WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. - Grey Flannel Auctions is auctioning what many experts believe is the jersey that the great Babe Ruth wore when he hit the most famous home run in baseball history, the fabled "called shot" from the 1932 World Series against the Chicago Cubs. The 1,200-plus-lot auction will be posted on the company's website - www.greyflannelauctions.com - in mid-May and close June 22. Catalogs will be sent June 1.
Grey Flannel, the recognized experts in vintage jerseys, has shared its impressive photographic research with other experts, who agree that there is little, if any, doubt that the Bambino's road jersey with the "NEW YORK" block lettering is the one the Sultan of Swat wore when he pointed to centerfield at Wrigley Field, struck the mighty blow, then trotted around the bases to the taunts of Cubs players and fans.
Howard Rosenkrantz, chief executive officer of Grey Flannel Auctions, said, "Unfortunately, we were not there to witness Ruth take the jersey off of his back, but we have analyzed an extensive number photographs showing Ruth jerseys over the years and the jersey we're bringing to auction appears to replicate the unique idiosyncrasies of the 1932 jersey. Our conclusions are based on a most stringent examination of photograph evidence of Babe Ruth jerseys."
Grey Flannel's examination first takes into consideration the stitching of Ruth's name in the collar; the positioning and spacing of the "New York" lettering in relation to the buttons; and the style of the lettering.
"For example, the curvature of the 'W' and the positioning of 'New York' matches that of the jersey shown in photos taken on June 30, Sept. 12 and during the World Series of 1932," Rosenkrantz said. "The 'W' in the '32 jersey is different from that on his jerseys of 1931, 1933 and 1934." The style of the E and the positioning of the 'Y' match the 1932 photos and are different from photos of 1931, 1933 and 1934."
Marc Okkonen, author of the book "Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century, the Official Major League Baseball Guide," reviewed the photographic evidence and agrees it comes from the 1932 season. He added that he's unaware that the Yankees issued more than one set of road uniforms in that year. "The very subtle differences in the placement and configuration of the 'NEW YORK'' letters match the photographs provided," he said. "If I were in a position to purchase this item with the provenance claimed for it, I would not hesitate a minute. It certainly seems impossible that anyone could prove this was not the jersey worn on the historic occasion." A packet of the photographic evidence is available to the media and qualified buyers by calling (631) 288-7800, ext. 221. Bidding on the jersey is expected to begin at $400,000.
The jersey currently is on exhibit at Grey Flannel's galleries at 8 Moniebogue Lane in Westhampton Beach, N.Y.
A couple of other Ruth items from 1932 are in the sale, a pair of game-used pants and a game-used bat. The pants carry a $50,000 reserve; the bat's reserve is $25,000. Neither item can be attached to the World Series that year with the Cubs. "The pants are simply huge and embody his personality and contributions to the game and its lore," Rosenkrantz said.
The Yankee theme continues for the June 22 sale with numerous items gathered from the catacombs of Yankee Stadium. The items were culled from various corners of Yankee Stadium. Among the items are Derek Jeter's 2001 home game-used World Series jersey.
Among other featured items in the sale are:
The sale also contains a large number of warmup gear from old American Basketball Association teams:
Grey Flannel serves as the official appraiser for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum in Springfield, Mass. It also worked with Sotheby's in authenticating the largest private collection of jerseys, the Barry Halper collection, part of which landed in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.