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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/3/2023

As the Roaring Twenties came to an end and Babe Ruth reached his mid-30s, there wasn’t much left to prove for the affable superstar. He was the toast of the town, having already brought three World Series Championships to the Big Apple. The Bambino had become fat and happy, both literally and figurately. Now, it was just about putting on a show for fans, padding his stats and adding more toppings to his legacy as the greatest slugger of all time.

The Babe pioneered every individual home run milestone there was: first to 20 in a season; then 50 the following year in 1920; first to reach 500 career dingers by a wide margin in 1929. He reached 600 career homers in August 1931. A few days later, the Yankees arrived in Chicago to face the White Sox and stood in second place in the American League standings behind Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics, who were looking to win their third straight World Series. The Yanks would finish 13.5 games behind the A’s with a respectable 94-59 record. Babe continued to dominate offensively by leading the majors in home runs (46) with 128 RBI and a .373 batting average. For Ruth, it marked his sixth straight season leading the A.L. in homers and 12th overall.

On August 24, 1931, Ruth stepped into the box in the top of the first inning to face White Sox pitcher Tommy Thomas. With two outs and none on, Babe blasted his 37th long ball of the season and 602nd of his career into the right field bleachers. Ruth went a perfect 4-for-4 on the afternoon with three ribbies and two runs scored, leading the Bronx Bombers to their season-high sixth straight victory.

In attendance was Joseph Pospichel – a policeman from Gary, Ind., known as “Big Joe” – and his 15-year-old son. With both teams out of the pennant race, there was a rather light crowd at Comiskey Park that day. Joe's son tracked the ball off Ruth's bat heading his way in the right field stands and got himself in good position when it landed within a slew of other fans. A Golden Glove boxer and star athlete in high school, the teenager was able to emerge from the scrum with Ruth’s HR ball in hand. After the game, the elder Pospichel used his police contacts with the Yankees clubhouse security guard to get Babe Ruth, along with fellow Hall of Fame teammates Lou Gehrig and Tony Lazzeri, to all autograph the ball.

Ruth’s signature fittingly occupies the sweet spot in bold black fountain ink that rates 7-8/10 in strength and eye appeal. Gehrig’s autograph on the east panel appears 6-7/10, and Lazzeri on the south rates 5-6/10 in our book. A notation on the north panel – likely by one of the Pospichels – reads "37th Homer of Season of '31" in the same period black fountain ink. The Official American League baseball with William Harridge President stamping (1931-34 era) exhibits appropriate game used characteristics in the form of soiling and contact/impact marks. A light coat of Shellac has been applied to the ball for signature preservation.

Babe Ruth home run balls are considered the ultimate prize for vintage baseball collectors. Provenance is paramount and the story behind this ball is well-documented with tight primary source acquisition.  The ball was kept in the family of the original recipient for multiple generations. Includes full LOAs from PSA/DNA and JSA (autos.), various newspaper article copies related to Joseph Pospichel, a period image of officer Pospichel in uniform, and a letter from the Pospichel family.

This lot has a Reserve Price that has not been met.
Current Bidding (Reserve Not Met)
Minimum Bid: $15,000
Final prices include buyers premium.:
Number Bids:11
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