BALTIMORE (WJZ)—It was once on display here in Baltimore, and now it has set an auction record for baseball memorabilia.
Ron Matz has more on why more than a half century after his death, Babe Ruth still means big bucks.
A 1920 Yankees jersey worn by Babe Ruth just sold at auction for a staggering $4.4 million.
“I heard about the auction. It’s just crazy. People will buy anything nowadays I guess—$4.4. million for a jersey. That’s expensive,” said Nick Desouza, baseball fan.
For nine years it was on display at Baltimore’s Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum.
“We had this jersey here at the Babe Ruth Birthplace from 2000 to 2009. A man showed up and he had this jersey. He said ‘I don’t think my wife knows that I have this and so I am going to loan it to you guys so the fans can enjoy it.’ The gentleman passed away. In his will he left it to his wife, who ultimately auctioned it off,” said Mike Gibbons, executive director of Babe Ruth Museum.
On Monday, museum visitors were talking about the jersey deal and the Babe, born on Emory Street, the Sultan of Swat who remains larger than life.
“He was a great baseball player–one of the best ever if not the best ever. He was really the king of baseball,” Desouza said.
The jersey is in good condition.
“There are very few Babe Ruth jerseys around. This was supposedly the only Yankees road jersey that he had worn. It had a high collar. It was in very good shape. Everything looked good. The number three was not on the back because it was before numbers were issued,” Gibbons said.
For now the buyer of the Ruth jersey wants to remain anonymous. But this deal shows that 63 years after his death Babe is still king.
“It goes to show you that the Ruth name still resonates. It still sits atop the pyramid of our cultural sports traditions. Babe Ruth is the guy. It’s the power of the Sultan of Swat. He’s the king,” Gibbons said.
The $4.4 million price for the Ruth jersey is believed to be the most money ever paid for any piece of sports memorabilia.