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    So long, Babe...

    1935 Babe Ruth Final Career Game Worn Boston Braves Cap, MEARS Authentic.

    He was a flesh and blood Paul Bunyan, straddling the line between fact and fiction with athletic feats that could be called "incredible" by every variation of that word's definition. Much of the legend is verified by the record books, while other parts veer closer to religious belief, toward a faith that the impossible could be made possible by those great enough to bend the will of reality. We suspect not even Ruth himself could be certain whether or not he called his shot in the 1932 World Series, or if his home runs for a bedridden Johnny Sylvester six years earlier had actually cured the youngster of his ills.

    There are many who still believe the "blaze of glory" fable as the true account of the Babe's farewell to the game, but, in typical Ruthian fashion, the real story is a concoction of equal parts fact and fantasy. It is documented that, after staggering through his first twenty-three games of the 1935 season to an embarrassing batting average of .153, Ruth suddenly caught fire in the final contest of a three-game stand in Pittsburgh on May 25th, blasting the final three home runs of his career in a last, glorious power surge. The ball that secured the hat trick, career home run number 714, soared over the right field roof of the twenty-six year old stadium, becoming the very first fair ball to escape the cavernous confines of Forbes Field.

    This is how Ruth's career concludes in the famous but objectively awful 1992 biopic starring John Goodman, but real life rarely offers the satisfying conclusion that a Hollywood screenwriter is paid to supply.

    In point of fact, Babe Ruth would make five more appearances before surrendering to the inevitability of his decline, going hitless in those subsequent nine at-bats. The end would come during the first game of a doubleheader at Philadelphia's Baker Bowl on May 30, 1935 when the forty-year old legend was lifted by manager Bill McKechnie after misplaying an easy fly ball in the outfield in the first inning. As he left through the center field fence following the eventual third out, the Phillies crowd understood the significance, and rose to their feet in a standing ovation.

    Among them was a gentleman by the name of William Sundstrom, who was attending the game with his two-year old son, William, Jr. In typical Ruth fashion, the slugger spotted the toddler as he departed and removed the cap from his head, handing it to the man and telling him it was for the boy. A 2002 letter of provenance from that boy's son recounts the charming tale.

    The navy blue crown of the cap presents the Braves' logo "B" above a red visor, and flips to reveal an interior leather headband properly embroidered with the important, "G. Ruth" designation, perfectly matching other known exemplars. A small area of fabric loss, perhaps the total surface area of a dime, appears on the green underside of the visor, but otherwise the relic reveals no condition concerns worthy of mention.

    Fourteen years after its first appearance within the collecting hobby, this supremely important relic has again surfaced to tempt the collectible market's most qualified suitors. Overstatement of the significance of the cap is virtually impossible, the very one that was tipped to the crowd to signal the closing of the greatest chapter in the story of our national pastime. Letter of provenance from family of original recipient. LOA from MEARS, Authentic. LOA from Heritage Auctions.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,594

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