Babe Ruth Family Heirloom Heading to Auction Block
SCP Auctions to Offer Ruth’s Gold Pocket Watch Presented to Him By The New York Yankees During His Last Appearance at Yankee Stadium on June 13th, 1948.
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Two months prior to his passing, Babe Ruth returned to Yankee Stadium for the last time on June 13th, 1948 as part of the 25th anniversary of the opening of “The House That Ruth Built”. Culminating the event, the Yankees ceremoniously retired Babe Ruth's number 3. One by one, his old friends and former teammates, including those from his 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 Gentleman, 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 “the cauldron of sound he must have known better than any other man.
” Draped in his old uniform, he struggled forward, helped by the support of the bat borrowed from 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 Press 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, titled “The Babe Bows Out.”
As part of the June 13th, 1948 celebration the Yankees honored their greatest hero by presenting him with this gold watch. The 14k gold Longines pocket watch features engravings on the back that read, “Babe Ruth – Silver Anniversary – Yankee Stadium 1923-1948 “The House That Ruth Built.”
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Since Ruth’s passing on August 16th, 1948 the watch has been preserved as a cherished heirloom by Ruth’s family. According to SCP Auctions V.P. Dan Imler, “This is the most significant item among only a few mementos from Ruth’s career that his family has retained. It is well documented that the vast majority of Babe’s personal memorabilia was procured by the National Baseball Hall of Fame shortly after his passing. This watch is the only significant Babe Ruth artifact ever offered to the public with direct Ruth family provenance. It is honor for us to present this monumental treasure to the public.” Of the watch’s historical significance Imler states, “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 appearance and emotional farewell to his beloved fans. In a way, the watch could be perceived as Babe Ruth’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Yankees.”
The Babe Ruth watch will highlight SCP Auctions’ May Spring Premier Auction which will include hundreds of other significant items of sports memorabilia and cards.