That Babe Ruth glove that’s headlining the annual Louisville Slugger Auction may have just been photo matched, with the help of something that was prevalent at big league ballparks decades ago: tobacco juice.
Hunt Auctions, which conducts the annual event, says PSA/DNA found several distinct matching characteristics in comparison with a photo of Ruth wearing the identical Spalding model glove, including a “specific triangular patterned stain on the back of one finger which appears to be tobacco juice.” That stain appears to match something that’s on the glove.
“The newly confirmed possible photo match from PSA/DNA adds an additional layer of supportive evidence to an already unimpeachable dossier of corroborative authentication,” the company says.
Hunt says authentication efforts, including the work of a Spalding historian, confirmed its manufacture by Spalding for specific use by Ruth.
Several other markings on the glove also matched imagery of Ruth wearing the glove.
As reported earlier last month, the glove was originally owned by former major league player and coach Jimmy Austin who received it directly from Ruth.
There’s an audio recording from 1964 used for the legendary baseball volume “The Glory of Their Times” by Lawrence Ritter that confirms that Ruth presented a glove directly to him.
Austin remarks, “So I asked the Baby, Babe you got an old worn out glove for me you could spare? He said by God I have you.”
Austin further discussed the glove and his relationship with Ruth, with Ritter noting that Ruth used to wink at Austin when he rounded third base after hitting a home run. Austin can clearly be heard pounding the leather of the glove during their chat.
The glove was handed down to Austin’s niece, 70-year-old Susan Kolokoff, who says it had been stored in a box in her garage for many years. When she contacted the auction house, it was thought to be a store model glove.
Bidding is online now, with the auction scheduled to run through November 12.