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Babe Ruth Signed 697th Home Run Ball - His Sixteenth and Final Grand Slam Ball
Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $22,325.00
Please Note: This ball comes with an LOA from James Spence/JSA. That fact was mistakenly omitted in the original catalog description.
On June 24, 1934, in a game against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium, Babe Ruth hit his 697th career home run off of right-hander "Sad" Sam Jones. The home run was an especially important one, as it not only snapped a twenty-one at-bat hitless streak for Ruth, but also came with the bases loaded, making it the sixteenth and final grand slam of his illustrious career. Offered here is what we believe to be the very home-run ball hit by Ruth on that day. It is also accompanied by compelling evidence to support that claim. The ball was caught by our consignor's father, who was sitting in the right-field bleachers that afternoon, and it has remained in his family's sole possession these past seventy-three years. Ideally, the consignor has provided a notarized letter detailing the ball's history. According to his testimony, his dad, who was an avid Yankee fan, attended the Yankees game on Sunday, June 24, 1934, purchasing a bleacher seat for himself. After describing Ruth's home run in great detail his letter closes by stating, "The amazing thing was that my father was on the receiving end of the home run ball. He caught it and then waited for the Babe to come out after the game and had him autograph it. My dad wrote the date on the ball so he could document it. My dad passed away six years ago and it was unfortunate that I did not ask my dad to write a letter himself about the events that happened. My dad gave me the ball before he passed away and I have it in my possession. These are the true events that were passed down to me...his son." Ruth did indeed sign it, as his black fountain pen signature rests squarely upon the sweet spot of this official American League (Harridge) ball. The signature grades "6" overall and is covered by a strip of vintage clear tape that has since toned with age. On the side panel to the right of Ruth's signature is the handwritten date (also in black fountain pen), "June 24, 1934." Like the signature, the date is also covered with a strip of vintage clear tape that is similarly toned with age. The red-and-blue stitched ball is moderately soiled, displaying a number of light abrasions along the entire surface; a condition consistent with it having been a game-used ball. An accompanying copy of the June 25, 1934, New York Times article on the game corroborates the facts regarding Ruth's 697th home run and even makes mention (though unfortunately not by name) of the gentleman who caught the ball: "In the second inning, with three on the bases and two men out, the Yankees were wondering about a one-run lead acquired in the first inning, and one ball had been called. Then, Ruth leaned against the next pitch of Sad Sam Jones and sent it high and far into the deep recess of the exposed bleachers. None in the crowd was happier than the man who captured the ball when it finally came to rest...It was the eleventh circuit smash for Ruth and it brought him to within three of the 700 home-run goal he has set for himself." While no one from Robert Edward Auctions was present on that day to witness the events recounted here, we feel that the facts, as presented, strongly indicate that this is indeed Ruth's 697th home run ball. Both the signature and date written on the side panel are clearly vintage, as is the decades-old tape applied atop both. Further, the ball is an official American League ball, displaying appropriate use, and has remained in the family's possession since 1934. Having spoken at length with the owner, we believe him to be credible. In addition, the fact that newspaper accounts specifically reference a lucky fan catching the ball at all (a very rare reference of this type) is, in itself, of special note. Lastly, the consignor is a noncollector and willingly consented to provide a notarized letter, the veracity of which we have no reason to doubt, and is willing to speak with any interested bidders or provide any additional documentation that it is possible to provide. Many items require "a leap of faith," and this is an example of such an item, but sometimes this leap is not very great. We believe that to be the case here. We would love to be able to provide definitive proof but that is rarely possible for any home run ball from decades ago. At the very least this is a Babe Ruth single-signed baseball dating from his final season with the Yankees. At the very most it is exactly what we believe it to be, and exactly what the family who has treasured this ball for the past seventy-three years believes it to be: Babe Ruth's 697th home run baseball, also representing the sixteenth and final grand slam of his career. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $22,325.00
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