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    The great Bambino finally gets to hold the reins...

    1945 Babe Ruth Game Worn Coaching Uniform from Esquire Magazine "All-America Game" -- Photo Matched!
    Few figures in history more perfectly represent the realization of "The American Dream" than George Herman Ruth, born into relative poverty in the closing years of the 19th century and effectively abandoned by his family at age seven to live out his adolescence in a reformatory where he'd begin his rise to global fame through a preternatural aptitude for our national pastime. It's an extraordinary rags-to-riches tale that continues to resonate as we mark seven decades since the Babe's passing.

    While any baseball uniform that once contained the sport's most celebrated figure is an artifact of tremendous historical significance, this particular example speaks directly to both the greatest joy and greatest disappointment of Ruth's fascinating biography. Despite the Babe's peerless celebrity, he remained a faithful, humble servant to the youth of America. One of our favorite Ruth anecdotes was told in a televised documentary by an elderly man who had been a Yankee Stadium peanut vendor as a young boy in the 1920's. He recounted that Ruth would often spend hours deep in the bowels of Yankee Stadium, helping to transfer the massive sacks of peanuts into the individual bags that would be hawked in the stands, and commonly tipping the star-struck boys with significant sums of money at the end of the project. His extraordinary generosity was not just for the cameras. It was 100% authentic.

    Yet in the midst of the roaring ovations, the massive contracts, the World Championships and world records, there was also genuine disappointment and regret. The Babe's greatest unrealized dream was a Major League managerial role, a desire that teams like the Boston Braves and Brooklyn Dodgers leveraged to drain the last bit of blood from the stone of Ruth's dwindling talents.

    The pure, undiluted joy Ruth felt as he wore the offered uniform as a warring general against fellow inaugural class Hall of Famer Ty Cobb in the 1945 Esquire Magazine "All-America Game" is apparent in every photograph we've encountered from New York City's Polo Grounds, where Ruth had debuted as a Yankee a quarter century earlier. It may not have been the Major Leagues, but in certain regards it was even better. Ruth famously pronounced during his penultimate appearance at Yankee Stadium in 1947, croaking through his cancer-ravaged throat, "You know, this baseball game of ours comes up from the youth...And after you're a boy and grow up to know how to play ball, then you come to the boys you see representing themselves today in your national pastime, the only real game--I think--in the world, baseball."

    It's the most well-preserved Ruth uniform we've ever encountered, physically perfect in every regard without the first hint of staining or moth damage nearly ubiquitous in decades-old flannel. Fidelity to period photography is exact down to the slightest detail, the patriotic color scheme featuring "All American" in blue felt across the chest with red piping at collar, cuffs and button path. Left sleeve bears a "US Physical Fitness" patch and "1945" identifier, while right holds a chenille Esquire Magazine logo and scripted name. Rear of jersey is blank, as issued. Interior collar is tagged by "Wilson" at interior collar, and while no sizing information is listed, the jersey measures to a massive twenty-seven inches (27") across the chest, finding the Bambino at the absolute heaviest of his life. An embroidered swatch applied at interior lower left tail reads, "Babe Ruth."

    The matching pants hold no identifiers whatsoever, but its approximate forty-six inch (46") waist could only be tailored for Ruth himself. Ironclad provenance removes any doubt, as Ruth's widow Claire gifted the uniform to a top executive in baseball, whose family is the consignor. Their letter of provenance will attend.

    At nearly $4.5 million, a jersey worn during Ruth's early tenure with the New York Yankees represents the highest price ever paid for an article of sports memorabilia at auction, and any other legitimate Yankees gamer would likewise be certain to command a seven-figure sum today. As such, this opportunity to own a genuine Babe Ruth worn uniform at a far more democratic price point will be a welcome one indeed to dozens of collectors who had only dared to dream until now. LOA from Heritage Auctions. LOA from Resolution Photomatching.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2018
    24th-25th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,086

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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