Babe Ruth’s ‘Called Shot’ New York Yankees Jersey Could Fetch $30 Million At Auction

In the world of sports memorabilia, few items carry as much historical significance and mythical allure as Babe Ruth’s jersey from Game 3 of the 1932 World Series. This iconic piece of baseball history, worn by the legendary slugger during his famous “Called Shot” at-bat against the Chicago Cubs, is set to hit the auction block at Heritage Auctions’ Summer Platinum Night Sports Auction on Aug. 23. It’s estimated value is set at $30 million — which would make it the highest-selling sports collectible of all-time.

The story of Babe Ruth’s “Called Shot” has been a topic of fascination and debate among baseball enthusiasts for nearly a century. As Joe Posnanski wrote in his bestselling book “Why We Love Baseball,” the moment “has been argued about and debunked and reconsidered and investigated for almost a century.” The tale goes that in the fifth inning of Game 3, with the Cubs players and fans heckling him relentlessly, Ruth gestured toward the center field bleachers before hitting a mammoth home run off pitcher Charlie Root.

Babe Ruth "Called Shot" New York Yankees jersey
Babe Ruth “Called Shot” New York Yankees jersey. (credit: Heritage Auctions)

The jersey that Ruth wore during this legendary moment has been photo-matched to Game 3 of the 1932 World Series by MeiGray Authenticated. The authentication process involved comparing the jersey to two photos from Getty Images and a third from “The Chicago Daily News,” which show Ruth, his teammate Lou Gehrig, and manager Joe McCarthy in the dugout. The jersey, bearing Ruth’s iconic No. 3, was gifted by the Bambino himself to a Florida man following a round of golf and remained in the man’s possession until his daughter auctioned it nearly two decades ago. The jersey sold for $940,000 in 2005 through Grey Flannel Auctions.

“Ruth’s World Series jersey is the most significant piece of American sports memorabilia to be offered at auction in decades,” says Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage. “Given its history, its mythology, we expect that when the final bid is placed, it will hold the record as the most expensive sports collectible ever to cross the auction block.”

The current record belongs to a 1952 Mickey Mantle Topps card, which sold for $12.6 million at Heritage in August 2022.

The “Called Shot” wasn’t Ruth’s only home run that day. In fact, he hit two, with the first coming in the opening frame after taunting Root to throw him strikes. The Cubs fans and players were already giving Ruth a hard time, with lemons flying from the stands and insults streaming from the dugout. Ruth responded by homering to right-center on the next pitch.

“The boos for Ruth as he rounded the bases were loud and even ominous,” Posnanski writes. “Ruth luxuriated in them. That’s not the Called Shot. Not yet.”

The moment in the fifth inning when Ruth gestured toward something or someone — perhaps the Chicago Cubs’ dugout, pitcher Charlie Root, or the center field flagpole — has become the stuff of legend. The home run, which came on a two-strike count, has been depicted in paintings, exaggerated in movies, and imitated by countless baseball enthusiasts. The phrase “The Called Shot” has become synonymous with Ruth’s larger-than-life persona and the mythical aura surrounding his career.

Babe Ruth "Called Shot" New York Yankees jersey
Babe Ruth “Called Shot” New York Yankees jersey. (credit: Heritage Auctions)

Bidding for the Ruth “Called Shot” jersey will begin at $7.5 million. The most expensive baseball jersey ever currently belongs to Ruth when his 1928-1930 Yankees jersey fetched $5.64 million.

HobbyListings editor Matt Higgins contributed to this report.

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