Babe Ruth’s ‘Called Shot’ Jersey Up for Auction

Babe Ruth, the iconic figure in baseball folklore, is set to steal the spotlight once again as his famous “called shot” jersey from the 1932 World Series heads to auction at Heritage Auctions. With an estimated value of a staggering $30 million, this prized possession could rewrite history as the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever to be sold.

The jersey’s narrative stems from a mythical moment on a fateful day nearly a century ago at Wrigley Field, where Ruth, in a bold move, supposedly predicted his home run against the Chicago Cubs. This historical gem has since captivated the baseball world, enveloped in a cloak of mystery and ongoing debate. The authenticity of Ruth donning this very jersey during that iconic game has been backed by meticulous photo matching from two different revered companies, adding an extra layer of allure and potentially increasing its value.

Originally sold in 2005 by Grey Flannel Auctions for $944,000, the jersey’s journey began when it was consigned by the daughter of one of Ruth’s golfing companions. Since then, it has undergone careful conservation work by the Textile Conservation Workshop, repairing a tear while preserving its original grandeur. The jersey impeccably aligns with the style worn by the Yankees during the 1932 season, further cementing its place in baseball history.

Chris Ivy, the Director of Sports Auctions at Heritage, emphasized the unprecedented significance of Ruth’s World Series jersey in the realm of sports memorabilia: “Ruth’s World Series jersey marks a pivotal moment in American sports memorabilia history. It is poised to shatter records and become the most expensive sports collectible ever to grace the auction block.”

The current title holder for the priciest sports collectible is a Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps card, which was sold for a whopping $12.6 million in 2022, also through Heritage Auctions. The highest amount ever paid for a Ruth jersey stands at $5.6 million, obtained for a circa 1928-1930 model sold at Yankee Stadium in 2019 through Hunt Auctions.

The meticulous examination of the provenance and distinctive features of Ruth’s revered “called shot” jersey, such as button placement and unique stains, has been a critical process. These minute details have been thoroughly scrutinized by authenticators like MeiGray, who treat each game-worn jersey as distinct as a fingerprint. This detailed scrutiny provides potential bidders with tangible evidence supporting the jersey’s claim to fame.

Ruth’s legendary home run not only stands as a pivotal moment in the annals of baseball history but also serves as the genesis of an enduring legend. While accounts of the event may vary, Ruth’s unparalleled bravado and performance on that monumental day only heightened his mythical stature. The jersey will be showcased at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland this summer before its auction, scheduled for August 23-25.

This significant auction not only commemorates a crucial relic of sports history but also underscores the burgeoning market for high-value sports memorabilia, captivating collectors and enthusiasts alike who are eager to possess a tangible piece of baseball’s rich tapestry.


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