1919 Pacific Coast Barnstorming-Tour Program Featuring Babe Ruth and Three Members of the Infamous "Black Sox"

Sold For: $1,200

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 1620

Item Year: 1919

Category: Post-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Rare program issued for a West Coast barnstorming tour in the fall of 1919 featuring Babe Ruth, Sam Crawford, and three members of the infamous 1919 Chicago "Black Sox": Buck Weaver, Chick Gandil, and Fred McMullin. This is the only example we have ever seen of this program, which documents one of the last games (perhaps the very last) Babe Ruth ever played while still under contract with the Boston Red Sox. That Ruth was the star of the tour and the main attraction is readily apparent by the text on the cover that reads "Pacific Coast Tour/Babe Ruth/Boston Red Sox Outfielder-Pitcher/The Champion Home-Run Hitter of the World/Washington Park - November First and Second/Buck Weaver vs. Red Killifer's/All Stars." Further evidence of Ruth's stardom at the time is a full-page testimonial ad on the interior front cover from silent-film comedian Al St. John that reads "Success to the 'Home-Run' King/'Babe' Ruth/A Credit to the National Game/Al. St. John." The four interior pages include the preprinted lineups for each club, as well as a full-page biography of Ruth and a listing of both his lifetime pitching and hitting statistics, including World Series play. Ruth is listed here as a member of Buck Weaver's team, while Crawford and the two other White Sox players, Gandil and Mullin, are members of Killifer's squad. Ruth's contract was sold to the Yankees on December 26, 1919, but the deal was not announced to the public until January 3, 1920. During that interim, the Yankees manager, Miller Huggins, traveled to California to meet with Ruth and hammer out a new contract, which saw Ruth double his salary from the previous season. Although no city or state is listed on the program, Washington Park was located in Los Angeles, California, and was home to both the Los Angeles Angels and Vernon Tigers of the Pacific Coast League. Little did the fans know at the time of this game that Ruth would not only be traded to the Yankees two months later, but that he would become an even more prolific slugger with the "Bronx Bombers," or that three of the other stars from the tour, Weaver, Gandil, and McMullin, would be banned from baseball for life in 1921. The program (11.5 x 8.75 inches), which is not scored, displays wear commensurate with its age, fragile nature, and former use, including separation of both covers from the spine, a vertical center fold, and small edge tears. In Good condition overall. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open).

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