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    Nearly two decades after his first, the Babe completes 94th pitching victory!

    1933 Babe Ruth's Final Career Pitched Baseball Signed by Ruth, Gehrig and Last Out Victim George Stumpf. "Ruth made a grave mistake when he gave up pitching. Working once a week he might have lasted a long time and become a great star." It's one of Tris Speaker's best lines, spoken around the time he joined the Yankees legend as part of the inaugural class of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Speaker had enjoyed a front row seat to the Babe's pitching brilliance, sharing a Fenway dugout during the young southpaw's first two seasons in the Bigs, and it seemed only fitting that Ruth would face the team that gave him his start for his final act at the center of the diamond.

    Well past his pitching prime at age thirty-eight, Ruth was afforded this stroll down memory lane in the final game of the 1933 season because the result was meaningless, the Washington Senators having secured the American League pennant ten days earlier. Though the Babe would surrender twelve hits, three walks and five earned runs in the October 1st contest, the performance was good enough to earn a six-to-five victory, with Ruth himself providing the winning margin in the form of a fifth inning solo shot, his thirty-fourth homer of the season.

    Ruth would work a perfect bottom of the ninth to close the show, coaxing a fly ball to right off the bat of Red Sox center fielder George Stumpf for the final out of both his pitching career and the 1933 Yankees season.

    The next fifty years of the ball's history are shrouded in mystery, but our consignor reports that he inherited the ball from his aunt in the 1980's. She had lived in New Orleans and was married to Bob Turley's father, though Turley's Yankees tenure was decades after Ruth. The most likely story is that Stumpf himself, or possibly Dixie Walker, who caught the last out, gifted the ball to Turley or his father. Both men had connections to the New Orleans area.

    Despite the hazy provenance, we remain entirely confident of the validity of our lot title, as the lone addition of Stumpf (a .235 lifetime hitter who played just 118 games of Major League ball) to the legendary duo of Ruth and Gehrig makes no sense otherwise. We also can report that the OAL (Harridge) ball is correct, a two-season style (1932-33). Solid-red stitching would debut in 1934, making this the last two-toned model ever used in Yankees history, another interesting historical footnote. Letter of provenance from Turley family member. Full LOA from PSA/DNA.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2019
    23rd-24th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,522

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