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Opening Day blast was Ruth's first wearing his fabled number "3" jersey!

1929 Babe Ruth's First Home Run Baseball of the Season. Though the Yankees found themselves in the unfamiliar role of World Series spectator in 1929, victimized by Connie Mack's second great dynasty, the season was one of enormous importance for New York's greatest sporting star. It was a year that began with tragedy, as the Babe's estranged first wife perished in a house fire, freeing Ruth to marry model Claire Merritt Hodgson a few months later. It was less than a week before that wedding that Ruth and Gehrig thrilled an Opening Day crowd of 40,000 in the Bronx with twin long balls in a seven to three victory over the Boston Red Sox. That April 18, 1929 contest stands tall in Yankees history as the first in which the team sported digits on the backs of their jerseys, thus establishing the presented sphere as the first home run by Babe Ruth as Number Three.

This 471st home run of Ruth's storied career was somehow retrieved after its historic hurdle of the outfield wall, soon to begin a second life as a resident of the most famous memorabilia collection in existence at the time. Celebrated actor Joe E. Brown, a close friend of Ruth's and arguably the first great baseball memorabilia collector, was quickly made the beneficiary of this important horsehide, as a black fountain pen inscription from the iconic slugger indicates. Just above Ruth's sweet spot signature is his inscription, "To Joe E. Brown, My friend, My first HR of 1929." Printed on the western panel in another hand is further text: "Baseball given to actor Joe E. Brown by Babe Ruth for his 1st H.R. of 1929 Season." Note that the writing has been enhanced, a common practice in the early days of collecting, and a factor that does nothing to minimize the ball's status as Ruth's first homer of 1929.

The OAL (Barnard) baseball is mounted to a brass and marble stand for display and exhibits considerable handling wear, but the writing remains quite bold and legible for the most part, and certainly none of the historic appeal of the piece is lost for its decades of storage. It's unquestionably one of the most important Ruth home run baseballs ever to reach the hobby's auction block. Ruth would go on to hit forty-six home runs in 1929, his tenth of twelve American League-leading seasons. LOA from Heritage Auctions.


Service and Handling Description: Balls, Pucks, etc., Large (view shipping information)

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Auction Dates
August, 2013
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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