A regal relic from the legendary slugger's greatest season!1958 Ernie Banks "Babe Ruth Sultan of Swat Award" Crown.
It's no small point of pride for the State of Maryland that the greatest figure in the history of our national pastime was born and bred in Baltimore, entering the world just steps away from the home ballpark of their beloved Orioles. And though his early years in Baltimore baseball saw the young Bambino rise to prominence with his pitching acumen, unquestionably it was Ruth's thunderous offensive power that became his calling card, and that established him as the most famous athlete on Earth.
So it's little wonder that the "Maryland Professional Baseball Players Association" found the most appropriate method of honoring the state's favorite son with the special breed of award we proudly offer here, a crown presented annually to the Major League player with the highest slugging average.
The roster of recipients reads like a Hall of Fame roll call: Williams, Mantle, Killebrew, Schmidt. And, in 1958, the honor went to another immortal of our national pastime, a man enjoying the first of a two-season reign as National League MVP. Banks' stat line for the season is awash in the bold ink of league supremacy--including top marks for home runs (47) and RBI's (129)--but this was, rather remarkably, his sole season as the owner of the Senior Circuit's top slugging percentage.
The extensively engraved crown supplies all relevant details, so we'll allow it to do the talking:
Panel 1: Babe Ruth Sultan of Swat Award Presented to Ernie Banks for Outstanding Batting Achievement, 1958, Maryland Professional Baseball Players Association.
Panel 2: Major League record for bases loaded HR in one season - 5 in 1955. Major League record for HR by a shortstop - 47 in 1958.
Panel 3: National League's Most Valuable Player, 1958.
Panel 4: Led National League in 1958: Home Runs- 47, RBI 129.
The lot includes a fantastic photograph (modern print) of Banks wearing the ostentatious symbol of excellence, looking a bit embarrassed by all the attention but also wearing, as always, that 1000-watt smile. The crown exhibits a few small dents from nearly six decades of storage and display, but nothing that materially affects the glorious aesthetics. Unquestionably one of the most important Banks pieces ever to be made available at public auction. Letter of provenance from the Estate of Ernie Banks.
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