The last contract Babe Ruth signed as an active player with the Boston Braves and a thank you letter to the New York Yankees after Babe Ruth Day in 1948 will hit the auction block later this month.
Goldin Auctions is offering the items in its upcoming live auction at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City on August 4. The auction, which begins accepting bids online July 11, features 100 lots of memorabilia, each valued at $10,000 or above. Ten different lots in the live auction feature Ruth-related items. Additionally, a corresponding catalog auction running through August 13 includes additional Ruth memorabilia.
An aging Ruth joined the Braves after parting ways with the Yankees prior to the 1935 season.
The contract is housed in a custom leather case under a protective acetate page. The standard National League Uniform Player’s Contract made out to “George Herman Ruth” includes his team as the “Boston National League Baseball Company” and the terms “$25,000 per year for a term of three years”. Ruth only made it until June, announcing his retirement after struggling in the field and most of the time, at the plate as well. He did manage to belt three homers in a game during his final days as a National Leaguer, finishing with 714.
The second page of the contract is dated February 28, 1935, two days after the Yankees released him. It’s signed by Ruth, Braves president Emil Fuchs and witnesses Samuel Silverman, F. Burton Whitman and James O’Leary. The signature has been rated Gem Mint 10 by PSA/DNA.
“It has been our honor to sell a pair of Ruth Yankee contracts recently for record prices and despite Ruth playing just 28 games for the Boston Braves, we expect this document to follow suit,” said Ken Goldin, Founder of Goldin Auctions. “Combined with his farewell letter to the Yankees and one of the last autographed photos he ever signed, this is a trio of historic artifacts that truly put a punctuation mark on a remarkable life and career.”
Ruth’s letter to Yankees’ President Dan Topping was written the day after Babe Ruth Day was held at Yankee Stadium in 1948, not long before Ruth’s death from cancer.
The 7.25″ x 10″ typed letter on “Babe Ruth” personal stationery is dated June 14, 1948. Typed by a secretary and signed by Ruth, the letter reads, “My dear Dan: May I take this opportunity of thanking you and the New York Yankees organization for the watch which I received from you on Sunday. It was deeply appreciated. It was unfortunate that the weatherman played tricks on us but the lack of clear weather was made up for by the warmth of the ovation the Old Timers received. And I especially wish to add my words of thank you for the privilege of participating in this celebration. With kind personal regards, believe me, I am, Sincerely, Babe Ruth”.
The signature is in blue fountain pen, and has been rated 9 out of 10 and comes with a full LOA from PSA/DNA.
The auction also includes a PSA/DNA 10 rated 11″ x 14″ Ruth signed and inscribed photo from a scrap-book that was filled with pictures, newspaper columns, and letters of well wishes and press materials. Written in black fountain pen, the autograph reads “With best wishes From Babe Ruth.” Auction officials say it could be the largest known single-signed Ruth signed photo.
To register for the auction or to receive a free catalog, visit Goldin Auctions’ website.