Auction Item Details

Lot 386

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Lot Number: 386

Description: Significant Babe Ruth single signed baseball inscribed to Ted Williams. In 1939 the contrast between the baseball "life" of Ted Williams and Babe Ruth could not be more stark. Ruth had finally completely retired from the game he had revolutionized after a brief stint as a player coach with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1938. Williams burst onto the scene in 1939 becoming the first rookie to lead the league in RBIs along with hitting 27 home runs and batting .327. In fact, although there was no official rookie of the year honors in 1939, Babe Ruth himself bestowed that designation on Williams. It was on July 12, 1943 at Fenway Park where Ruth and Williams met for the first time on the occasion of a War Bond exhibition game. Ruth was the manager of the team and greeted Williams heartily. This was the only occasion on which the two men would be photographed wearing their respective Yankees and Red Sox uniforms. During the exhibition it was recounted by several news reports that Ruth remarked to Williams, "Hiya, kid. You remind me a lot of myself. I love to hit. You're one of the most natural ballplayers I've ever seen. And if my record is broken, I hope you're the one to do it". Williams would later note that meeting Ruth along with Ruth's comments to be among the most meaningful of his life having held the Babe as a hero during his youth. On that occasion at Fenway Park Ted Williams could not resist the opportunity to ask the great slugger for his autograph on a baseball which Babe gladly obliged. Light cream color William Harridge AL baseball remains in very fine unused condition. Signed in blue ink on a side panel, "To My Pal Ted Williams From Babe Ruth". Signature and salutation present in outstanding original condition rating 8/9 out of 10. This particular baseball was referenced by Williams himself on numerous occasions during his life as the "only one he ever wanted" and obviously occupied a special place of significance within his personal collection. Interestingly, the baseball itself was stolen nearly thirty years ago from the Williams home only to be located and returned with the help of the Ted Williams Museum, several years ago. Williams had been extremely disheartened by its loss due to the high regard to which he held Babe Ruth. Over the last twenty years we have had the privilege of handling many of the finest Babe Ruth autographed baseballs to have come into the marketplace, inclusive of the example which is widely regarded as the finest condition grade specimen extant. The baseball will be accompanied by several vintage photographs from Williams' personal collection inclusive of several framed examples which were displayed in Ted Williams' home picturing Ruth and Williams on the few occasions which they met. Factoring in condition, provenance, history, and the iconic nature of the very meeting of the great sluggers it is our sound opinion that the "Ruth/Williams" example is in fact the finest of its type to have been offered at public auction. Includes auction LOA from JSA: Ball: EX-MT, Signature: NM

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