier and his college days at Notre Dame.
The auction also has a 1982 “Dawg Pound Bound” van signed by over 500 Cleveland Browns players and football luminaries, including the entire 1964 Browns championship team. Other highlights include a helmet worn by Ernie Davis in 1951 when he played in Elmira, NY’s Small Fry Football League, a 1956 Davis high school practice jersey, a 1962 Davis single-signed football, a 1959 Syracuse Football national championship ring and a 1949 Colts Silber’s Bakery Y.A. Tittle trading card.
Another auction centerpiece is a tremendous horse racing trophy collection featuring trophies from several of the sport’s greatest horses. The Hirsch Jacobs collection of 39 trophies dates back to the early 1940s and comes from the estate of the legendary horse owner and trainer. The auction also includes a Secretariat 1973 Man o’War Stakes race-worn shoe and a 1973 Secretariat-used whip signed by Penny Tweedy.
Also up for auction is an early 1970s Walt Frazier Knicks game-worn jersey. The offering comes on the heels of Lelands previously auctioning Frazier’s 1970 NBA Finals Game 7 game-worn jersey.
The auction runs through December 6 at Lelands.com.