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Rose Mary
By Rosemary McKittrick
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Brown’s ticket stub, newspaper box score and summary of game, notarized letter from Brown’s wife and the home run baseball sold for $805,000. Photo courtesy of Hunt Auctions.
In the bottom of the third inning, Babe Ruth smacked a two run home run off of National League pitcher Bill Hallahan. As the first home run in All-Star Game history sailed toward right field, the fans went wild.

It was one of those magic moments in baseball when time stands still and a sense of greatness filled the crowd. History was happening on the field and they knew it.

Earl Brown managed to get his hands on two tickets to that 1933 All-Star Baseball Game at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. The finest players of the era like Ruth, Gehrig, Gomez, Foxx, Klein, Simmons, Grove and Terry were on deck before a crowd of 49,200 cheering fans.

Brown had to be there. He was courting his girlfriend Mae at the time and this game was one more way to score points. Becoming part of history was not something he expected.

As Brown watched the baseball soaring toward him from his right field seat, he reached up and stopped it with his bare hand. The ball seared his palm and the crowd exploded in acknowledgment. Brown’s hand was red for the rest of the afternoon.

What added to the baseball’s standing was the fact that it was the only home run hit by Ruth during his two All-Star appearances in 1933 and 1934.

After the game ended, Brown knew he had to get Ruth’s signature on his ball but the baseball legend already left for the locker room. Realizing the importance of his prize catch, Brown decided to wait for Ruth to return to Comiskey Park in a game against the White Sox.

This time he and Mae got seats as close to the field as possible, behind first base. An usher helped them approach Ruth who signed his baseball. What added to the ball’s mystique was a period newspaper account describing exactly what happened that day.

“The most prized memento of Baseball’s ‘game of the century’ played Thursday in Comiskey Park,” was the ball which Babe Ruth clouted into the left (mistaken typo) field stands for the two runs,” the newspaper reported. “The Ruthian circuit blow sailed the ball in question directly into the hands of Earl Brown.”

This baseball is probably the most documented vintage, home run baseball of significance to show up on the auction block. It has it all from being a historically important baseball to an iron clad provenance plus the name Babe Ruth tagging alongside. With this kind of track record, the collectors line up at auction.

That’s exactly what happened on July 11, 2006, when the baseball went on the block at Hunt Auctions All-Star Fanfest auction held in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The lot included Earl Brown’s ticket stub to the game, a newspaper box score and summary of what happened, a notarized letter from Brown’s wife and the home run baseball.

The Babe Ruth vintage baseball and accompanying items sold for $805,000. Here are some current values for the important sport’s items sold in the auction.

All-Star Fanfest Auction

Cabinet Card; Honus Wagner; 1904 W600 Sporting Life; one of the more desirable cabinet cards of its type; $9,200.

Louisville Slugger 125 Model Bat; Roberto Clemente; from 1969 all-star game played in Washington, D.C., $25,300.

Baseball Card; Topps Mickey Mantle #311; the crown jewel of all 1950s issue cards; this particular card offered for the first time at public auction; $25,300.

Baseball Card Set; 1954 Topps; includes Williams, Robinson, Kluszewski, Irvin and Mays; $26,450.

Signed Baseball; 1927 New York Yankees team autographed ball; one of the most complete Yankees signed balls; $37,950.

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