04.30.12

For Sale : Things Once Worn By The Sultan Of Sloth

Posted in Baseball at 4:51 pm by

Former major league hurler/fitness expert David Wells is auctioning items from his extensive memorabilia collection in order to renovate the baseball field at his alma mater, Point Loma High School (San Diego, CA).   Amongst the artifacts on offer ; an 1930 Yankee cap once owned by Babe Ruth  — and famously worn by Wells during a 1997 Yankee game, much to the chagrin of Joe Torre.  From the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner :

Among the Wells items up for auction are a Christy Mathewson autographed ball; Thurman Munson’s game-worn shin guards; an autographed, game-used Phil Rizzuto glove from 1941; a ball autographed by several stars of the Negro leagues, including Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige; and a felt bowler hat worn by Lou Gehrig in 1928.

But the prize is the Ruth cap, which carries a minimum bid of $50,000 and is inscribed on the inside leather band with “G. Ruth” and his size, 7 3/8. When Wells wore it in a game, he gave the heirloom an intriguing modern twist, even if his manager made him remove it after one inning.

“Joe Torre fined me,” Wells said. “He said it wasn’t the required uniform. I said, ‘It’s got an ‘NY’ on it.’ He said, ‘Well, it’s not the ‘NY’ we have.’ I said: ‘You’ve really got to be kidding me. But if you’ve got to fine me, go for it.’ ”

Torre fined Wells $2,500, a pittance compared with the value of the cap, which Wells is about to find out.

“Let me put it this way,” said David Kohler, the president of SCP Auctions, which will take bids online through May 19. “The last Ruth hat sold at auction, in 2008, brought $327,750. That hat was awesome, but this hat’s in better condition and it comes from David Wells. So we feel like it’s probably going to be north of that. This could get pretty crazy.”

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