Auction Item Details

Lot 143

<<   <  Jump to Lot :    >   >>  


Lot Number: 143

Description: Historically significant Babe Ruth professional model baseball glove c.1927-30 (Jimmy Austin Provenance)(PSA/DNA). George Herman "Babe" Ruth is by very definition an icon in the history of sports and American popular culture. It is often asked as to why Ruth's notoriety remains so strong even as we are now over 100 years past his debut in Major League Baseball. There truly is no precise answer other than there was, and always will be, one Babe Ruth. Part of Ruth's legacy is most certainly owed to timing whether it be related to his status as an MLB savior after the Black Sox scandal in 1919 or a diversionary beacon for people dealing with the hardships of the great depression of the late 1920s. However, Babe Ruth would assuredly have had a generational impact no matter what era he played. His persona was as big as his heart and he lived each day to its fullest. Americans identified with Babe and his humble beginnings to which he rewarded their faith by growing to become the most popular public figure in the country if not the world. Babe's feats on the baseball field and flamboyant life off the diamond kept fans glued to their radios, newspapers, magazines, and local watering holes. While tales of Ruth's behavioral discrepancies abound there are innumerably more which relay visits to children's hospitals or standing outside a stadium to sign autographs for every last boy or girl who had waited for their hero. Babe authentically understood the importance of his influence of the youth of America. His upbringing was complicated, difficult, and full of hardships. All of that never deterred the Babe from getting where he wanted to in his life. Teammate Harry Hooper remarked, "Sometimes I still can't believe what I saw. This 19-year-old kid, crude, poorly educated, only lightly brushed by the social veneer we call civilization, gradually transformed into the idol of American youth and the symbol of baseball the world over - a man loved by more people and with an intensity of feeling that perhaps has never been equaled before or since." For all of these reasons and many others, memorabilia relating to Babe Ruth has been the most desired of any sport (and most non-sport) categories essentially ever since he took the field. Ruth's popularity almost single handedly revolutionized the way in which athletes were utilized in marketing and promotions. The use of his image or autograph facsimile on household products, food items, publications, musical productions, and motion pictures created an insatiable demand for anything related to same. Conversely, the supply of Babe Ruth related game used materials is not able to even be classified as scant. Yes, Ruth professional model bats are found on occasion almost definitively due to the original quantity created and their material construction that allows for a good survival rate. The number of Babe Ruth professional model baseball hats for the Yankees, Braves, Dodgers, or barnstorming teams he played for likely totals between 5 to 10. There are six Babe Ruth New York Yankees professional model jerseys of merit known to exist and an additional 5-6 Ruth jerseys with relation to Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Braves, and various All-Star or Barnstorming teams. This includes both private and institutional collections such as the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Accordingly, a small number of attributed Babe Ruth professional model gloves have surfaced and with the exception of the example in the National Baseball Hall of Fame as donated by the Ruth family few are accepted as authentic. Until now. Offered is an exceedingly rare and important Babe Ruth professional model baseball glove originating from the personal collection of former MLB player Jimmy Austin,. Left handed throwing white leather glove of the highest quality retaining its original interior palm stampings with "Professional" designation, Spalding manufacturer's trademark, and US patent number. Black impressed "Babe" Ruth facsimile signature stamp on slanted positioning displays with striking contrast to the left of interior stampings. The back strap of the glove retains its original Spalding cloth manufacturer's label and impressed brass button. Glove measures a full 10" tall adult size with original 1 1/8" web intact. Baseball use is visible to the interior pocket including soiling and general wear from receiving a ball. Back of the glove exhibits traits of use including light to moderate surface wear and what clearly appears to be light spatter from tobacco juice. The quality of the glove can only properly be conveyed by in person inspection. It is befitting of the greatest baseball player, at the pinnacle of his career, in the history of the game. General appropriate use is evident yet handled with ease by the exceptional manufacture of the glove. Consultation with the prominent Spalding expert in the country, Jeff Mann, was undertaken who routinely assists the Spalding company themselves on