The Bambino tours the nation at the pinnacle of his career1927-28 Babe Ruth Game Worn "Bustin' Babes" Barnstorming Cap.
It was either the Babe's love of pastries or love of beautiful women that accounts for the survival of this rare and glorious artifact, and what could be more fitting than that? For a baseball legend famous for his prodigious appetites for both, the story is no surprise. Perhaps the most fiercely American icon of the twentieth century, the great Bambino stands as the epitome of the Dream, rising from humble beginnings in a Baltimore orphanage to the pinnacle of wealth and fame, engaging every whim along the way. It's little surprise that he still reigns as the most important figure in any fine sports memorabilia collection.
Those well versed in the baseball collectibles market are well aware that practically nothing beyond autographs from the famous barnstorming tour headlined by Yankee sluggers Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig has found its way into the modern hobby. Heritage was thrilled to encounter a matched pair of "Bustin' Babes" and "Larrupin' Lous" pennants several auction cycles ago, but this offering is simply once in a lifetime.
The call came to us from the grandson of a particularly skilled, and presumably quite attractive young pastry chef for a noted Santa Barbara, California hotel in the late 1920's. As the tale had been related to him, the unique cap that had been passed down through her family for decades was a gift to her grandmother by this most legendary of baseball stars at the close of either the 1927 or 1928 tour that showcased the premier figures of the World Champion New York Yankees line-up. As the story goes, Ruth was quite fond of this young woman, and one can only wonder if the Babe's affection sprung from his belly or a bit further south.
When it was described to us on the phone, we could scarcely believe it. A white cap with a black visor and "BB" on the front? Babe Ruth stitched into the leather headband? Could it really be?
Indeed it is. Heritage is proud and honored to present this remarkable keepsake dating to the apex of the Babe's talent and fame. Arguably even more desirable than the few Yankees caps that survive from Ruth's Major League tenure, this lone survivor is simply one of a kind, and the only cap that can be definitively linked to this most important of eras. Furthermore, it stands as a living testament to Ruth's baseball ambassadorship, spreading the gospel first to the western United States with this tour, and later to the Far East in the 1930's. For countless thousands without access to an American League park, the image of Ruth in this cap is the only one they experienced in person.
Despite eight decades of life, the visible signs of aging are not particularly troubling. A little toning to the white crown, a few moth holes to the floppy visor, the double "B's" and the black button on top. Our catalog imagery should accurate illustrate that the faults do little to distract. The interior leather headband, where we find the artfully embroidered "Babe Ruth" remains surprisingly undamaged, and we can even make out the ancient "Spalding" stamping very clearly.
It is a statement perhaps overused in the auction world, but never has it been more appropriate--this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the serious collector. There is simply no reason to believe that the hobby will ever encounter another Babe Ruth game worn piece from this historic barnstorming tour. The price tag will surely be a steep one, but if there has ever been a Ruth game worn item that hasn't far outpaced the stock market over the past ten years, we aren't aware of it. This is an investment. Bid to win. LOA from MEARS, Authentic. LOA from Heritage Auctions.
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