In the third inning, Ruth gave the fans and the rest of the world exactly what they wanted with a blistering line drive shot into the right field bleachers. The jubilant crowd erupted as Ruth rounded the bases, completing the baptism of Yankee Stadium in storybook fashion. "The House that Ruth Built" has since been the home of 25 championship teams and 98 World Series games in the 20th century.
After his home run, Ruth, always supportive of kids and young ball players, donated the bat to The Los Angeles Evening Herald newspaper to be awarded as the top prize in a high school home run hitting contest. On the bat, the Babe inscribed, "To the Boy Home Run King of Los Angeles 'Babe' Ruth, N.Y. May 7, 1923." The bat was awarded to Victor Orsatti by the Herald on June 7, 1923. Upon his death in 1984, Mr. Orsatti willed the bat, along with all of his personal effects, to his caretaker. She kept it in her possession, under her bed, until now. In honor of Victor
Orsatti, and in the spirit of Babe Ruth's inclination towards helping children, she intends to use a portion of her proceeds from the sale of this bat to fund a baseball program at an orphanage in Mexico, where she now spends a great deal of her time. Together with the bat is a telegram from Ruth congratulating Orsatti on his win as well as an album of newspaper cuttings and other mementoes relating to the contest.
Two months prior to Ruth's passing, he returned to Yankee Stadium for the last time on June 13, 1948 for the park's 25th anniversary. Frail and ailing with throat cancer, the weakened Ruth was announced by Mel Allen to a raucous ovation. Draped in his old uniform, he struggled over to a microphone near home plate using a bat as a cane, while the crowd of 49,647 sang "Auld Lang
Syne". In a gravelly voice the Babe proclaimed how proud he was to have hit the first homer in Yankee Stadium and added "...lord knows who'll hit the last".
Also from that historic opening day is a very scarce April 18, 1923 Yankee Stadium Opening Day Program. In very good condition overall, the program is estimated to sell for $3/5,000. Other relics from "The House that Ruth Built" are an original Yankee Stadium Seat (in "Yankee blue") (est. $1,500/2,000) and Home Plate from Yankee Stadium circa 1923-1973 which was removed during the 1973-74 renovation project and which is sold from the personal collection of former Kansas City Royals owner Avron B. Fogelman (est. $50/75,000).
Sale of the Largest Private Collection of Baseball Memorabilia in the World Totals $2,073,763
Babe Ruthís Last Bat Sells For $107,000
Sold at auction in
September 1999 was the bat used by Babe Ruth during his touching farewell at Yankee Stadiumís 25th Anniversary on June 13th, 1948. There were seven bidders competing for the bat which finally sold to Chicago sports memorabilia dealers Dave Bushing and Don Knoll for $107,000. They bought it on behalf of a client. Babe Ruth, his health failing, was determined to attend the farewell with the rest of the surviving members of the 1923 team. When the announcer called his name, he emerged from the visitorsí dugout using fellow Hall of Famer Bob Fellerís bat as a cane for support. Included with the lot was Nat Feinís Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of Ruth standing at home plate. The Babe died just two months later on August 16th, 1948. This very special bat was estimated at $50/100,000.
A 1920s Baseball Bat Bench (lot 64; est. $5/10,000) sold for $28,750 and was bought over the phone by Mr. Robert Daly of Warner Brother Studios.
Babe Ruth's 1920 Signed Game Used Bat
Babe Ruth's Signed Game-Used Bat from his first season as a New York Yankee in 1920, used in a face-off between the Yankees and the Chicago White
Sox, will also highlight the sale. Signed by Ruth to Mayor William "Big Bill" Thompson of Chicago on September 17, 1920, it is one of only a handful of game-used bats signed by Ruth and is estimated to sell for $150/200,000.