historical matters. Spalding retail catalogue information and additional records confirm that the offered glove was never manufactured for retail sale. Additionally, the "Professional" model stampings are identical to documented Spalding gloves of the period made for professional use only including a Val Picinich catcher's mitt from the player's estate (see online catalogue images). The Ruth glove within the National Baseball Hall of Fame as donated by the Ruth family was manufactured by Draper & Maynard and appropriately dates to the 1926 World Series. Spalding began producing Ruth endorsed materials in 1927 (and beyond). There are also images of an identical style Ruth professional model glove which was attributed to the personal collection of David Wells to which we are not able to confirm the provenance. The offered Ruth glove also compares ideally to several period images of Ruth wearing the identical Spalding model white leather glove. The images are especially useful to help narrow down the dating window for use as several picture Ruth in road jerseys with "Yankees" across the chest. That particular jersey dates to the 1927-30 specifically and bookends perfectly against D&M glove use (Pre 1927). The history of the glove may well be among the most compelling of any Babe Ruth game used artifact to have ever entered the hobby. Jimmy Austin began his MLB career at the late age of 28 with the New York Highlanders for just two seasons and then went on to a 30-year tenure with the St. Louis Browns as a player/coach. Interestingly, Austin is best remembered for his involvement as the player on the receiving end of Ty Cobb's spikes during famous play at third captured by photographer Charles Conlon. Austin retained a collection of items from his baseball career which were housed in his Laguna Beach, CA home. This is where the history of the glove goes from interesting to stunning. "The Glory of Their Times" by Lawrence Ritter is one of the most iconic baseball related books ever written and was published in 1966. Ritter had the idea for the book when Ty Cobb passed away in 1961 and subsequently conducted interviews with twenty-two former players from the early days of baseball including such stars as Goose Goslin, Sam Crawford, Hank Greenberg, and others. As normal practice for the research of the book, Ritter's interviews were recorded with audio of the actual players. It was on the during Ritter's interview with the 84-year-old Jimmy Austin in 1964 that he detailed remembrances of his experiences with Ty Cobb, Joe Wood, and others. However, Austin's finest memories involved his friend and peer Babe Ruth. As discussed by Austin, every time Ruth would hit a home run for the Yankees he winked to Austin as he rounded third base. Further, Jimmy recounts about the Babe, "He had a heart of gold. I've seen him stand for hour to hour and half signing cards for kids.". It was after these comments at the 14:16 minute mark in the audio recording that Jimmy Austin recalled, "So I asked the Baby, Babe you got an old worn-out glove for me you could spare? He said by God I have you. He came out with it and I said this is a new one I don't want this, I want an old one that you don't want. Take that." Ritter, shocked, replies, "This is Babe Ruth's glove?" to which Austin confirms "Yeah" while chuckling and literally popping the leather glove presumably on his hand. Ritter clearly in awe of the glove follows up with "Well I'll be. This is a pretty valuable thing one of Babe Ruth's gloves." Ritter and Austin continue to discuss the glove and the pocket/size of the glove for a few more seconds before moving on to other subjects. There is another portion of the audio where Ritter discusses being ushered into the room with Austin where the Ruth glove was placed in a place of honor as Austin's most prized possession. CLICK ON THIS LINK TO LISTEN TO THE JIMMY AUSTIN/LAWRENCE RITTER AUDIO. The confirmation of professional model glove, photographic evidence of Ruth wearing the identical Spalding model, and provenance to one of Ruth's peers (and good friend) Jimmy Austin soundly document the offered glove's authentication. The audio account from Austin with Ritter, in 1964, is breathtaking. To the best of our knowledge, there are no other similar corroborative audio accounts for any Babe Ruth game used item...or for that matter any piece of sports memorabilia of note. The glove has descended within the Austin family and is being presented to the public for the first time. Additional provenance information and a link to the Austin/Ritter recording are available within the online catalogue listing. Monumental discovery of one of the most significant Babe Ruth artifacts to have been offered at public auction. Includes LOA from PSA/DNA, LOS from Hunt Auctions, copy of "The Glory of Their Times" signed and inscribed to Austin's wife Esther, 1933 "Who's Who in Baseball" book inscribed and signed by Jimmy Austin, and a notarized letter of provenance from the Austin family: EX

Estimated Price Range: Estimate Upon Request

Sold for Price: Login or Register