Top 5 Babe Ruth Baseball Cards

Oct 12th, 2011 by admin

The Top Five Babe Ruth Baseball Cards of All Time

Contributed by Bob Bertrand, owner of The Cardboard Connection

Babe Ruth. Few names in the history of sport, let alone baseball, are as synonymous with greatness. Fewer still, are the number of people who can say
they have had their last name turned into an adjective that is used to describe prodigious accomplishments on the baseball diamond. As iconic as the
game itself, Ruth was and will forever be one of the game’s brightest stars.

The first superstar athlete to transcend the game and become a household lexicon, Ruth’s larger than life persona made him a darling to the press and
advertising pitchmen alike. Never one to shy away from the camera, Ruth loved the limelight and his fans. Given his stature in the game, it should come
as no surprise that Ruth has been the subject of literally thousands of baseball cards.

The total number of Babe Ruth baseball cards produced to date stands at 3,916. Of those, over 1,100 contain a piece of game-used memorabilia.
Memorabilia cards feature personal relics of players either in the form small swatches of fabric taken from game-worn uniforms or wooden bat chips
taken from game-used bats. In addition to his large assortment of memorabilia cards, Ruth’s signature has been used in the production 136 autographed
baseball cards. Since Ruth died long before the concept of autographed card inserts was invented, manufacturers include his signature in sets by way of
what’s known in the hobby as a cut autograph. This involves cutting authentic Ruth autographs out of other items (notecards, paper, postcards, etc),
and then framing and inserting them onto baseball cards.

With so many cards available, one of the first questions Babe Ruth fans inevitably ask is which ones are the best? The following five cards were selected due to their impact on the sports collectibles market in terms of rarity, value and historical significance.

5) 2001 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts Card #JBR

This was the first card to contain a piece of material from an actual Babe Ruth game worn uniform. It contained an embedded swatch of cloth taken from
Ruth’s uniform pants. A ground breaking achievement in the world of sports collectibles, Upper Deck provided collectors the rare opportunity to own a
piece of the Great Bambino.

4) 2003 Donruss/Playoff Prime Cuts

In 2003, Arlington, TX based trading card manufacturer Donruss/Playoff created a media frenzy by announcing that they had acquired a New York Yankees
home game style pinstripe jersey worn in 1925 by none other than the Sultan of Swat. The price tag? A whopping $264,911 by way of an auction held by
auction house Lelands Auction House. The jersey was cut up into 2,100 pieces for use in various trading card sets, the first of which was their high-end Prime Cuts brand. The jersey swatches were used in the set’s MLB Icons insert subset and was limited to 25 serial numbered cards, only 24 of which made it into
packs. What happened to the other card? It was presented to Ruth’s daughter, Julia Ruth Stevens, during a press conference at ESPNzone in Times
Square.

3) 1918 Baltimore Sun

The first Ruth card ever produced, it was unnumbered and printed in two color variations, red and blue. The bright and vibrant border surrounds a muted
and tinted image in the same color hue. The card features Ruth as a completely unknown minor league rookie having just left St. Mary’s Industrial
School for Boys. Less than a dozen examples of the card are known to exist. One of them commanded an auction price tag of over half a million dollars
(Robert Edwards Auctions, 2008).

2) 1999 Upper Deck Piece of History Card #PHLC

Commemorating members of baseball’s once exulted 500 Home Run Club, 50 cards were produced by Upper Deck bearing pieces of wood taken directly from a game-used baseball bat used by Ruth during his legendary career. In addition, Upper Deck claimed another first by combining a game used bat chip with a
cut signature from Ruth, the first of its kind, which was limited to just three copies.

1) 1933 Goudey Card #’s 53, 144, 149,181

In 1933 the Goudey Gum Company made history when it introduced the first baseball gum cards in the US. Unlike previous cards derived from tobacco
products, the Goudey’s featured full color images and biographical card backs. Larger than earlier issued cards, it measured 2 3/8? x 2 7/8?, and was
marketed towards people of all ages, including children. Thus, it was the first time a company put a child’s baseball hero in their hands directly.
With four cards in the set, 3 of which feature the same pose, the images of the 1933 Goudey Ruth cards helped define the baseball ephemera genre.
Because of it’s availability on a national level, these four cards are also considered his “official” rookie cards despite having several other cards
produced regionally and in smaller quantities much earlier (one of which was the 1918 Baltimore Sun card feature at #3).

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