Auction News

The $30 million baseball jersey? It has to be Babe Ruth 


Babe Ruth baseball jersey from the Called Shot game in 1932
Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

A Babe Ruth-worn baseball jersey could sell for $30 million this summer in what is being described as the Auction of the Century. 

Pretty much everything connected to Babe Ruth is valuable. 

But this jersey was worn during one of the defining moments of his legend: The Called Shot. 

Ruth was playing for the New York Yankees against the Chicago Cubs in the third game of the World Series of 1932. 

There was a river of bad blood flowing between the two teams, and when Ruth came up to bat he was roundly abused by the fans at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, the Cubs bench, and even the on-field players.  

He gave plenty back too. 

Two balls and a strike went sailing past. 

What happened next is where the legend lies. Film of the game confirms that Ruth made some sort of gesture towards the stands. 

Another strike followed.

But then Ruth absolutely hammered the next ball in the direction of his gesture, scoring the then record longest home run for the stadium. 

Whether he was really “calling the shot” as journalists were reporting the next morning, that is the story of the moment that history remembers. 

Heritage Auctions is now selling the jersey he wore – an away jersey with a number 3 on the back in flannel – in what they are calling the Auction of the Century. 

The jersey has been photomatched to the game by three different authentication companies. 

No doubt who wore this jersey, specially made for Ruth, whose real first names were George Herman.

Back in 1932, baseball shirts were individually handmade and each one was unique. The buttons may be slightly differently oriented, the text sewn on in a slightly different place. 

It should be possible to match those minute differences against film and photographic evidence from the day.

The jersey was auctioned in 2005, realising just over $1 million with buyer’s premium.

After the sale it went on display in the New York Yankees museum. At that stage the jersey was dated to the 1932 season and merely purported to be from the Called Shot game. 

Even with the additional photo matching evidence, this is explosive growth if the estimate is hit. 

On the undercard at the sale are three more baseball items predicted to realise more than $1 million. 

They are a Jackie Robinson jersey ($6 million); a 1911 “Shoeless Joe” Jackson bat with a $3 million estimate, and a Babe Ruth signed bat predicted to sell for more than $1 million. 

The most valuable baseball jerseys of all time are both Ruth shirts, one from 1920 that sold for just under $4.5 million and a 1920s jersey that realised $5.6 million in 2019. 

The highest price for a sports jersey was the $10.1 million paid for a Michael Jordan NBA Finals Chicago Bulls shirt. It sold in September 2022. 

Shirts linked with famous players are often valuable. But it’s the famous moments that sports stars live for that make the biggest money – Maradona’s Hand of God shirt, for example, making over £7 million in 2022.

This jersey could set several records and change the world of sports memorabilia forever. 

Just Collecting