No player in baseball history has ever matched the fame of Babe Ruth, the man who set a great number of records as a pitcher and slugging outfielder and was on three World Series championship teams. During his career lasting for 22 seasons, Babe became one of the most admired athletes in the world.
With a career like that, it is no wonder that Babe Ruth memorabilia still grows in value, remaining highly sought after. From game-used bats and autographed bats to jerseys and jewelry, all personally owned by Ruth, the player’s memorabilia has proven to be quite the investment.
However, there are very few things connected to Babe Ruth that can match the value of the 1927 World Series ring or the contract he signed with the Yankees back in 1919. These extremely valuable baseball artifacts are being auctioned off at the Lelands.com auction at the moment, and as Josh Evans, founder of Lelands, told CNBC, Ruth’s 1927 World Series ring and the contract are the best pieces of sports memorabilia that have ever been offered.
Since 2012, when Lelands.com privately sold a baseball jersey worn by Babe Ruth for a whopping $4.5 million, the world record was set for the highest amount received for any sports memorabilia ever sold. However, they are hoping to break that record with the sale of the 1919 contract.
The 1919 contract (the Yankees’ copy), five pages long, is considered to be one of the most important documents in sports history. It’s connected to the legendary myth known as the “Curse of the Bambino.” In 1919, the Red Sox changed ownership and Harry Frazee, the new owner, decided to sell Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $100,000 (nearly $1.5 million in today’s money). It was the beginning of the “Curse” and for the following 86 years, the Boston Red Sox baseball team failed to win the World Series.
No one knows for sure why Harry Frazee decided to sell Babe, but reportedly Frazee, who was also a theater producer, did it so he could finance the production of a Broadway musical called No No Nanette. The “Curse of the Bambino” was lifted in 2004 when the Red Sox finally won the World Series.
— Sun-Times Sports (@suntimes_sports) May 26, 2017
The Boston Red Sox copy of the deal was sold in 2004 for $996,000, and the opening bid for the Jacob Ruppert copy (iconic New York Yankees owner) was $100.000. The contract that changed the game of baseball was up to $259,374 as of Wednesday 31 May.
The other key baseball artifact is Ruth’s World Series ring from the 1927 Yankees win, and according to Lelands, it is without a doubt the finest piece of all.
The 1927 Yankees team led by Babe Ruth could be the greatest baseball team ever assembled. It was the Yankees’ 25th season and they managed to finish it with a record of 110–44. The 1927 killer team lineup, consisting of Earle Combs, Mark Koenig, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel, and Tony Lazzeri, swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 26, 2017
Just like the 1919 contract, Ruth’s ring started at $100,000 and has a current bid of $313,842. Engraved inside the ring is the name “G. H. Ruth” and according to Lelands, this ring from the 1927 Yankees is baseball’s true Holy Grail.
Ruth’s ring is not even close to the $4.5 million baseball jersey worn by him that was sold in 2012, but the auction closes on June 30 and so we have time to see if there’s another world record break-through.