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Babe Ruth’s ‘called shot’ 1932 World Series jersey up for auction this summer

DALLAS — A jersey from arguably Babe Ruth’s most iconic moment is available for auction later this summer.

In one of baseball’s most-debated moments, “The Great Bambino” stepped up to the plate in the fifth inning against Chicago Cubs pitcher Charlie Root while the score was tied 4-4 in Game 3 of the World Series at Wrigley Field.

Fans were razzing him between pitches. After two strikes from Root, several eye witnesses believe he raised his finger in the air and pointed toward center field.

The next pitch, he crushed a ball that ended up in the center field bleachers. The Yankees went on to win the game and the series the next day.

  • Courtesy Heritage Auctions
    Courtesy Heritage Auctions
  • Courtesy Heritage Auctions
    Courtesy Heritage Auctions
  • Courtesy Heritage Auctions
    Courtesy Heritage Auctions

One of the eye witnesses told his story to WGN News in 2013. Lincoln Landis, 91 at the time, told WGN’s Bob Vorwald that he had a clear view of the at-bat as a 10-year-old in the commissioner’s box.

“It didn’t take a genius in my mind to see that he was saying that’s one swing or one strike. Along comes strike two and the razzing was ever so loud. Babe turned around again and to me this was so exciting. Babe Ruth is talking to the fans and they’re talking to him! He held up two fingers, all the way up, no doubt about it. There were thousands of fans watching and he was saying strike two. He took his stance in the batting area and pointed again, this time one finger up in the air, well out over center field, over second base toward center field. And the next pitch he lofted a high fly ball. Now I wasn’t that familiar with how high a fly ball could go. This one went in the center field bleachers. He had called his shot!,” Landis said at the time.

The incident remains debated as others say he did not point to center and may have pointed to the Cubs’ dugout instead.

If you have a lot of money, the jersey, up for auction in August, is expected to be “the most expensive sports collectible ever to cross the auction block.”

The jersey is twice authenticated and will be sold through Heritage Auctions.

A firm said the jersey was matched using two photos from Getty Images and a third from The Chicago Daily News showing Ruth, Lou Gehrig and manager Joe McCarthy in the dugout.

The current most expensive sports collectable, a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card, was sold in Aug. 2022 for a record $12.6. million.

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“He stands up there and tells the world he’s going to sock that next one — and not only that, but he tells the world right where he’s gonna sock it, into the center field stands,” teammate Lou Gehrig said on a radio show in 1932. “He called his shot and then made it. I ask you, what can you do with a guy like that?”

In addition to young Landis, future U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and future Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens were in attendance.

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