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    1924 Muddy Ruel Game Worn Tour of Europe Uniform from the Herold "Muddy" Ruel Collection. It's among the most exceptional pre-war flannels to reach the auction block in recent memory, believed to be one of only two White Sox uniforms from the historic 1924 Goodwill Tour of Europe extant. But while fellow Washington Senator Sam Rice's identical full uniform has found a permanent home in the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, this exceptional rarity will soon become the private holding of a discerning uniform collector. As is every piece offered under the heading of "The Muddy Ruel Collection," this jersey and matching pants are consigned directly by Muddy's son, and are offered for the very first time to the collecting public.

    Baseball statisticians will instantly note that Ruel never actually played for the Chicago White Sox, the team represented by the offered uniform. After all, Ruel was the big star of the Washington Senators that season, plating the Game Seven run that earned Walter Johnson and the District of Columbia their only World Championship. But Muddy, by virtue of his superior skills and his heroic turn in October, and his teammate Rice, a future Hall of Famer, were offered positions with the team when members of the Sox opted out of the transatlantic journey. Interestingly, both the daughter of Rice and the son of Ruel have confirmed that the White Sox Tour of Europe uniforms were the only ones their fathers kept from their playing days, almost certainly because it represented the only time that the club did not collect each player's gamers at the close of a season. Though, of course, one could also reasonably surmise that the exceptional beauty and historic nature of the uniforms would prompt the pair to hold on to these fantastic keepsakes.

    Though not as widely known as the Tour of Japan that would bring Ruth, Gehrig and the gang to the Far East a decade later, the Goodwill Tour of Europe was tremendous baseball news at the time, featuring a cast of characters swimming with Hall of Fame credentials. Representing the opposing New York Giants were the managers John McGraw and Hughie Jennings, future manager Casey Stengel, Hack Wilson, Frank Frisch and Travis Jackson, while the White Sox boasted owner Charles Comiskey, manager John Evers, Sam Rice, Red Faber, Eddie Collins and Ted Lyons. So when it came time to pick a catcher to replace an absent Buck Crouse of the White Sox, the club sought out the best backstop in the American League at the time, Herold "Muddy" Ruel.

    The heavy wool flannel uniform issued to the superstar "ringer" is of the utmost quality and aesthetic appeal, simply one of the most gorgeous ever to be worn on the baseball diamond, foreign or domestic. The jersey front offers a red and navy felt lettered "Chicago," utilizing the full city name and Old English font not seen on White Sox jerseys since the club moved exclusively to the "Sox" over the heart for both homes and roads in 1917. While, coincidentally, the club did dabble with patriotic coloring for the jerseys worn in the World Series of 1917, it should be likewise noted that the red, white and blue also represents a serious departure from any style used by the club, though the reasoning for the choice of this color palette in the context of the Tour is obvious. The pullover-style offers a four-button front, topped by a cadet collar with blue and red piping and a small and fantastic red and blue star on each side of the button. Though perhaps most glorious of all design features are the simply sensational American flag patches on each sleeve, constructed entirely of four colors of hand-cut felt. A "Spalding" label is sewn inside the collar, below which is a machine stamped swatch reading "Chicago, Ruel 40." Finally, a black thread embroidered "Ruel" is located in the rear tail.

    The matching pants continue in the same dramatic vein, with red and blue piping matching that of the jersey's collar and sleeve cuffs running the lengths of the outseams. Some very light rust toning at the waistband clasp is hardly worth mentioning, and is not visible upon display. Again we find the "Spalding" label inside the waistband, with a similar machine stamped tag to the jersey's, reading "Chicago Ruel 36." The button path of the fly holds an embroidered "Ruel" identical to that in the jersey tail.

    Wear is appropriately light, and careful storage of the jersey in the Ruel family for eight decades has left it in unimaginably perfect NM-MT condition. And as if the news could get any better, accompanying the lot is a second-generation 8x10" photograph of Ruel wearing this uniform as he bows slightly and shakes the hand of England's King George V. The authenticators, having seen it all, unhesitatingly pronounced it one of the most special pieces they've ever handled, calling it "unimprovable." The grade echoes their sentiments. MEARS A10. LOA from MEARS. LOA from Lou Lampson.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2005
    29th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,604

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