While the paths in sporting arenas worldwide are flecked with moments and performers that transcend their respective games, there has not been (and likely will never be) an athlete quite as glamorous, iconic and beloved as Babe Ruth. From his truant endeavors on the streets of Baltimore through a strict upbringing at St. Mary’s school, through a Major League career spanning parts of three decades, Ruth never strayed from a script that prompted attention and, most of all, superlatives. The offered baseball was autographed by Ruth during a time in which his physical skills had clearly begun to wane, but his personality and demeanor stood apart to define him perhaps more than they had at any other portion of his legendary career.
Arguably as breathtaking as Ruth’s vigorous swing and twisted torso, this OAL Harridge sphere (grade “7”) showcases a clean, somewhat creamy surface accented by alternating red-and-blue laces and prominent trademark stampings that date specifically to 1932-1933, coinciding with the start of Harridge’s presidency. The centerpiece, of course, is Ruth’s magnificent penning. In its rightful occupancy of the sweet spot, Ruth’s red-ink scripting resonates every bit of (“7”) potency. The upper-case “B” and “R” characters are unmistakable introductions for a name which had long-since abandoned the quotation marks around “Babe.”
Ruth, now 38 years old, determined his own playing time in 1932, frequently giving way in the late innings to teammates Sammy Byrd or Myril Hoag; his “caddies” or “legs.” And though he hit a robust .341 that year, it was clear the stars such as Foxx and Gehrig were more powerful. For the first time since 1925 (and only the third time since 1918), Ruth did not win the home run title. Still, the 1932 World Series was marked by what many consider Ruth’s crowning achievement: a “called shot” in Game 3 at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Accounts (many apocryphal) vary. In separate adaptations well after the fact, both Ruth and home plate umpire George Magerkurth claim that Ruth pointed to center field. Both, however had the count incorrect in their versions (Ruth claimed it was 0-2, Magerkurth said 3-2). In reality, it was a 2-2 pitch. Still, supporting the case, the humble and ever-truthful Lou Gehrig (who was in the on-deck circle at the time) said: "Babe was jawing with Root and what he said was: 'I'm going to knock the next pitch right down your Goddamned throat.'" And what followed was the longest home run ever hit at Wrigley Field. Whether or not Ruth predicted his shot, the assumption that he did was consistent with his behavior and showmanship. If anyone could do it, it was Ruth. This ball coincides with that Fall Classic legend and, whatever the reality on Chicago’s North Side that day, Ruth remains a baseball deity and this autographed orb is among the most outstanding you’ll ever see. Full photo LOA from JSA.