Published : Tuesday, March 20, 2018 | 5:23 PM
A baseball that Babe Ruth autographed in Los Angeles in 1927 and gave to father-and-son Fern Ambrose and Fern Gramer Yarbrough when the “Bambino” was in town to shoot a silent movie has been sitting in its original Wilson sporting goods box in a Pasadena basement for over half a century.
The ball, certified by a top authentication company, is now up for sale in a Lelands Classic auction ending March 23 and could command as much as $30,000.
The Yarbroughs met Ruth when he was shooting “Babe Ruth Comes Home” at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. “Pop” Yarbrough brought his 12-year-old son, Fern Gramer, to meet Ruth and shake his hand. Ruth autographed a baseball for him, just as he did for thousands upon thousands of other fans over the years.
The handshake was a bigger deal than the autograph, so Gramer put his ball back in its original box and pretty much forgot about it. Life went on and he grew up to be a sales rep in an emerging high tech business. He deposited the ball on a shelf in the garage, and it sat there, collecting dust until 1951.
The ball then moved to Pasadena with Gramer and his family and spent most of its lonely life in a dingy, musty basement for the next half-century.
Gramer’s grandson told Forbes he never saw the ball or any other sports memorabilia displayed in the house until Gramer “mentioned it to my dad and me around 2000 when he was struggling with illness.”
Although Babe Ruth balls aren’t terribly scarce, Yarbrough’s is a blazer, Forbes says in the report. “The ball, like Ruth’s career, is exemplary,” Leland’s Auctions Founder and Chairman Joshua Leland Evans told Forbes.
So far, nineteen bids have raised the value of the ball to $14,000, making it the highest priced of nine signed Ruth balls in the auction.