In a makeshift Yankee locker room on the set of Samuel Goldwyn’s production of “Pride of the Yankees,” actors, most with zero baseball background, pulled it off, in large part, because the audience’s attention was deflected to the real thing. One, portraying a Yankee player, asked: “Hey Babe, was that homer yesterday 38 or 39?” With a broad grin, Babe Ruth himself replied: “Don’t know, but I’ll hit ‘em and you count ‘em.” Such is the nature of this unparalleled prize: an index card decorated with one of the boldest Ruth autographs you’ll ever behold.
The hobby has seen many Ruth signatures, to be sure. The usual mediums include baseballs (almost all with Ruth’s scripting in rightful occupancy of the sweet spot), publications, photos and government postcards. But as for index cards with Ruth’s endorsement? The population is scarce. Which is not to say that Ruth discriminated on what he would or wouldn’t sign. By the vast majority of accounts, he embraced the attention and rarely refused interaction and autograph requests. On this particular occasion, a 3x5” lined index card was obviously the most convenient surface available to the eager autograph seeker. On the blank side, Ruth signed in graphite pencil. With flowing characters and remarkably even pressure throughout, the scripting projects every bit of (“9”) potency. With no date indicator, we can only assume that the signature dates to post-1928, as Ruth had customarily put quotation marks around “Babe” prior to that.
Accompanying is a full photo LOA from JSA, whose namesake, James Spence, declares that “this is among the rarest examples” he’s seen.