With the MLB World Series just around the corner, a baseball mystery has unfolded in Cranbrook and Wasa, B.C. involving probably the most famous baseball player of all time, Babe Ruth.
Anthony Dransfeld, a special contributor to the Kimberley News Bulletin, shares how the ball found its way to B.C.’s Kootenays and reflects on his memories of the all-time great.
The story actually began three years ago, when an local elderly man died. His sister travelled from Vancouver to sort out his affairs, including his house. There was a small trunk, with a number of locks, that was given to Murphy Brown’s Flea Market in Wasa. After two days of finagling the locks, it opened.
At the very bottom of the trunk, was a small plastic case and stand, with an old weathered baseball – slightly yellowish in color. The date on the baseball was 1943.
The signature: George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr.
Baseball historians in New York City, where Ruth played for the Yankees, as well as the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, have since been sent pictures of the ball, to validate the authenticity of the signature.
I personally, have been a part of the baseball world all of my life. The ball itself is quite probably from the 1940s. Having seen Ruth’s signature on various memorabilia via the internet, to my eye the signature looks quite similar.
Time will tell the tale, but it certainly looks like a most interesting discovery.
Back in the day, Ruth would barnstorm after the Yankees season, playing exhibition games with his team, Babe Ruth’s All Stars, in such locales as Coeur D’Alene, Sandpoint, Spokane, Kallispell, and Helena, Montana.
It is quite conceivable the baseball came from one of those barnstorm games, signed during the very midst of the Second World War, and found its way to the East Kootenays by a fan who attended a game a few hours away.
I will keep everyone updated regarding “The Baseball.”
I have spoken to a curator for the New York Yankees organization and he has confirmed that the ball is definitely from that era. The actual signature has not been confirmed as authentic. It remains to be seen if the ball will need to be sent to the Baseball Hall of Fame for further examination.
By the way, The Babe did quite a lot for the War Bond Drive in the U.S.A., with his charity baseball games in the 40s.
He certainly had a flair for the dramatic. In his very last Major League game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, an overweight and hung over Ruth hit three home runs for the Pirates – one completely clearing the right field stands totally out of the ball park, a feat that had only been done six times in the 80-year history of Forbes Field.
For the readers who aren’t fans, here’s a brief history lesson
Ruth hit his very first homer in Toronto as a minor league ball player, swatting it into Lake Ontario, no less.
He was a 20-game winner as a left handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, winning the World Series 1-0 in 12 innings, before switching to the outfield because of his prodigious home run hitting talent.
Babe Ruth, the most famous baseball player of our time.
The 2019 Baseball Pennant Races are heating up. The front runners are The New York Yankees, Houston Astros (with the stupendous George Springer), the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and the dark horse Minnesota Twins.
Baseball has never been more exciting and so well played as we approach the home stretch.