Babe Ruth jersey sells for record $4.4 million at auction
May 21st, 2012
01:18 PM ET

Babe Ruth jersey sells for record $4.4 million at auction

A jersey worn by New York Yankee Hall of Famer Babe Ruth has sold at auction for $4.4 million, the most ever paid for a piece of sports memorabilia, a California auction house announced.

The $4,415,658 paid for the 1920s away jersey eclipsed the $4,338,500 paid in 2010 for an original copy of James Naismith's founding rules of basketball, SCP Auctions of Laguna Niguel said in a statement.

The 1920s jersey was on display in a Baltimore museum.

"We are honored to, once again, be a part of history,” David Kohler, president of SCP Auctions, said in a statement. “This proves again that Babe Ruth is king in the sports memorabilia world."

The jersey was bought by Lelands.com, a New York auctioneer of memorabilia from sports, rock 'n' roll, American collectibles and vintage photography.

"We are ecstatic about the purchase of his earliest known Yankees jersey," Mike Heffner, president of Lelands.com, said in a statement. "It's like buying a priceless painting, the pinnacle of sports memorabilia."

The company plans to offer the jersey to a private buyer.

The jersey had been on display in the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum in Baltimore.

Also sold during the auction was a Ruth cap from the 1930s. Owned by former Yankees pitcher David Wells, it went for $537,278, a record for a cap, according to the auction house. Wells wore the cap while pitching for the Yankees on June 28, 1997, it said.

Ruth played for the Yankees from 1920 through 1934, part of a 22-year career that began in 1914 with the Boston Red Sox and finished in 1935 with the Boston Braves.

Ruth hit 714 home runs in his career and was baseball's all-time home run leader until Hank Aaron passed him in 1974. Barry Bonds subsequently passed both Ruth and Aaron to become baseball's home run king.

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Filed under: Auctions • Baseball • Sports
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. PEDO BEAR

    In the words of the immortal Sloth:

    "Ruth! Ruth! Baby! Ruth! "

    May 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tooter

    Dear God and we have hungry people in America. Few have enough money to do this but I would imagine he would not give one dime to feed a hungry child but 4.4 MILLION for a shirt. God Bless America!

    May 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • lololol

      I don't think they is anyone hungry in America

      May 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeeNYC

      another story on CNN is about big fat overweight kids.

      May 21, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John

    Tooter,
    Sell your computer and donate the money to charity. You can improve the internet and help the needy all at the same time.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      But don't you see? The duty to help the poor belongs to everyone else but tooter.

      May 21, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lizabeth

      Hey no problem I am sure they Tooter would have not problem doing that if they had 4.4 million. Now your point was?

      May 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. acajunthatsagun

    Yep, we certainly have our priorities right.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dan

    Whoopty doo, some sports guy who's been dead for 60 years, buy his shirt for millions.The fact that it's worth that much is disgusting enough on its own, but the fact that it warrants a news article is even more so. Alex Trebek has been entertaining more people for longer than Babe Ruth did, I doubt his shirt would fetch $300 at auction and that's probably retail price.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • jackson.polyps

      Alex Trebec never hit 714 home runs, maybe if he had his shirt would sell for more!!

      May 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John

    Barry and his drug of choice broke the record. Lets' get it straight for once CNN!!!

    May 21, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Barry Barry What Have You DONE

    Yeah Barry has the record************************************************

    May 21, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Karen

    How else are you going to launder your money?

    May 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    An asterisk should be placed next to Babe Ruth's home run record! When he played, the league was segregated and he never played against the top African-American and latin players! I'd rather have Barry Bonds jersey! Barry Bonds is the greatest slugger to ever play the game!

    May 21, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nomad

      Depends how you define slugger don't you think.

      May 21, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Is it true his jock strap went for $160,000?

    May 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Hank A

    My smelly dirty clothes are worth just as much!!!!

    May 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Raymundo

    Hank Aaron yes absolutely! But Barry "steroids" Bonds get no recognition or respect from me.

    May 21, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      There's no proof that Bonds used steroids, only speculation! Furthermore, steroids don't make a baseball player a home run hitter! Hitting home runs in baseball require hand and eye coordination! A quick bat may help you with a quick swing but what accounts for Barry Bonds hitting so many home runs off change ups, sliders, breaking balls, etc? The scouts said don't throw Barry the fast ball because he's got a fast bat! Then they said, throw him lots of sinkers and change, etc and you'll get him outetc! So what did Barry do? Well, he hit them all out the ball park because he was an experienced and gifted hitter who used hand and eye coordination to perfec tion! Babe who?

      May 21, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nomad

      @ Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer
      .
      Steroids however do allow you to recover faster from injury. Get a grip. He cheated

      May 21, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nomad

    Barry who?

    May 21, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nomad

    The Babe did it on beer and hot dogs at that. Hammerin Hank perservered time and some ruthless supremicists. Barry did it with a little help from his friends. Still a feat but Brry cannot be compared with the Babe and Hank

    May 21, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Let's face it, baseball is a finesse sport that doesn't require brute force like football to be effective! For example, many baseball players have used steroids in the past but if steroids did in fact make a baseball player excell, then why aren't there perfect games and no hitters being tossed day in and day out? Why aren't there base runners stealing record numbers of bases day in and day out? And why aren't home run hitters hitting home runs day in and day out? That is because baseball is a finesse sport that requires more technique than brute force to be effective! It is alleged that Barry Bonds home run records were aided by steroid usage but do you know who has the longest home run in feet in major league baseball? Albert Pujohls! Hey, give Barry the credit he deserves!

      May 21, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ZepLedHead

    No thanks but I'll take her phone number for some handywork...

    May 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
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