"You know, this baseball game of ours comes up from the youth."1948 Babe Ruth Single Signed Baseball from Final Public Signing, PSA/DNA NM-MT+ 8.5. In an age when sports fans have grown accustomed to disappointment from their athletic heroes, the selfless dedication to the youth of America demonstrated by a dying Babe Ruth in June of 1948 seems all the more noble by contrast. From his own childhood of struggle and deprivation, the Babe grew to become perhaps the most famous man in the world, though he never forgot his humble start or the example set by his mentor Brother Mathias at the Baltimore orphanage where he was raised. So while Ruth's appearance at a charity baseball tournament in Iowa just two months prior to the close of his battle with terminal cancer might seem extraordinary, it was likewise quite typical of the big-hearted legend famous for his kindness to children.
Participants in our May 2012 Signature Auction will surely recall the remarkable offering of high-grade Babe Ruth signed baseballs consigned by the family of John Hart, who sponsored the youth baseball tournament in Spencer, Iowa that would prove to be the last public signing of the Hall of Fame icon. In his capacity as celebrity spokesman for the Ford Motor Company, Ruth was on hand in the small midwestern town to present a Championship trophy to the victor in a Chamber of Commerce baseball tournament, and signed several dozen baseballs at Hart's Ford dealership prior to the ceremonies. Here we present the very last of that historic "find" of stunningly preserved relics.
This is arguably the best of the bunch, hitting every note for the ideal Ruth single. The blue fountain pen autograph is applied to the sweet spot without personalization, rating a very conservative 9/10 on PSA/DNA's strict rating scale. The OAL (Harridge) ball that serves as its home is the most desirable of breeds for the Babe, with clean, milky skin and bold stamping, garnering a rating of 8/10 to complete the combined score as listed. At the "Reach" logo is found an inconsequential and illegible blue ink scribble which may just be a bit of stamping bleed. It is noted solely in the interest of full disclosure, and does nothing to diminish the aesthetics or "single signed" designation.
Any baseball marked by the sport's greatest paradigm shifter is worthy of collecting fervor, and high-grade examples all the more. But this living testament to the Babe's dedication to the sport and to the youth that idolized him sets this example apart from and above the rest, evidence that Ruth was not simply a great ballplayer, but a great man as well. Full Grading LOA from PSA/DNA, NM-MT+ 8.5. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.
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