Babe Ruth never got to fulfill his dream of managing in the major leagues, but he did get to act as skipper of the East squad in the 1945 Esquire All-American Game at the Polo Grounds. Now, the uniform worn by the Babe that day is up for auction, where it could fetch $200,000 or more.
Heritage Auctions is offering the special jersey and pants in its February Platinum catalog. Ruth’s jacket from the same game sold at auction in 2015. Bidding had reached $70,000 by Thursday, with more than two weeks remaining.
The rosters for the All-American game, played in late August just three years before Ruth’s death, were made up of some of the top high school baseball players in the country. Ruth was tabbed to be the East manager while Ty Cobb was given charge over the West squad. Ruth’s team won the game, 5-4 and there’s a well-known celebratory photo of the boys surrounding the happy Hall of Famer afterward.
According to Heritage, the provenance of the uniform descends from Ruth’s widow, Claire, who gave it to a baseball executive. That man’s family is the consignor whose letter of provenance will accompany the uniform.
Heritage calls the uniform “the most well-preserved Ruth uniform we’ve ever encountered, physically perfect in every regard.” The jersey has the “All American” name in blue felt across the chest with red trim on the collar, cuffs and button path. The year and a “US Physical Fitness” patch are on the left sleeve while the right features an Esquire Magazine logo. A Wilson Sporting Goods tag is on the interior collar and Ruth’s name is stitched into the lower left tail. The pants have a whopping size 46 waist.
Bidding in the Platinum Night auction continues through February 24-25 at HA.com.