March 2022 Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/1/2022
Whether it's as a single or part of a set, this Mile High Card Company auction features the first five cards on PSA's "Top-10 sportscards of all-time, 2021 edition." Checking in at #3 is the featured card, a PSA 4 graded 1916 M101-4 Sporting News Babe Ruth rookie card. Putting aside for a moment that Babe Ruth is the most famous athlete in the history of the world and that his highly-prized rookie card didn't originate from a widely distributed issue like Topps and Bowman cards, what adds to the appeal of the card (as if it really needed any help) is that it offers both a realtime image of the baseball legend as opposed to an artist's rendering and a nameplate that reminds hobbyists of what could have been, proudly announcing the slim rookie as "P. -- Boston Red Sox." Of course, "The Bambino's" almost godlike folklore is the result of neither pitching nor playing in Boston. Only a few years after most tobacco companies discontinued the practice of distributing baseball cards as a means to sell their goods, Chicago-based printer Felix Mendelsohn created an alternative, producing a product using state-of-the-art photography that was far superior in quality to anything that came before it. Mendelsohn marketed the product as collectible business cards, leaving the backs blank for any company who utilized his services to add whatever advertising they desired. Originally promoting his concept in The Sporting News, Mendelsohn signed on several companies with his largest client being, ironically, The Sporting News. Despite appearing for the first time on pasteboard in a major league uniform, Babe Ruth was far from an unknown by season's end, completing the campaign with a 23-12 record while leading the league with a 1.75 ERA and becoming the hero of Game 2 of the 1916 World Series, pitching 14 innings and giving up just one run for the win. Not too shabby for a 21-year old southpaw just two years removed from a reformatory. But with names like Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Joe Jackson, and Walter Johnson headlining the series, the name Babe Ruth wasn't high on the radar of collectors outside the New England area. Many historians believe that if Babe had not been converted to an outfielder, he likely would still be in the Hall of Fame as one of the game's greatest pitchers. In his 3 seasons as a full-time hurler, Ruth posted a combined 65-33 record with an astonishing 2.01 ERA. But Ruth's prowess as a hitter was becoming more evident and the Red Sox began transitioning Ruth to the outfield in 1918, cutting his starts on the mound in half and giving him more opportunities at the plate. Ruth proved that he could be dominant at both by posting a 13-7 record with a 2.22 ERA while also batting .300 and leading the American League in home runs in just 317 at-bats. In 1919, Ruth's time on the mound was scaled back even more but he still posted a 9-5 record, though his ERA rose sharply to 2.97. More importantly, his 432 at-bats yielded 29 homers, 113 RBI, and 103 runs scored, all league leaders. Following his infamous move to New York in December of 1919, Yankees manager Miller Huggins put an end to George Herman Ruth's pitching career, making him a full-time outfielder that would destroy records on an annual basis and change the course of baseball history forever! The past two Mile High Card Company auctions saw the sale of a PSA 7 and PSA 3 example respectively, and now this PSA 4 is ready to join a world-class collection. Centered toward the left of center, a very common occurrence, the iconic card shows moderate perimeter wear and rounding of the corners commensurate with the grade. The image of Babe is sublime, perfectly focused to see the subtleties in Ruth's face, quite a bit younger and thinner than the snapshots of his later glory days. The reverse is clean with bold Sporting News advertising print. If you missed out on our previous two offerings of a Sporting News Babe Ruth rookie card, maybe it's the third time's a charm for you!
1916 M101-4 Sporting News #151 Babe Ruth PSA 4 VG/EX
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $150,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $353,047.20
Number Bids:15
Competitive in-house shipping is not available for this lot.
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