Summer Premier Auction 2020


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

The 1927-28 Bustin' Babes and Larrupin Lou's barnstorming tour was wildly successful and provided fans in cities without major league teams a rare opportunity to see the great Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in action. A largely profitable trip it is said that Lou Gehrig earned more money on these barnstorming trips than he was paid by the Yankees. Most of the exhibition games ended early because there was such spectator pandemonium from fans rushing the field for an autograph or attempting to circle the bases alongside Ruth.

On October 27, 1927, the Yankee legends shared the field with Japanese-American All-Star players from the Fresno Athletic Club at Fireman's Field in Fresno, CA. You may recognize a famous photo of the two alongside Johnny Nakagawa, Kenichi Zenimura, Fred Yoshikawa and Harvey Iwata from this game, which mas its rounds on the world wide web. The Nisei ballplayers played on Gehrig's squad and walloped the Bustin' Babes that day, 13-3. There is even 16mm film footage of this game with Ruth and Gehrig in action.

According to, "many Japanese American ballplayers had the skills to play the game at the professional level, but were not welcome in the MLB in Babe’s time. Instead they played in leagues of their own and became America’s baseball ambassadors across the Pacific. Kenichi Zenimura is now known as the 'Father of Japanese American Baseball' and was instrumental in negotiations that led to the famous Tour of Japan in 1934."

Fresh to the hobby comes this OAL (Ban Johnson) red and blue stitched baseball used in this important barnstorming game and signed by both the Bambino and Iron Horse. Heavy soiling and toning from age has darkened the ball significantly, but not nearly enough to obscure Ruth’s bold sweept spot signature and Gehrig’s autograph on the adjecent east panel. Both are done in strong 7/10 blue ink that would stand out much more on a cleaner ball. On the west panel is the important notation "Fireman's Park - Fresno, California - Oct. 29, 1927" in black ink. What an incredible piece of baseball history! Includes full LOA from Beckett.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1,500
Final prices include buyers premium.: $3,191
Number Bids: 7
Auction closed on Friday, August 28, 2020.
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