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  #1  
Old 08-15-2013, 08:37 PM
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Brandon M. Grunbaum
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Default Check out this amazing story, and an AMAZING Ruth ball

My Mom works at a college here in Southern California. She has been employed there for over 35 years, and has made some great friends over that time span. She took a few copies of my books to her long time friend, and retired 84 year old Athletics Director & baseball coach to show them off. He was so impressed with the books and was so excited to see that her long time friend's son had made them that he wanted to meet me in person. He told my mother that he had a Babe Ruth signed baseball that his cousin gave him 60+ years ago before he died of Parkinson's disease.

Here was the story I was told (prior to meeting him). His cousin worked for Ford Motor Company in Detroit in the 1940's, and in the late part of 1947, Babe Ruth joined with Ford to start some type of youth baseball camp. He traveled to Detroit and met with the top executives of Ford (the cousin included) and signed some baseballs for them. He said his cousin later died of Parkinson's and handed him down the ball.

My first thoughts were, it's a secretarial, or one of the Sinclair type of baseballs signed by someone else. When I finally met my mom's friend today, and he pulled out the ball, my eyes nearly bugged out of my head! The ball pictured below is the ball that was GIVEN to this gentleman, and the provenance that goes with it is astounding! I didn't get a chance to snap pictures of everything, but here is a list of what he had:

- Original picture of his cousin, Ruth, Ruth's nurse, and the rest of the Ford top brass.

- Original paperwork describing what the youth camp was to be.

- Original documents with itinerary of Ruth's visit to the plant.

- And a few other Ford docs about the event. All dating 1947.

The ball as you can see is amazing, and despite the light making it look yellowish, it's pristine and a pearl! The ball was in a paper sack! You can't really see the stamping, but it is definitely a 1947 Reach OAL Harridge Ball.

The first thing he said to me was, Brandon, I love your mother so much, you can have the ball! I almost died until I saw the smirk in his eye. He was joking of course. But aside from my excitement about seeing the ball, he wanted to know what I thought it was worth. I had no idea really, I told him in a retail setting it could fetch $30K, but I'm not sure, I think it could possibly go for more. I Was wondering what you guys thought this ball could sell for in the right auction, with all of the documents of provenance.
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  #2  
Old 08-15-2013, 08:49 PM
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thats awesome!
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:57 PM
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Jesus Christo, great ball! Wow!
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:01 PM
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Wowzers!
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:19 PM
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Jeff P0tter
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That ball looks amazing. REA has had some unbelievable prices on some of their single signed Ruth balls in the last couple years. You should have made him an offer :-)
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATP View Post
That ball looks amazing. REA has had some unbelievable prices on some of their single signed Ruth balls in the last couple years. You should have made him an offer :-)
I couldn't even pretend to make an offer on a ball like that! Maybe he was serious when he said I could have it, maybe just not today! lol
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:55 PM
travrosty travrosty is offline
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That is superb. I know Goldin auctions first hand and he gets great prices on balls, he just got 37000 on a Wagner signed ball and this one would almost certainly go for more than. If he is interested in getting an estimate I would google him and shoot him (Ken) an email on his website. My personal preference.

Last edited by travrosty; 08-15-2013 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 08-16-2013, 05:27 AM
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Great story ! Around 1947 (maybe even a little earlier) Ruth served in a Public Relations capacity with Ford. There were a lot of photos of the Babe mostly postcard size , done up in conjunction with the Ford Motor Company produced all around that time frame, they were (I think) given out to shareholders and at Ford related events.
I don't ever remember seeing one of those that was not ghost signed by Claire his wife or someone else. So when ever I hear the words Babe Ruth-Ford-1947 I think the way you did about the Sinclair Oil baseballs. BUT ......Based on the scans your ball DOES NOT FIT THAT CRITERIA. And based on a casual glance looks "right as rain" , along with supporting documentation.
Might fall into the "Throw away the price guide" category, and just aim for blue sky. (Based upon further in depth examination of course)
to echo a previous posting Since Ken Goldin. has been very pro active on this board and seems to always be available for questions and comments I'd say he'd be your "go to" guy on this one. If and when the day comes to put it on the market.
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Old 08-16-2013, 07:08 AM
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Just out of curiosity how is the ball so white yet the stampings are near gone?
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Old 08-16-2013, 08:36 AM
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Its not uncommon for the brandings to fade , depending on the year the ball was made, I've seen 1960's and 1970's baseballs that still had relatively strong signatures but weak branding.
Also Ruth signed with a very heavy hand , which explains too why on so many team balls from the era his signature is often the boldest. That being said it IS pretty bold on that ball ....so would need to be examined more closely before making a trip to the bank. But the branding vs signature alone would not be cause for alarm....IMHO
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