A brief history of Babe Ruth’s generous signing habits. My new Forbes story.
Very nice and well written. Nice images too.
Thanks so much, Eric!
My Babe Ruth signed baseball is my most cherished autograph in my collection, slightly ahead of my John Lennon and John F. Kennedy. I have one now, but I’ve owned four over time. When I got my first one at about age 35, I was on cloud nine. I was a kid again. I felt like I had won the lottery! Now at age 54, I’m still in love with the Bambino’s autograph.
Babe Ruth is the ultimate American sports icon. Yes, there are Michael Jordan, Muhammed Ali, Wilt Chamberlain, and Tom Brady, but not even Jordan came close to captivating American culture the way Babe Ruth did.
For decade after decade Ruth was THE ULTIMATE AMERICAN CELEBRITY. He was more famous and beloved than any movie star ever could be. In fact, when Ruth was being filmed for Pride of the Yankees, major Hollywood movie stars clamored for the Sultan of Swat’s autograph. Jordan didn’t come close to taking over America the way the Babe did.
I’ve had conversations with a couple of millenials who believe Michael Jordan was bigger than Ruth, but such thinking is laughable and displays a strong lacking of historical knowledge and perspective. I like Michael Jordan too, and I was in awe of his talent. But there has never been a celebrity as transcending, popular, and beloved in American culture as Babe Ruth.
I haven’t read your article yet, but I look forward to doing so. But there’s no doubt that the supply of Ruth autographs can ever meet the demand for them.
Thank you, James, for your beautiful note. I am glad your Babe Ruth gives you so much enjoyment. And I completely agree that he is the most iconic figure. Just read Jane Leavy's new biography.