Auction Item Details

Lot 135



Lot Number: 135

Description: Historically significant inaugural home run baseball hit by Babe Ruth in the 1933 All-Star Game. The Great Depression of the 1930s severely damaged elements of American culture, including the game of baseball, which experienced dwindling crowds and enormous financial challenges. At the start of the 1933 season, Babe Ruth had been playing baseball for twenty years, dating back to his rookie season of 1914 with the Boston Red Sox. Although his skills and physical conditioning had diminished, he remained the main draw for the game. In an effort to spur interest in the national pastime, the sports editor for the Chicago Tribune, Arch Ward, approached officials of the American and National Leagues. Ward's idea was pit the best of both leagues against each other in an All-Star game to be played in Chicago in conjunction with the "Century of Progress Exhibition". Set for Comiskey Park on July 6, 1933, before a huge crowd of 49,200, the game featured the finest players of the period including Gehrig, Gomez, Foxx, Klein, Simmons, Grove, Cronin, Terry, Frisch, and Babe Ruth. Ruth, once again, was the main attraction. In the bottom of the third inning, at the age of 38, he demonstrated his immortal flair for the dramatic by launching a two run home run off of National League pitcher Bill Hallahan. The blast was the first home run hit in All-Star Game history. To categorize the inaugural home run hit by Ruth as "appropriate" would simply not bear justice to the Babe. He had single-handedly invented the art of the home run. Never before or since has one player changed the game and its style of play so profoundly. Period news accounts of the 1933 All-Star home run note that the crowd at Comiskey cheered in wide adulation for their baseball hero. Throughout baseball history, there have been numerous magical moments that involved specific baseballs, bats, uniforms, or gloves. Frequently, these historic objects have become lost to time and the circumstances surrounding the event. Memories fade, details become unclear, or the object itself is lost. Fortunately, the history of the offered baseball has been carefully preserved though period documentation, an original ticket stub, and an uncommon appreciation for such a historic baseball object from the 1930s. Earl W. Brown had been courting Mae L. Swoverland in 1933 and had secured two tickets to the inaugural 1933 All-Star game at Chicago's Comiskey Park. Little did they know that they would soon become part of baseball history. In the bottom of the third inning, with Charlie Gehringer on first base, Babe Ruth belted a home run into the right field stands. The home run was the first in the history of the All-Star game and the only one hit by Ruth during his two All-Star appearances in 1933 and 1934. As he watched the baseball coming towards their seats, Earl Brown reached up and stopped the ball with his bare hand. The ball dropped and fell behind his seat whereupon he reached under the seat and secured the historic ball. In the spirit of the times, all the surrounding fans clapped and congratulated Earl, whose hand remained red for the rest of the afternoon. A small price to pay for history. After the game, Earl and Mae attempted to have Ruth sign the ball, but to no avail, as he had already retired to the locker room. When the Yankees returned to Comiskey to play the White Sox, the young couple obtained seats behind first base and got as close to the field as possible. At this point, they had an usher assist them in approaching Ruth, who obliged in signing the ball. The ball itself is an official William Harridge American League baseball. The William Harridge A.L. stampings are uniformly consistent with baseballs from the 1933 era. Most notably, the William Harridge facsimile signature stamping on the side panel indicates a dating period of 1931-34 only. The ball surface exhibits moderate age toning with an area that appears to be an impact point on the sweet spot. Game use is evident incl. some minor soiling and a few areas of surface wear while the AL stampings remain clearly visible. Ruth has signed the baseball on a side panel in green ink rating 8/9 out of 10. The signature is clearly in the manner of Ruth's autograph found in the early to mid 1930s. Amazingly, the ball is accompanied by several very specific period supporting items from the Brown family. Included is a period scrapbook album page from Earl Brown which contains: 1) Brown's 1933 All-Star game ticket stub issued to section T, seat #161 in the lower deck, which corresponds with the landing area of the ball. 2) Period newspaper article with an accounting as follows: Gary Man on Other End of Ruth's Clout In Game of Century The most prized memento of baseball's 'game of a century' played Thursday in Comiskey Par[k], was the ball which Babe Ruth clouted into the left [mistaken typo] field stands for the two runs by which the American league bested the all-star National league team. And the Ruthian circuit blow sailed the ball in question directly into the hands of Earl Brown, 1949 West 11th. Brown was forced to leap into the air to snag the ball and had a lusty battle on his hands with the other fans to retain possession but did so, and today rates this memento as one of his most treasured possessions. Brown saw Ruth after the game but did not attempt to get his autograph on the ball. He will do so the next time that the Yankees appear in Chicago, he says. 3) Period newspaper box score and summary from the game. 4) Vintage golf exhibition tag from the Miami Biltmore C.Club signed by several golfers incl. Joe Kirkwood. Also included with the lot are: 1983 newspaper article (with a photo of the ball) detailing its appearance at the Texas League All-Star game; Notarized letter of provenance from Earl Brown's wife, Mae L. Swoverland Brown, who attended the game with Earl Brown; and LOA from James Spence Authentication (autograph). Simply incredible rarity which is without question the most documented vintage home run baseball of significance ever to be offered at public auction.

Estimated Price: (Estimate Upon Request)

Sold for Price: Login or Register