An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia And The Great Bambino

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Sunday, February.17,  2013

The baseball memorabilia industry may be slowing down from recent generations of over production - but that does not mean that the hobby is dying.  There are Millions of valuable collectibles out there.

The baseball memorabilia industry may be slowing down from recent generations of over production – but that does not mean that the hobby is dying. There are Millions of valuable collectibles out there like this painting of Ted Williams and The Babe.

By Lee Edelstein (‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ – visit his website here)

MLB Reports:  We are pleased to present you with Baseball Author Lee Edelstein as the newest writer with us at the Reports.  Lee will be providing us with great stories about baseball memorabilia on a regular basis.

MLB Reports

An American Hobby

Blog 1

Collecting baseball cards is a uniquely American hobby.  As a kid growing up in the 1950’s I had shoeboxes full of them.  All of my friends did, too.  We had so many cards that, when we got older and our interests shifted to teenage pursuits, our moms decided to clean house. Literally.  Out went the cards which they considered to be nothing more than junk.  Today, we wax nostalgic over those cardboard canvasses of our heroes that we treated so casually.  That’s also why, in good condition, they are worth small fortunes.

I renewed my interest in card collecting a few years ago when I decided to build a collection of the elites of the game – the ballplayers who are members of three very exclusive clubs: 300 Wins, 3,000 Hits, and 500 Home Runs.  It’s an exclusive membership that includes players from before the turn of the twentieth century (Kid Nichols and Pud Galvin are tied for #7 with 361 wins) through players who are active today (Derek Jeter is currently #11 on the ALL-Time Hit list with 3,304.  He is only 11 hits behind Eddie Collins (10th) and 15 behind Paul Molitor (9th):

  • 300 Wins – 24 players
  • 3,000 Hits – 28 players
  • 500 Home Runs – 25 players

Each week, I’ll feature a baseball card of one of these all-time greats.  Along the way, we’ll talk about other aspects of America’s Hobby, why it continues to grow in popularity, and answer any questions you may have.

The Great Bambino Highlights and pictures:

The Babe was bigger than life when it came to America.

The Babe was bigger than life when it came to America.

It’s only fitting to lead off with Babe Ruth. It has been 78 years since the Great Bambino played his last game and he remains as popular as ever.  After all, he’s the greatest ballplayer of all time – bar none.  Everyone knows about his Home Run prowess (in 1920 he smacked 54 HRs , (more than any other team except one) but before he became a slugger he was an extraordinary pitcher.  A few facts: he has the 11th best Won/Lost Percentage in baseball history; his 2.277 lifetime ERA is 17th best ALL-Time, just behind the great Mariano Rivera (2.214); he won 89 games by the time he was 24,  far more than Tom Seaver (57), Randy Johnson (3), Tom Glavine (33), Roger Clemens (60), Greg Maddux (60),  and Steve Carlton (47), all of whom are members of the hallowed 300 Win Club. 

When the bat was in his hands, he did a lot more than hit Home Runs.  He’s in the top ten with a career Batting Average of .342 – and he stands #1 in OPS at 1.16.  And for those sabremetric fans out there, the Sultan of Swat is numero uno all-time in WAR.  Oh yeah, he also led the Majors each year in eating hot dogs, drinking booze, and running around with dames.  All long before there was anything known as a performance enhancing drug.  (Can you imagine?  The Babe on steroids!!)

The Babe’s enduring popularity carries over to the world of collectibles.  Anything Babe Ruth – cards, signed balls, game-used bats – commands extraordinary prices (a game used cap sold for $537,000 last year).

Pictured below is one of the hobby’s iconic cards – #144 of the 1933 Goudey Gum  series:

a ruth

The 1933 Goudeys are considered to be one of the most beautiful sets of baseball cards ever produced.  They are extremely popular with card collectors and, in top condition, are very expensive.  The Babe was such a star that he commanded four different cards in this set.  Card #144 is the only full body portrait of the Ruth cards and is highly sought after.  In mint condition (PSA grade 9), #144 will sell for $65-70,000.  No, that’s not a typo.  Don’t you wish you had one or two of these lying around!

Ruth's Legend continues to grow as the years goes by.

Ruth’s Legend continues to grow as the years goes by.

Do you have any Babe Ruth memorabilia – let us know!

(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)

a     lee edelstein

A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ Lee Edelstein for preparing today’s featured article. Lee was born and raised in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York.  He inherited his love of baseball from his dad.    The game has been Lee’s constant companion since he was seven years old – when his dad took him to see his first ball game at Ebbets Field.   This was followed by a brief and largely unsuccessful Little League career.  While he wasn’t all that good on the ball field he became an ALL-Star at collecting baseball cards.  His collection is still alive today after surviving many scares over the years.      Lee was also much better at business than playing baseball.  He was good enough that he was able to retire and pursue his other passion – writing about baseball! Chin Music is his first novel. He is hard at work on his second, Mound Music. You can read a full overview and find links to purchase here and also check out a quick synopsis in the picture below.  Feel Free to follow Lee on Twitter and chat about the game of baseball.   

Sixteen-year-old Ryan Buck is a talented athlete who was fortunate to escape with minor injuries from the horrific car crash that devastated his family.   Two-and-a-half years and countless hours of therapy later, Ryan still can’t remember a thing about the accident and it’s making for agonizingly slow progress. But everything changes when his mom, Susan, is forced to sell the old Babe  Ruth artifacts that have been in the family for years.

Sixteen-year-old Ryan Buck is a talented athlete who was fortunate to escape with minor injuries from the horrific car crash that devastated his family. Two-and-a-half years and countless hours of therapy later, Ryan still can’t remember a thing about the accident and it’s making for agonizingly slow progress. But everything changes when his mom, Susan, is forced to sell the old Babe Ruth artifacts that have been in the family for years.

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Posted on February 17, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Very enjoyable. Good for you.

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