The baseball hit by Babe Ruth to christen the 1933 All Star Game was sold earlier this summer. Now another auction company says it has the Babe’s jersey from that same game.
Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas has the Ruth jersey along with what it claims is a 1927 Lou Gehrig game-used jersey.
Arguably they are the two most significant game worn baseball jerseys ever to reach the auction block.
Chris Ivy, Director of Sports auctions for Heritage, explains the unique historical contexts from which each of the jerseys derives. "Through exhaustive research and close study of photographic documentation, we have been able to determine that the Babe Ruth jersey is the very one he wore to participate in the first All-Star Game in 1933. This jersey is also the first and only home Ruth jersey with the number ‘3’ on the back ever to reach the auction block."
An auction preview on the company website indicates the jersey was placed on loan to the MCI National Sports Gallery where it was placed upon display for those anxious to have a look at the most recognizable garment in athletic history.
Ivy believes only 5 game-worn Ruth jerseys survive to this day.
The Gehrig jersey, he explains, is equally important in the annals of baseball history. "Again,” Ivy continues, “through photographic studies matching the unique variations in pinstripe patterning, we have been able to definitively place the shirt on the Iron Horse during his greatest season, the Most Valuable Player campaign of 1927. Of course that Yankees squad is considered by most baseball historians to be the finest baseball team ever assembled."
The Gehrig jersey appears in the Stephen Wong book "Smithsonian Baseball, Inside the World’s Finest Private Collections". A segment in the book discusses the "pinstriping method" which allows Yankees home jerseys, such as this one, to be definitively authenticated through vintage photography.
“Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig are the absolute elite when it comes to baseball collectibles,” notes Heritage Consignment Director and public television’s Antiques Roadshow expert Mike Gutierrez, “and these pieces are just as good as it gets. Only a small percentage of the artifacts on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown could compare to these jerseys, which represent two of the most historically significant baseball collectibles in private hands.”
Ivy believes the jerseys will sell for at least $600,000 "and there is a strong possibility that we’ll see the seven-figure barrier approached or broken for either or both.”