Summer Premier Auction 2020

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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/28/2020

Babe Ruth signed a lot of baseballs during his lifetime, perhaps thousands. Whether it be a terminally ill child, a hopeful fan or a patron at the local watering hole, the Bambino obliged no matter how big his celebrity, no matter how busy his schedule, no matter how tired he got from his countless obligations as America’s ambassador of sport. On the field, he was the greatest ballplayer anyone had ever seen. Off it, he was a larger-than-life character whose womanizing and indiscretions were easily overshadowed by his charisma and mass appeal.

This baseball is unlike any of its peers, perfectly symbolizing the mystique and complicated existence of George Herman Ruth. Sure, there are finer Ruth singles both in ball condition and signature quality. But this is one of just two sourced directly from the Babe Ruth estate. And it is the only known example signed and inscribed to his former mistress Juanita Jennings who, as it turns out, happened to be the biological mother of his first daughter Dorothy.

In 1920 while married to his first wife, Helen, Ruth had an affair with Juanita, who gave birth to Dorothy in June 1921. Babe convinced Helen—after multiple miscarriages—to adopt her, and it is believed that Helen never knew Babe was the real father. They split in 1925 and Babe remarried in 1929, a few months after Helen died in a house fire. The whole time, even under the care of her stepmother, Dorothy was raised to believe that Helen was her biological mother. Not until 1980 when Dorothy was 59 years old was the heavy truth finally revealed to her. Dorothy had known Juanita since childhood simply as her dad’s friend and called her Aunt Nita. The soap opera is well-documented in Dorothy’s 1988 tell-all memoir, My Dad, the Babe.

The evenly-toned OAL (Harridge) baseball (1931-34 stamping period) is elegantly autographed from a side panel across the sweet spot, "To Juanita and Chas. From Babe Ruth Sept 29 1931" in striking 7-8/10 fountain black ink. Complicating matters further, Juanita married Babe’s good friend Charles Ellias and became close with Babe’s second wife, Claire, so she remained a part of Ruth’s life many years after their affair. The one-of-a-kind “Mistress Ball” includes LOA from PSA/DNA and a letter from the Ruth family.

Bidding
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $5,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $25,076
Number Bids: 6
Auction closed on Friday, August 28, 2020.
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