Thursday, February 06, 2014

Some Historical Base Ball Treasures at Heritage Auctions - Civil War Base Ball and Ruth's 1923 Championship Watch

Along with the Jackie Robinson letter I shared yesterday, Heritage Auctions also has some historical Base Ball memorabilia worth noting.  Heck, some of these items need to find their way to a museum because they are too great not to be shares with the public.

Featured below is a Civil War era baseball, and it's purported to be the most thoroughly documented ball available.
(auction link)

From the auction description:
"Captain France was a member of the Seventeenth New York zouaves, who were attached to the Sixteenth corps under the command of N.S. Granger. There were a number of good ballplayers in the Seventeenth and when, in May '64, the corps was encamped at Decatur, Ala., the baseball enthusiasts conceived the plan of sending to Nashville, 130 miles north, for a ball and bat.

The plan was executed and many a hot game of baseball was played on the parade grounds. When the call for dress parade came and a game was in progress, it was customary for the man having the ball in his hand at the time to keep it until the next game was played.

In this manner the ball was carried on Sherman's march to the sea, through the Atlanta campaign, its siege and capture, then through the Carolinas campaign to Raleigh, Richmond and finally to Washington. At Washington, while the soldiers were waiting to be mustered out, the last game of ball was played. When it was over Lieutenant Barnett was walking off the field with Captain France. 'Here, France,' he called, and gave the ball an underhand toss into France's waiting hands."
(auction link)

The next item is a 1863 Civil War Base Ball lithograph titled, "Union Prisoners at Salisbury, NC".  This is one of the earliest representations of the game of Base Ball.  Click on the pic to embiggen.
(auction link)

This next item has received a lot of press coverage.  Below is Babe Ruth's 1923 New York Yankees World Championship watch.  This was the official prize from the Commissioner of Baseball for New York's first World Series win.  It was eventually given by Ruth to friend Charlie Schwefel, a Manhattan hotel magnet.  Then, it was given to his nephew, Lewis Fern, who was a close friend and personal caddy to Babe Ruth.  As of this posting, the watch is priced at $260,000.00  Do not be surprised if it approaches 7 figures.
(auction link)

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