1920 Babe Ruth Signed Home Run Baseball from Cuba
If you thought you'd never see a really new and "different" Babe Ruth signed ball, you will be knocked out by this one. The ball, the story behind it, and the history it tells is like nothing we've ever heard, and we've seen every piece of Ruth memorabilia there is (at least the ones we want to see). The ball, amazingly in itself, dates back to 1920, which was the Babe's first year with the Yankees after the infamous trade from Boston. After that season -- when he simply exploded, blasting an unheard-of 54 homers (more than every other team in baseball) and hitting .376 with 137 RBIs -- he was unwinding in Key West, Florida when he got a call from John McGraw, whose New York Giants had barnstormed in Cuba on and off since the early 1900s, reaping some lucrative side baseball business. Muggsy's request: to come to the island and play in 10 exhibition games. For his trouble, Babe would receive $10,000 up front and $10,000 under the table, an incredible amount of money for the times and an offer he could hardly refuse. And so Babe made his first appearance on the island he would revisit years later after the influx of American players (led by Negro leaguers) provided a regular conduit of talent. The ball is not only an artifact from the Babe's stay but breaks totally new informational ground. It stems from the last game when Babe hit his 2nd homer of the tour (which was one less than the total hit by the great Cuban player Cristobal Torriente). According to our consignor, the foremost expert on Latin American baseball in the world, when the ball came down it was fought over by fans in leftfield. In the melee, a man was injured and taken to the hospital. Babe, who after the game went back to his suite in Havana's opulent Hotel Plaza, heard about the incident later and was taken to the hospital where he signed the ball that had already been jotted with notations certifying "Bateada de home run Babe Ruth" and "Alas 2Y 10 PM Del dia 14 de Noviembre 1920" -- meaning "Ruth batted the ball for a home run at the moment of 2:20 PM" on that date. Ruth then added on a side panel, "Babe Ruth 1920" in pen. Signature has faded a bit, understandably, but is there as plain as day -- as one of the earliest Ruth-as-a-Yankee signatures -- and grades 5 out of a possible 10. Consider, then, just how rare and stunning this ball is. Can it get any more unique and one-of-a-kind than this? Its value as an artifact of early Cuban ball alone is quite high. Add the Ruth element and the signature and nothing quite stacks up to it among Ruth collectibles. What's more, the ball does something few thought possible after all these years and Ruth histories -- it breaks new historical ground, the fact that he played in Cuba in 1920, something never before chronicled. (It seems that the under-the-table aspect of the deal wasn't something Babe wanted to slip out, so he may have just kept the whole thing under his cap.) Condition of the ball is G with obvious aging that has rendered the surface an even dark brown with a few splotches of black soiling and a few white crevices. Cuban league stampings are visible but faded. Blue and red stitching is still nice and tight. This is "once in a lifetime" Ruth ball you've been waiting for. And we seriously advise you not to wait a second longer.