Skip to main content

Hat's Off: Babe Ruth Tour of Japan, DiMaggio Yankees Cap at Grey Flannel

Grey Flannel Holiday Auction includes game-used relics from Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Arnold Palmer, Peyton Manning and special items from Julius Erving. Bidding ends Dec. 17.

The VIP hat rack is full at Grey Flannel Auctions’ Dec. 17 Holiday Auction, and you won’t believe whose caps are displayed side-by-side – none other than New York Yankee immortals Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio.

“It’s totally coincidental that two of the rarest and most coveted baseball caps of all time found their way to the same auction, but it’s our good fortune that they did. We’re tremendously proud to be offering these unique items to collectors,” said Richard E. Russek, president of Grey Flannel Auctions.

The game-used Babe Ruth cap, which was sourced from the Ruth family more than 30 years ago, is the only example known to have been worn by the Bambino during his 1934 Tour of Japan, which took place only weeks after his departure from the Yankees. The Dec. 17 Grey Flannel event marks the first time the Ruth cap from the historic Tour of Japan has ever come to auction.


“The 1934 tour made headlines around the world,” said Russek. “Nearly half a million Japanese fans lined the streets of Tokyo to welcome the great former-Yankee ballplayer, who rode through the Ginza district an open-top limousine. He and his teammates stayed in Japan for a month and played 18 exhibition games against Japanese players in 12 cities. That tour was a chapter in baseball history all on its own.”

The cap has “US” embroidered on the front, and inside the sweatband, the name “Babe Ruth” is embroidered in chain stitching. The cap is accompanied by an LOA from the consignor, who was close friends with a prominent person in the Babe Ruth Baseball Little League organization, who in turn had obtained it directly from the Ruth family. The minimum bid on the cap is $50,000.

A circa-1937 rookie-era Yankees cap that was game-used by the great Yankee Clipper, Joe DiMaggio, is entered as Lot 635. The extremely rare navy blue wool cap with NY logo is in beautiful, all-original condition. Embroidered inside the sweatband is “7 J. DiMaggio.” The consignor’s family has owned and treasured the DiMaggio cap since the day the legendary slugger took it off his head and handed it to them. The auction reserve on this item is $25,000.


Other highlights in Grey Flannel’s Holiday Auction include:
Lot #4 – a 1932 New York Yankees baseball team-signed by arguably the best hitting lineup ever assembled. The baseball holds signatures from 10 Hall of Fame inductees, including Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. It has an optimal display factor, with the Ruth and Gehrig signature each rating a near 9 prominently displayed adjacent to one another. Sourced through from a member of the New York Yankees’ grounds crew, its reserve is $5,000.

Lot #17 – Derek Jeter’s game-used and autographed home pinstripe jersey from a milestone game, where he recorded his 3,110th hit, tying childhood idol, Dave Winfield. The jersey was worn on 4/19/2012 and has been conclusively photo-matched. Reserve: $2,500.

Lot #62 – Gary Carter game-used homerun baseball from Game 4 of the 1986 World Series. Carter personally inscribed the baseball, and it captures all the spirit from the 1986 “Miracle Mets” season. The auction reserve is $2,500.

Lot #314 – An extremely rare official program from the 1924 World’s Colored Championship, which was the first Negro League World Series. This piece of baseball history is in outstanding condition and is entered with a $2,500 reserve.

Lot #357 – Arnold Palmer’s Masters Tournament-worn monogrammed sweater from his final major victory in 1964. The sweater boasts a unique combination of having been worn by one of the best players of all time in the most prestigious tournament the sport has to offer. Originally part of a Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame exhibit that was on display in Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium, it is accompanied by the original cardboard display from that exhibit. Reserve: $5,000.


Lot #410 – Future first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee Peyton Manning’s game-used Denver Broncos road jersey, worn on 12/12/2013. In this “Orange Crush” jersey, Manning threw for 289 yards and two touchdowns. Reserve: $2,500.

Lot #500 – Michael Jordan’s University of North Carolina Tar Heels "Freshman Year" game-used and autographed sneakers. These sneakers were consigned to Grey Flannel by a childhood friend of Jordan’s and have impeccable provenance. They are the earliest known, fully documented game-used Jordan sneakers in existence. The auction reserve is $5,000.


Lot #633 – Circa 1980s Julius “Dr. J” Erving Philadelphia 76ers game-used uniform. This classic-style NBA jersey displays outstanding use and may be the finest Dr. J gamer in the hobby. Reserve: $5,000. This lot and other Julius Erving items in Grey Flannel’s sale, including his 1978 Atlanta NBA All-Star ring and his 20,000-career-points, game-used basketball, all come with direct provenance from Dr. J.

Grey Flannel’s Holiday Auction will open for bidding on Nov. 21 and close on December 17, 2014. The fully illustrated electronic version of the catalog is available to view online at For additional information, call 631-288-7800, ext. 223; or email