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. pozin

    No wonder my $20 bid was not accepted.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Now •that• was funny, I don't care who you are....

      May 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Raymundo

    Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens ........ baseballs dark era of juiced up cheaters. Try to justify all you want, he gets NO credit or respect in the eyes of true sports fans. Wake up, finesse and hand eye coordination? Sure, that puts the bat on the ball, but it's the muscles that STEROIDS built that put it over the fence. The "pre-steroid Barry Bonds may have been a great hitter for average but he's no home run king without chemicals! Sorry NO respect at all.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ Strong

      Actually, the steroids help with your average too. It fights fatigue which makes you more accurate at the plate. Bonds stats were consistantly 310 to 330 avg and 30 homers a year. Very good and HOF.....but not legenary. And who knows if he could have kept it up with out the drugs.

      May 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • claybigsby

      you guys fail to realize bonds had over 500 stolen bases in his career, most during his pirate days.....a huge feat that isn't steroid induced.

      May 21, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonny b Good

      Babe also played ball for about 30 years, so that helps with the number of chances to hit a homer. He was great. I am just saying that there are alot of factors at play, not just steriods (if so then no advantage is present because no one used them back then and some fields were smaller, so all players where even by the "steriod only" logic). Something to ponder.

      May 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sabrina Bergman

    Wow, The Scream painting that my 4 year old nephew could have drawn went for over 110 M dollars. The best baseball player in history's uniform gets 4 M? An American Icon and at one point the most photographed person on the planet...

    May 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Andrew K. in Boston

    Babe Ruth was the most ROIDED out baseball player EVER!! He was the first to use the roids!!

    May 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Trolling?

      May 21, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Red Sox fans are still crying 100 years later.

      May 21, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • hardcase59

      Waaaaa!!!

      May 21, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ThatGuy

    Does it still stink from the game he played in it ? If not, it's not worth more than couple hundred bucks !

    May 21, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe

    Sad that this is what people waste their money on

    May 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • king_dork

      Just because you wouldn't, doesn't make it sad. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. whiteblaze

    someone will pay 4.4 million on someones old clothes and why are there hungry people in the world???????????

    May 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Hasn't Obama fixed world hunger yet? Does he need more money, again?

      May 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • hardcase59

      I'm not hungry so let the die!

      May 21, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lizabeth

      I am sure the rich boy is a Republican and this is how they will spend money. However they don't want to help little children buy a school lunch and don't you dare not have that baby even if you can't afford to feed it. But don't ask them to help feed it. Such Christians the Bible tells us to feed the hungry not spend millions on a shirt. As said in the Bible "it will be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. So we know where he is going some day.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. BobZemko

    I hear that Hitler's death car only pulled in 2 mil.

    May 21, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • hardcase59

      He died in a bunker.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. GayAtheist

    Baseball is a scam. Baseball is a fraud. Baseball has become boring entertainment. I prefer Rock & Roll.

    May 21, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • hardcase59

      R-n-R is a scam anymore judging by what being played.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    Steriods help your muscles recover faster, hence when you lift weights your muscles builds tissue with less recovery time. One of the things it does is that you get back on the field after injuries. Also may turn what would have been an out into a bloop single or a single gets through the gap and becomes a double or a fly ball becomes a homerun, etc. Babe used beer, hot dogs, cigars and women. He is the best, ever!

    May 21, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Phil

    Babe Ruth learned from a German physicist that steroids were being introduced to pigs to create "superpigs" The Babe took this information and started consuming hot dogs at an alarming rate. It wasn't until after insane wiener consumption did Ruth started putting up the record standing numbers.

    May 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • hardcase59

      Good one!! LOL!!

      May 21, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. unowhoitsme

    What a waste of money...someone that has that kind of money and spends it on 1 outfit needs his head examined. We have children in this country that go to bed hungry at night...now that would be something to "invest" in and stand proud that you did it.

    May 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Robert

    Man, can you imagine what it would be worth if they dug up his corps and taxidermied for a museum?

    May 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. sameeker

    There goes another historical artifact that will be bought by some rich guy and never seen in public again.

    May 21, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. roy

    Too bad this rich guy didn't spend this much money on something useful such as charity to help someone instead of a sweaty half rotted jersey.

    May 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
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