As a society, we idolize people in the public eye.
Some of these people are adored for no other reason than that they have made themselves very well known to the public, others because of great feats of physical or mental capacity, and others still for their charming personality.
We collect information about them, stories about our encounters with them, and items that they have produced.
However, none hold up quite as well as having an autograph. The signature of a famous person we admire is something that makes us feel special and makes other fans envious of our possession of it.
Some autographs are for our personal enjoyment and may hold little value to others, but some are written by the greatest achievers in their field and are coveted by all.
In baseball, there is no player more respected for their skill, known for their antics, and genuinely liked despite said antics than Babe Ruth.
He is possibly considered the greatest baseball player to enter the diamond and despite his retirement being almost 90 years ago he is still spoken of with respect in the right circles.
So, if you have a Babe Ruth signed baseball, it would be worth a lot of money, right? In this article, we will explore just how much a Babe Ruth signed baseball would actually be.
Who Was Babe Ruth?
I know that for many people here, this might be a baffling title for a paragraph, one because he is so famous to baseball fans and two because how would you know about the expense of his autograph if you didn’t know who Ruth was.
But he did die in 1948 and people might be looking in curiosity, so it is worth exploring. Babe Ruth was born George Ruth Jr, and he is considered by many to be the greatest baseball player to ever live.
Originally, he began his career with the Baltimore Orioles in 1914, but he quickly moved to the Red Sox after being bought by the team.
With the Red Sox, Ruth’s star began to shine. He was put in the position of pitcher which he was incredible at and, even as a pitcher, was able to hit devastatingly long home runs.
This is even more impressive as the era between 1900 and 1919 was considered the dead ball era of baseball, a time when the scoring of games was very low and home runs were scarce.
It was actually Ruth that ended this era with a bang. At this time, Babe Ruth was used less than a pitcher and started to fill more of the role of a power hitter.
Then, in 1919, Ruth hit 29 home runs in a single season, breaking the previous record set in 1884 by Ned Williamson, and officially ended the dead ball era and started the live ball era.
After being sold to the Yankees in 1920, Ruth went on to become a baseball powerhouse and helped the Yankees become one of the most successful teams of all time.
With Ruth, the Yankees won 7 American League pennants and 4 World Series Championships.
During this time as well, Ruth broke his own record three times, in 1920 with 54 home runs, in 1921 with 59 home runs, and then in 1927 with 60 home runs, a record that would not be broken until 1961 by Roger Maris.
Off the field, Ruth was a big presence as well, sometimes in a good way, but a lot of the time in a bad way. He was a lover of liquor and an incorrigible womanizer.
However, despite this his fans adored him and in part it was because, despite his shortcomings, he was a jovial and gregarious figure who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and was flamboyant and raw in all things.
At the time of his death, thousands mourned him.
His open casket was put on a rotunda in the Yankees stadium for two days and during that time an estimated 77,000 came to pay tribute and hold a vigil, which I think speaks to how much Ruth was beloved by baseball fans.
What Affects The Price?
So, now we know about Babe Ruth’s impact on the sport and why he is so famous. His fame undoubtedly affects the price, but there are a lot of other factors that will make the price go up or down as well:
- Signature – The signature obviously has to be on the baseball, otherwise it’s not Babe Ruth’s autograph, it is just a baseball. Yet, this signature also has to be recognizable and has to be stronger or more prominent in general. If the signature is faint and hard to read, then it is not going to be worth as much as it could be.
- Condition – This one can be pretty difficult, as the baseball’s usually signed by players are often hit by players. Since Babe Ruth was a huge power hitter, the baseball with his signature on is probably not in great shape. Still, having it in good condition improves the price and adds to the allure of the ball itself. Collectors or museums want a nice white baseball with an autograph most of the time, not a roughed up one.
- Number of autographs – If a baseball is signed by one-person multiple times or a bunch of famous players on one ball, then it is going to be worth less than one player signing one ball. This may seem strange, but it’s to do with the appeal of something being more special. If one person gives you something that is worth a lot, it seems more special and precious than if a whole lot of people do it.
- Location – On baseballs, there is a sweet spot that collectors look for when they are examining signatures. This sweet spot is in between the area where the seams are the closest together. If a ball is signed in this region, its value skyrockets whereas if it is not signed there, it is still good, just not as valuable.
As you can see, there are a few variables in selling a collectible baseball, and they may put a surprising dent in the price you receive at the end.
But if you have met all of these conditions, you can expect to receive a pretty penny.
So, How Much Does A Babe Ruth Signed Baseball Go For?
Babe Ruth signed baseballs can range in price quite dramatically. However, even the most low value Ruth baseball can be worth quite a lot.
The lowest one of these would go for is roughly $1,000 and normally these are balls that are in not good condition.
To give you something to compare it to, a baseball signed by Mickey Mantle, another player considered one of the all-time greats, will go for around $500 in fairly good condition, which shows how much Babe Ruth memorabilia is really worth.
As the condition goes up, so does the price. Most Babe Ruth signed baseballs meeting a lot of the criteria can be sold for around $10,000 or lower.
However, every so often there comes along a baseball that is in the perfect state.
The perfect condition, a strong signature, and one autograph in the right location. These balls are exceedingly rare, and many people have put estimates on their value.
The most common of these estimates, should one of these balls ever be sold, is around $25,000. An absolutely insane price that could change most people’s lives if they received it.
It just goes to show how much baseball fans idolized Babe Ruth.
With all his sporting success, his outlandish and sometimes fiendish lifestyle, and his gregarious nature, it is no wonder that Babe Ruth still has a cult following into the modern day.
His memorabilia still sells like hot cakes, and some sports fans would die just for a chance to own some of this stuff.
The legends, lore, and fans of Ruth have given him a cult status that will see his memorabilia only rise in value for many years to come.