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So Nice He Signed It Twice, Babe Ruth’s 1916 World Series Glove Joins Historic Roster in Heritage’s Winter Platinum Night Sports Auction

DALLAS, Texas (Jan. 29, 2024) – From Feb. 24-25, Heritage will hold its annual Winter Platinum Night Sports Auction, its version of All-Star Weekend.

Among the more than 1,600 lots featured in this event are gloves, jerseys, bats, championship rings and sneakers – for starters! – worn and used by some of sports’ most towering titans, among them Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, Hank Aaron, Tom Brady, Willie Mays and so many more. Here, too, are the cards, photos and paintings of icons who defined the game, from a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle in Near Mint-Mint+ condition to an unopened case of 1979 O-Pee-Chee hockey cards (containing who knows how many of Wayne Gretzky’s rookie cards) to LeRoy Neiman’s 1970s-era paintings of NBA All-Stars and slugger Ted Williams that belong in a museum. Speaking of …

Winter Platinum Night counts among its numerous highlights a twice-signed and annotated glove that a young Boston Red Sox pitcher named George Herman Ruth used during the Red Sox’ 1916 World Series win over the Brooklyn Robins. Not only was that Ruth’s second World Series title in as many years, but in Game Two, he tossed what remains the longest pitching outing in postseason history: a 14-inning complete-game victory over the boys from Brooklyn.

A box with hockey stick and puck

This glove holds history in its palm: Until now, the earliest known Ruth-used glove dated to his tenure with the New York Yankees. But written all over this glove is an extraordinary tale that predates Ruth’s superstardom in the Bronx. As Steve Grad, the principal authenticator for Beckett Authentication Services, noted when examining the glove, Ruth signed it twice – once in 1916, alongside the Red Sox’s title-team roster and the box score, then again decades later, when Babe added that this was the “Glove I used in the 1916 World Series.” That second autograph accompanies Ruth’s handwritten annotation.

A video of Grad examining, explaining and authenticating the glove accompanies the online catalog page. Long story short, he deems it “one of the coolest things I think I’ve ever seen” and something that “truly does belong in a museum.”

From one year earlier hails an equally rare vestige of Ruth’s Red Sox days: the single finest example of a postcard featuring the 1915 American League Champions, the 1915 BoSox, with a baby-faced 20-year-old Ruth joined by fellow Hall of Famers Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper. PSA has graded just a tiny handful of these postcards, with none higher than this one – graded Excellent to Mint 6, looking as sharp as the day baseball’s most coveted rookie (post)card was first made available to fans of the AL champs on the ascent.

Baseball Collectibles:Others, 1888 Spalding Baseball World Tour Promotional Poster.Rounding out this holy trinity of Ruth artifacts is this stunning slab of Hillerich & Bradsby used by Ruth from 1928 to ’29, a two-season span during which the Yankee belted 100 home runs, drove in 300 runs, won a World Series, and hit for a combined batting average of .333. There’s still some power left in this 42.4-ounce Ruth signature model signed by the Babe himself.

Ruth’s bat is among numerous historic sluggers available in this auction – one of which began making headlines weeks ago when word began circulating that Heritage would be offering a Hillerich & Bradsby game-used and signed by Roberto Clemente circa 1971. This is the lone Clemente bat that’s both autographed and photo-matched, and the provenance of this trademark knobless gem is impeccable: Clemente used a black marker when signing and gifting this bat to “my friend Carey,” who was well-known Montreal baseball memorabilia collector Carey Diab, known locally as “Mr. Baseball.”

The bat has been matched using two separate images, including a photograph of The Great One gripping the slugger in an empty Three Rivers Stadium. Bat authentication expert John Taube assesses its game use as “excellent,” noting that its ball marks and stitch impressions on the barrel bear evidence of the Hall of Famer’s use.

On the other end of the spectrum is a cardboard case of 16 unopened boxes containing some of the most coveted cards in history: the 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee hockey cards. Who knows how many Wayne Gretzky rookie cards are contained inside the 768 packs spread across these 16 boxes? And will anyone ever find out whether this case contains the most valuable card on ice?

Baseball Collectibles:Bats, Circa 1971 Roberto Clemente Game Used & Signed Bat, PSA/DN...The case’s consignor – who hails from the Western Canadian province of Saskatchewan – was a rabid collector in the 1960s and ’70s who snatched up endless amounts of Canadian-made cards to trade with fellow travelers in the United States. He bought endless boxes and cases of cards, so many his family long ago lost count – and lost track. Ultimately, the consignor’s son found this case behind “stacks and stacks of other stuff,” says Heritage Sports Card Specialist and Consignment Director Jason Simonds.

“He texted and said, ‘I think I found something pretty good,’” Simonds says. Which proved to be an understatement: The son, unsure of what was in the case, pulled back a tiny corner of the cardboard to reveal a white box and two of its letters: a small black “N” (from the “Now Including 4 New NHL Teams”) and a larger red “W” from “Winnipeg.” Simonds told him to stop: “That’s a once-in-a-lifetime find,” he wrote back to the consignor’s son.

The entire case was eventually delivered to Schererville, Ill., home of the Baseball Card Exchange. With cameras rolling, its founder, Steve Hart, authenticated the case as the only known example, which is now the first to come to auction.

Basketball Collectibles:Others, 1975-76 Legends of Basketball Original Painting by LeRoy N...“Collectors have been searching for one of these,” Simonds says, “and here it is.”

That might as well be the mantra of this auction.

Searching for a game-worn and signed Milwaukee Braves jersey from Hank Aaron’s storied 1962 season, during which No. 44 hit 45 home runs? Here it is. Need a complete set of 1986 Fleer basketball cards, all graded PSA Gem Mint 10 – including Michael Jordan’s rookie card? Here it is. Need a Super Bowl LVI ring presented to the Los Angeles Rams? Why, here it is. Or Tom Brady’s signed, game-worn and photo-matched 2017 New England Patriots “Color Rush” jersey gifted to Julio Jones? Well, here it is.

Nothing’s too far-flung to imagine. For proof, look no further than something no one knew existed at all until its recent discovery in an Ohio home: a poster promoting Albert Spalding’s 1888-89 Baseball World Tour, which consisted of two teams (the Chicago White Stockings and other all-stars) circumnavigating the globe to promote the national pastime. The tour, originally conceived as “Spalding’s Australian Baseball Tour,” expanded into a global showcase, beginning in Chicago with stops in Australia, Cairo, Rome, Paris, London and points in between before the voyage home.

Until now, it was believed there was just one of these posters – in Cooperstown, where the Hall of Fame boasts of having “the only known copy.” Well, there’s another one now. And here it is.

This event is replete with monumental moments and unforgettable memories burnished by titans, such as LeRoy Neiman’s towering Legends of Basketball painting that graced the cover of the 1977 NBA All-Star Game program and his smaller-scale Ted Williams painting signed by The Splendid Splinter! Here, too, are the intimate asides, including an album of photos from wrestling legend Kerry Von Erich’s wedding in 1983, which was depicted in the film The Iron Claw and includes pictures of his beloved brothers and father Fritz. That makes this auction a veritable Sportatorium.

Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam, Brussels and Hong Kong.


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