The legendary Bambino's final farewell to Yankee Stadium1948 Babe Ruth Day Multi-Signed Baseball.
"A creation of the times, he seemed to embody all the qualities that a sport-loving nation demanded of its outstanding hero. For it has always been debatable whether Ruth owed his fame and the vast fortune it made for him more to his ability to smash home runs in greater quantity than any other player in the history of the game or to a strange personality that at all times was intensely real and 'regular,' which was the one fixed code by which he lived."
It was just two months after this baseball was signed that the text above was delivered to the mournful readership of The New York Times as a portion of the obituary for the greatest figure ever to represent the Big Apple on an athletic field. Though the gaunt figure and strained voice that met Yankee Stadium spectators on June 13, 1948, such a stark contrast to the outsized stature and persona of the man who had redefined the game, left no one in doubt of this impending inevitability, the announcement of Ruth's death thudded like a Louisville Slugger to the gut for his millions of fans. Tens of thousands would file past his open casket in the rotunda of Yankee Stadium over a two-day period before the Babe's funeral at St. Patrick's Cathedral and interment at The Gate of Heaven cemetery twenty-five miles north of New York City.
Nat Fein's Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph "The Babe Bows Out" (an elite period representation of which is presented within this Platinum Night auction) has ensured that Babe Ruth Day, 1948 remains firmly entrenched in our collective memory. This special sphere, one of the very last autographed by the architect within The House that Ruth Built, likewise commemorates that brave final stand.
Ruth's sweet spot signature (8.5/10) is as bold as ever on the Official American League (Harridge) sphere, joined by eighteen fellow signers, primarily members of the first pinstriped World Champions of 1923. One must remember that this event served not only to retire the Bambino's storied number "3" jersey, but also to celebrate the Silver Anniversary of both Yankee Stadium and the team that christened that hallowed ground with its inaugural Fall Classic victory. The roster:
Whitey Witt, Oscar Roettger, Joe Dugan, Tom Zachary, Joe Sewell, Elmer Smith, George Pipgras, Wilcy Moore, Bob Meusel, Waite Hoyt, Mark Koenig, Myril Hoag and a few others too faded to discern. A notation in an unknown hand dates the ball "June 13, 1948."
The collecting hobby has always (properly) assigned heightened importance and value to firsts and lasts, and all great collections include a scattering of historical bookends. The Babe's final exit from Yankee Stadium represents as significant a sea change in the sport as did his glorious arrival, which ushered the sport into a new age of vitality that we still enjoy to this day. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.
*A donation of $100 to the American Red Cross is required to attend the Live auction.
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