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Ruth, Gehrig Yankees jerseys selling at auction

10/26/2006 - MLB New York Yankees

DALLAS -- Three sports collectibles have sold for more than $1 million: Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball, a Honus Wagner baseball card and the bat Babe Ruth used to hit the first home run in Yankee Stadium.

Officials with the Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas say two old-time baseball jerseys could also crack the million-dollar mark when they go up for bid Saturday: New York Yankees jerseys worn by Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

The featured item is the jersey Ruth wore when he hit the first home run in baseball's first All-Star Game, in 1933 at Comiskey Park in Chicago.

Making the jersey more rare, and therefore more valuable, is that it has the Yankees pinstripes and Ruth's famous No. 3 on the back. The Yankees wore numbers beginning in 1929, and Ruth left the Yankees after the 1934 season.

That makes this the first pinstriped No. 3 jersey to go up for auction, said Chris Ivy, Heritage's director of sports auctions. It
should go for at least $600,000, Ivy said.

"Ruth is Ruth: He is the king of the sports collectibles market," Ivy said.

The Gehrig jersey is the one he wore in the 1927 season, the year he won the MVP.

The 1927 Yankees lineup is known as Murderer's Row and was one of the most potent in baseball history. Gehrig batted cleanup for most of the season.

"I'd be surprised if these jerseys don't get near the seven-figure mark," Ivy said.

A collector named Joe Esposito picked up the Ruth jersey at a garage sale in the 1980s for less than $1,000. That and the Gehrig jersey are being sold by an East Coast collector who Heritage would not name.

Other items up for auction include a game-worn Gayle Sayers jersey and the WBC championship belt Joe Frazier won by beating Jimmy Ellis in 1970.