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Graded NM-MT 8 by PSA/DNA. Autograph grade 9. Ball grade 7.
Babe Ruth died the same way he lived: With full devotion to our national pastime and all those who love it. Rather than retreat from the public eye as his body was ravaged by cancer, Babe continued making charitable appearances, supporting youth leagues and, oh yes, autographing baseballs.
Even in mid-June of 1948, just two months before his death, Ruth traveled to the small town of Spencer, Iowa, where he presented a trophy to the winning team of a local tournament. Upon his arrival, the Algona Upper Des Moines newspaper announced, "Sponsoring Ruth's only appearance in Iowa are the American Legion, Spencer Baseball, Inc., the Chamber of Commerce, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, and the Clay County Fair Association. Ruth is being brought to Iowa by the Ford Motor Co., by whom he is employed in the interests of Junior League Baseball."
Spencer Daily Reporter journalist Bill Bryson later reflected back on Babe's visit with this poignant description: "It was a shock, seeing the gaunt, shrunken giant shamble into the hotel room which had been set aside for the Babe's brief chat with newspapermen. Weary and weak though he was, the Babe was still a commanding personality and, as his tortured vocal chords warmed up, he grated out quick, witty answers to questions about baseball's most famous career."
As part of the festivities, Ruth granted what would turn out to be the final public signing of his life. It was held at the Ford dealership owned by Spencer resident John Hart, who also ran the organization Spencer Baseball, Inc. Hart ultimately kept eight of the session's autographed balls as cherished heirlooms, storing them in a bank's safe deposit box for most of the next six decades, until the Hart family decided to auction them this past spring. The NM-MT 8 blazer presented here was the definitive cream of that crop, and it combines an absolutely stunning blue-fountain-pen "9" signature with an "Official 97 League" ball grading "7". An LOA from a representative of the Hart family accompanies.
Following his trip to Spencer, Babe made just one more promotional appearance on July 26th for the Manhattan film premiere of The Babe Ruth Story. Sadly, the next occasion Ruth was seen publicly came as his body lay in state at Yankee Stadium—The House That He Built. LOA from PSA/DNA. LOA from JSA.