By Judith Egerton • firstname.lastname@example.org • November 15, 2008
A 1938 Brooklyn Dodgers uniform, the last baseball road uniform worn by Babe Ruth, sold for $270,000.
The uniform, which was purchased by and anonymous bidder, was among nearly 900 items of sports memorabilia up for auction today at the Louisville Slugger Museum on Main Street.
Hunt Auctions, a Pennsylvania-based company that handled the auction, said the price paid for the famous slugger’s Spalding jersey and pants was a record for a coach’s uniform.
“Babe Ruth proved once again he is larger then life,” said David Hunt, president of Hunt Auctions. “The prices realized today for the Ruth uniform among others are an excellent indication of the resilience of the sports memorabilia market in the face of a difficult economy.”
Ruth wore the uniform during one season as a first-base coach with the Dodgers. The jersey has Ruth’s name stitched inside near the manufacturer’s tag and shows very little wear. A 1939 World’s Fair patch also is sewn on the left sleeve.
The anonymous buyer, who bid by telephone, will pay $310,500 when auction fees are included.
Most of the memorabilia today related to baseball, but there were also collectibles connected to Louisville native and boxing great Muhammad Ali, including an autographed pair of red Everlast boxing gloves and a 1971 Ali-signed poster by Leroy Neiman featuring Ali versus Joe Frazier.
A 1947 World Middleweight Championship belt worn by Rocky Graziano, which was expected to sell for up to $75,000 was withdrawn because of an ownership dispute.
The auction included several items that once belonged to New York Yankee Thurmon Munson, who died in an airplane crash in 1979. A road jersey sold for $23,000, a clean non-scuffed autographed baseball went for $6,325 and a buyer paid $1,265 for the player’s rubber shower sandals.
Not everyone spent as much as the undisclosed buyer of the Ruth uniform.
A.J. Capelli, 59, a family physician in Kenosha, Wis., came to Louisville with an auction budget of $5,000. He was excited to be the winning bidder for the autographs of baseball players Ruth, Jimmie Foxx and Rogers Hornsby.
“I’m interested in champions,” he said, “I got three autographs that I have always wanted. Isn’t that fun?”