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    1939 Babe Ruth Game Worn Pants from the Hall of Fame Induction Grand Opening Ceremonies, MEARS Authentic. In the famous photo snapped at Doubleday Field that day, the newly-enshrined legend three-quarters of the way through his world-beating swing, you can actually see that every last spectator in the jam-packed grandstand is leaning forward, quite literally on the edges of their seats. The Babe had uncorked a few in 1938 for the batting practice gawkers at Ebbets Field during his sad last stand in the Majors as a first base coach for the Dodgers, but for most of the spectators at Cooperstown, it had been years since they had borne witness to the sport's greatest swing, if they had ever seen it at all.

    Boxers and sluggers will tell you that power is the last thing to go, and the Babe was still able to put on a show despite having gained perhaps thirty pounds since his last professional at-bat. He and the other enshrinees suited up in whatever uniforms they had saved as souvenirs for the post-induction contest between The Collins and The Wagners--Tris Speaker in Indians garb, Walter Johnson wearing the "W"s of the Washington Senators. Ruth is clad in the patriotic jersey and cap in which he'd thrilled the nation of Japan five years earlier, his protruding belly straining the buttons of the historic 1934 Tour shirt.

    But that extra weight was apparently more than the matching Tour of Japan pants could contain. Each member of that Oriental excursion was issued a single uniform, appropriately road grey for a visiting team, and some of the more famous members' examples have sold publicly. Heritage was privileged to offer that of the noble Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig. You'll note that the uniform pants featured distinctive red, white and blue piping down the exterior seams. That design trait is absent in the Cooperstown photography, though otherwise the flannel used in the offered pants is a perfect match to that of the Tour jerseys.

    We arrive at our opinion that these pants were ordered and worn by Ruth for the Grand Opening of the Hall of Fame events through a process of logic and elimination. Beyond their unfailing fidelity to photographic imagery from that day, we can report that the experts at MEARS have excluded all Major League service from consideration. The "44" flap tag anchored by the "Spalding" label at interior collar assures post-1937 production, and 1938 Brooklyn Dodgers road pants featured a narrow band of blue piping on the outer leg that these pants do not.

    The MEARS letter likewise assures that the "Babe Ruth" embroidery at interior waistband is original to "Spalding" production, matching the chain-stitched styling of period garments. Lead authenticator Dave Grob expresses that when, "...this embroidery was examined under a digital microscope, I found that the fabric was darker as it entered and exited the body of the fabric. This too is what I would have expected to have found with an original and period application."

    While Ruth made several appearances at Yankee Stadium in his later years, it would go without saying he only wore home pinstripes as he appeared at the House that He Built. The uniform he wore as part of the "Academy of Sport" at the 1939 World's Fair in New York City was likewise crafted in home white flannel. Ruth did make one film appearance after 1937, in the famous Lou Gehrig biopic, "The Pride of the Yankees," but those uniforms were manufactured by "Goldsmith," not "Spalding." He also served as a coach for the 1945 Esquire All-American Boys game at the Polo Grounds in 1945, but, again, he wore white, and all uniforms featured exterior leg piping anyhow. We are aware of no other occasions in which Spalding would have issued road grey pants to Babe Ruth after 1937 but for the 1939 Cooperstown ceremonies.

    Light wear is to be expected for such a limited term of use, and the garment otherwise exhibits not a single condition concern of note. LOA from MEARS, Authentic.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2017
    19th Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,832

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