The owners of a mitt on display at the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore since 1993 and attributed to the Babe’s youthful exploits at St. Mary’s Industrial School, have consigned it to auction.
The mitt is among 76 lots in the 2016 Goldin Auctions April Premium Live Auction on April 30 at the New York Yankees Steakhouse in New York City. The auction will also be simulcast live online at www.GoldinAuctions.com.
The glove comes with letters of authenticity from PSA/DNA, MEARS, the Babe Ruth Museum and the family who say it’s been in their possession for more than a century. Goldin Auctions claims the authenticity of the glove is also supported by photos of Ruth wearing it as a member of the St. Mary’s team in 1912. The original owner has supplied an audio recording of how his family received the glove from Ruth.
As the story goes, Ruth gave the glove to Edward Petschke, a young clerk at the McDonald Drug Store in Providence, Rhode Island, not far from the original home of the Providence Grays. The glove remained in the family’s possession until 1993, when they loaned it for exhibit to the Babe Ruth Museum, where it has been on display ever since.
Auction officials say the reason Ruth would have owned a right-handed mitt is because St. Mary’s relied on donations and the school owning a left-handed mitt would have been “nothing short of a miracle.”
The few surviving box scores of St. Mary’s ballgames show the teenage Ruth as a power-hitting catcher. It was only towards the very end of his time at St. Mary’s that he was converted to a pitcher. The natural lefty learned to catch using a right-handed mitt. Once receiving a pitch, he would then hold the ball in his right hand, shake off the mitt and then switch hands to throw the ball back to the pitcher left-handed.
“This item has it all. It is Babe Ruth’s only known game-used glove and it symbolizes his unlikely rags to riches story. I got goosebumps the first time I got to hold it,” said Ken Goldin, Founder of Goldin Auctions. “We are thrilled that the glove owner has chosen us to share their treasure with the world and we sincerely hope that the winning bidder will consider loaning it, on occasion, to the Babe Ruth Museum for others to continue enjoy.”
Constructed of steer hide with leather laces, the mitt is a “buckle-back model, though the wrist strap and buckle are no longer on the mitt. The manufacturer’s label and leather stamping have been worn off and no long visible. Still discernible on the heel is what appears to be the model number “F150”. Equipment experts at PSA/DNA have researched all the available baseball glove catalogues from the era and say they found that the “F150” model was offered by the A.J. Reach Company of Philadelphia. The mitt was repaired when needed, as can be seen by the added strip of rawhide and shoe strings used to re-lace it.
If sold, ten percent of the winning bid will be donated to the Babe Ruth Museum.
Goldin Auctions has provided additional photos and information here.