NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There is no other sports paraphernalia that people go more crazy for than baseball — and no other player are fans more in awe of than Babe Ruth.
On July 11, the 100th anniversary of the Yankees legend’s major league debut, the largest auction of memorabilia from the “Bambino” will be held.
CBS 2’s Otis Livingston got a glimpse of the auction items during a preview Wednesday at NYY Steak in Midtown.
Among the most compelling items is a document that finalized the sale of Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees in 1919. Boston owner Harry Frazee accepted $100,000 from the Yankees for Ruth so he could finance a musical called “No-No Nanette,” starting the Curse of the Bambino.
“Everyone is familiar with the Babe Ruth sale from the Red Sox to the Yankees in 1919,” said Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions. “What they’re not familiar with is how the Yankees paid. What I’m holding is the original promissory note that the Yankees gave to the Red Sox in 1919 for payment for Babe Ruth.”
That document could fetch as much as $200,000.
And what would a Babe Ruth auction be without a home run ball?
Oddly enough, one up for grabs wasn’t even among the 714 regular season homers Ruth hit.
“They just built the House that Ruth Built in 1923,” Goldin said. “It was two months before opening day. They wanted to measure the right-field fence, make sure it was comfortable for him. They took the snow off the ground. It was the middle of winter. He went out, took batting practice. The first ball he hit — it was not an official game, but is the first official home run at Yankee Stadium.”
The ball could be worth millions.
Ruth was larger than life, and so were his hands. One of the more unique items being auctioned is Ruth’s original handprint.
“Baseball Magazine, in 1934, they sent Babe to a psychic hand reader to read his palm,” Goldin said. “It’s one of only two known in the world, and people always like to walk up to it and say, ‘OK, how does my hand measure up to Babe Ruth’s hand?’
“So if you want something about as personal to Babe Ruth that you can ever get, it’s got to be his original palm print from 1934.
Not everything being auctioned is a high-end item. Goldin said bidding on some items will begin as low as $100.
While the big auction will be held July 11, an online auction is already underway.
Inside that auction, there is a pair of game-worn pants that haven’t been washed since the 1930s. They are expected to sell for about $100,000.
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