SCP Auctions has purchased a full Babe Ruth 1938 Brooklyn Dodgers road uniform for $310,500, at auction at the Louisville Slugger Museum conducted by Hunt Auctions.
The uniform, the last professional uniform worn by the Great Bambino, was purchased on behalf of an SCP client who is an avid collector of Babe Ruth memorabilia. Ruth, the Yankees great, Hall of Famer and long-time holder of baseball’s career and single-season home run records, was a first-base coach with the Dodgers during the 1938 season, his final season in baseball. He also regularly took batting practice with the team to appease fans who wanted another glimpse at the great slugger.
“This is a monumental piece of baseball memorabilia, and we are proud to have been a part of the purchase on behalf of our client,” said David Kohler, president of SCP Auctions. “Considering Ruth’s stature not only in baseball but in American pop culture, and the fact that this is the last uniform he ever wore, this really is a rare and prized piece.
"We bought it on behalf of a private individual building a great Ruth collection, so this was a good opportunity for him and it was a strong price in today's economy.
"It was a certainly a record for a coach's uniform. It's a great piece," Kohler added.
SCP also purchased a sidewritten Honus Wagner bat, the Munson batting helmet and a 1923 pocket watch owned by Wally Schang in the sale.
Ruth’s last major-league road uniform consists of his heavy grey flannel Spalding jersey and matching pants, both of which feature Ruth’s full name in chain stitch near the manufacturer’s tagging. The shirt retains its blue Dodgers team name across the front, and Ruth’s uniform number 35 on the back. A small “38” year designation is chain stitched on the back of the interior tail, which also retains custom lacing, which allowed Ruth to keep his shirt neatly tucked into his pants.
The left sleeve retains its original 1939 World’s Fair patch. The jersey remains in completely original condition, exhibiting light to moderate use and wash wear appropriate for Ruth’s position as first-base coach. The uniform numbers as one of only a handful of surviving exemplars, all of which rank at the pinnacle of the most elite historical baseball collections.
SCP Auctions has a long history of involvement with some of the most notable pieces of baseball memorabilia, especially where Ruth is concerned. The company sold the bat Ruth used to hit the first home run in the old Yankee Stadium, for $1.265 million. It also sold the contract for the 1919 sale of Ruth from the Boston Red Sox to the Yankees, for $996,000.