SCP Auctions is featuring Babe Ruth’s 1930s New York Yankees game-worn cap in its spring auction live now at SCPAuctions.com. Former Yankees pitcher David Wells owns the cap and famously wore it on the mound during a game on June 28, 1997. in homage to his idol, Ruth. Bidding ends May 19, with bidding currently just shy of $230,000.
Few Babe Ruth collectibles in the category of “game worn” can match the appeal of this cap. Only a handful of Ruth New York Yankees game-worn caps have survived the three-quarters of a century that has passed since the Babe last played in the Bronx, ranking them on the rarity scale above all team-issued garments, including jerseys. The cap’s present owner, the irreverent Wells, added to the lore of the cap on June 28, 1997. In homage to his idol, Wells famously wore the cap when he took the mound at Yankee Stadium against the Cleveland Indians. Manager Joe Torre made Wells take off the cap after the first inning because it didn't conform to uniform standards. However, the gesture made an enduring impression on Yankees fans.
"Babe Ruth has always been my biggest idol,” said Wells. “It has been an honor to be the caretaker of his Yankees cap for all these years. I'll never forget what a thrill it was to honor the Babe by bringing the cap back to Yankee Stadium and wearing it on the mound."
Within the extremely limited population of Yankee Ruth caps in the hobby, the presented piece is without peer.
Identifiable to the 1930-33 period, the navy blue flannel cap features the Yankees iconic overlapping "NY" logo embroidered on the front. Spalding’s manufacturer's stamp appears on the interior leather band, as does the embroidered, script style player designation "G. Ruth" preceded by the cap size “7 3/8”. While substantial usage wear is evident throughout, including perspiration induced soiling throughout the interior and underside of the bill, the cap remains quite structurally sound and remarkably well preserved. Apart from the desirable, but not excessive general wear, the cap shows no deterioration of fabric or damage to the body or hardshell brim. Utilized in an era long before the advent of batting helmets, Ruth undoubtedly donned this cap both in the field and at the plate, likely for multiple seasons, making its present state all the more remarkable.
“This is a truly exceptional relic that captures the essence of the most prolific athlete in the history from the Golden Age of American sports,” said SCP President David Kohler.
Other notable Babe Ruth items that are part of the spring auction include:
• circa 1920 Babe Ruth game-worn New York Yankees road jersey- earliest known Babe Ruth jersey (currently at $1.7 million)
• 1932 Babe Ruth H & B Professional Model game-used bat (currently at $88,000)
• 1938 Babe Ruth Brooklyn Dodgers game-worn road uniform - Coach - (currently at $73,000)