Babe Ruth Family Heirloom On The Auction Block

Hi Babe Ruth Fans!

In our ongoing efforts to inform our BRC followers of the latest and greatest Babe Ruth memorabilia items in the news, a very special and extremely rare item is currently up for grabs to the highest bidder! SCP Auctions is offering Ruth’s gold pocket watch presented to him by the New York Yankees during his last appearance at Yankee Stadium on June 13th, 1948. Here are the full details of this impressive piece of baseball and Babe Ruth history:

The gold pocket watch, which is from the 1948 celebration of the 25th anniversary of the opening of “The House That Ruth Built”, is part of SCP Auctions’ Spring Premier Auction, running Wednesday April 30 through Saturday, May 17, at www.scpauctions.com. Ruth’s pocket watch is the only significant Ruth artifact ever offered directly to the public by the Ruth family.

Babe Ruth Watch Back

Back of Babe Ruth, “House That Ruth Built” 25th Anniversary Watch

Babe Ruth Watch Front

Front of Babe Ruth, “House That Ruth Built” 25th Anniversary Watch

Ruth’s grandson, Tom Stevens, stated: “In December 1974, upon the occasion of my college graduation, my grandmother Claire presented me with this watch as a graduation and Christmas present. She told me that my grandfather would have wanted me to have his watch in recognition of the accomplishment. Throughout his life, he was most appreciative of the value of a good education, not having had the benefit of one himself.”

Added Stevens: “This watch represents one of the most significant events in the Babe’s storied life. It also recognizes the very significant role he played by almost single-handedly making it possible for Yankee Stadium to come into being. At his direction, most of the Babe’s personal memorabilia was donated to the Hall of Fame after his passing. Among the very little that was kept within the family, this watch has been perhaps our most cherished heirloom.”

Culminating the historic event on June 13, 1948, the Yankees ceremoniously retired Ruth’s uniform No. 3 and presented him with the gold watch. The 14-karat gold Longines pocket watch features engravings on the back that read: “Babe Ruth – Silver Anniversary – Yankee Stadium 1923-1948 ‘The House That Ruth Built.’” Since his death on Aug. 16, 1948, the watch has been carefully preserved by Ruth’s family. It is well documented that the vast majority of Ruth’s personal memorabilia was gifted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame shortly after his death. The watch is estimated to sell for upwards of $750,000. Earlier this year, Babe Ruth’s 1923 World Series pocket watch sold at auction for $717,000.

“This is the most significant item among only a handful of Babe Ruth’s personal mementos that his family has retained,” said Dan Imler, Vice President of SCP Auctions. “It is difficult to overstate the magnitude of this item. It represents the 25th anniversary of Yankee Stadium – baseball’s grandest cathedral, the 25th anniversary of the Yankees first World Championship, the retirement of Ruth’s iconic number, and Ruth’s final Yankee Stadium appearance and emotional farewell to his beloved fans.

Babe Ruth Farewell Speech

Babe Ruth Farewell Speech at Yankee Stadium, June 13th 1948

In a way, the watch could be perceived as Babe Ruth’s ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from the Yankees.”

Two months prior to his death, Ruth returned to Yankee Stadium for the last time on June 13, 1948 as part of the 25th anniversary of the opening of “The House That Ruth Built.” One by one, his old friends and former teammates, including those from the Yankees first championship team in 1923, were introduced to the nostalgic cheers of the capacity crowd. Finally, announcer Mel Allen’s voice boomed from the loudspeakers, “Ladies and Gentlemen, George Herman Ruth…Babe Ruth!” Amidst a raucous ovation, the weakened Ruth, frail and ailing with throat cancer, stepped for the last time onto the infield grass, bat in hand, into what W.C. Heinz unforgettably described as “the cauldron of sound he must have known better than any other man.”

Nat Fein's "Babe Bows Out"

Nat Fein’s “Babe Bows Out”

Draped in his old uniform, he struggled forward, helped by the support of the bat borrowed from then future Hall of Famer Bob Feller, to address the crowd of 49,647 as they showered their hero with one final roar of affection and an ebullient singing of “Auld Lang Syne.” Nat Fein, a photographer for the New York Herald Tribune, immortalized the moment with a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph that endures as perhaps the most famous image in sports history, aptly titled “The Babe Bows Out.”

The Ruth gold watch will highlight SCP Auctions’ Spring Premier Auction along with hundreds of other significant items of sports memorabilia and cards, including an important 1939 Lou Gehrig three-page signed personal letter to his Mayo Clinic doctor, the Newport Sports Museum Collection and The Delbert Mickel Estate Collection of important baseball jerseys. Bidding will open to registered bidders Wednesday, April 30 and conclude Saturday, May 17. The auction will be conducted online at SCPAuctions.com. For more information on how to participate, visit www.scpauctions.com or call (949) 831-3700.

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