A trove of Babe Ruth’s personal items, including his hand-stitched hunting gloves and a photograph Lou Gehrig signed for him, will go up for auction next year, his family announced Tuesday.
The granddaughter of the legendary Bronx Bomber, Linda Ruth Tosetti, 63, has been taking care of the collection since she was a ten-year-old responsible for “dusting the baseballs” she said.
But now, it’s time to part with the items.
“We are downsizing and there is no place anyone can house what we have,” Tosetti, whose mom is Dorothy Ruth Pirone, Ruth’s only biological child, told The Post.
“Now it’s time to let it go and share it with the fans and they will take care of it.”
The list of item to be auctioned on June 15 at Yankee Stadium isn’t finalized yet but it’ll include a pair of The Sultan of Swat’s game-worn size 11 cleats, his “Better year than the President” 1930-31 contract with the New York Yankees and a baseball Ty Cobb autographed for him.
Also up for sale by the Hunt Auctions house will be an engraved urn gifted to The Great Bambino during a 1934 visit to Japan — that he tried to destroy in a rage after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“When they bombed Pearl Harbor it broke my grandfather’s heart that these people who loved him so much would do this to his country,” Tosetti said at a Tuesday press conference in Yankee Stadium. “He started throwing things out the window that he got from Japan… dolls, whatever he could reach.”
The King of Swing gave the urn a good kick, denting it. The urn hit a metal sash on the window and bounced back, Tosetti said.
“You’ll see a toe mark where he kicked it,” she explained. “My mother caught it on the bounce and threw it in the closet. That’s why it’s dented and that’s why it has a toe mark.”
It’s still unclear how much the items are worth but Ruth is a big seller in the sports memorabilia world. A Yankees jersey worn by the Bam in 1920 sold for a record-making $4.4 million in 2012.
Ruth retired in 1935 with 714 home runs, the major league record for nearly 40 years.
The reason Tosetti has kept the collection, which includes a slew of photographs and autographed items, secret for so long is because she was afraid someone would break into her Connecticut home to snatch them.
It’s also why she doesn’t want the collectors’ items inside a museum, where they could fall prey to robbers, since “Babe is always the first to be stolen.”
Tosetti hopes that by auctioning them off to fans, the pieces will be cared for. She doesn’t want her nieces and nephews “selling everything on Ebay,” she told The Post.
“Its taken me two years to make this decision and I feel like sometimes I am selling my soul,” she confided, but added: “Why do we need all of these signatures of these baseball players when I have the DNA of the greatest one that’s out there.”
Additional reporting by Charles Wenzelberg
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