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Dec. 16, 2022

Ep.210 w/ Michael Gibbons of the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum

Michael Gibbons has been involved with the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum for 40 years, he joins us to share some rarely heard Babe stories, how the 6 million dollar Baltimore News Babe rookie is protected, how the building was saved, a few of his...

Michael Gibbons has been involved with the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum for 40 years, he joins us to share some rarely heard Babe stories, how the 6 million dollar Baltimore News Babe rookie is protected, how the building was saved, a few of his favorite Babe items in the museum and a personal gift given to him by the Ruth Family. A great conversation for a Babe Ruth fan or Baseball fan!!

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al excited to talk to the next gentleman any sports card shop at Moco gas line he's the director Emeritus uh
and historian of The Babe Ruth birthplace and museum in Baltimore
Maryland uh welcome to the show Mr Michael Gibbons welcome Hey thank you
John thanks for having me on a real pleasure well I appreciate you I know you're busy
guy and and got a lot of stuff on your plates I appreciate you uh joining us uh
today you know Babe Ruth I don't care whether you're a Yankee fan uh or
whatever your fandom is I mean he's an icon of baseball maybe you know the true
first icon uh of the sport uh in the terms Like We Know It uh today kind of
uh and we're gonna definitely talk about uh the man in the legend himself kind of
the history you know your history in in the Museum's history and how they sort of intertwine uh as well
well I've been involved with the Babe Ruth birthplace museum for 40 years
and uh and so uh my start came back in
1982 I was uh I was a documentary producer and I was doing a documentary
um I had been commissioned to do one on Babe Ruth so I'm in Baltimore and and I thought well I think one of the first
stops I need to make is to go down to the Babe Ruth uh birthplace and see what
they can tell me because I uh certainly as a baseball fan I was aware of Babe
Ruth uh you know and I I was aware that he was born in Baltimore but aside from
the big records the 60 home runs and things I didn't know a whole lot and and so uh you know this is 1982. I I took
off and went down there and um interviewed the people who worked there and in addition to finding out
um some limited information about Babe Ruth uh I I found out that that that the
institution was struggling so as a baseball fan I've said well let me see
what can we do to make the Babe Ruth Museum healthy or healthier and so I got
involved and we made a project got the Orioles involved did some Orioles
display uh at the birthplace why because when I went to the Orioles I said you
know uh the Baltimore Orioles signed Babe Ruth to his first contract back in 1914 and so there is even though it was
a minor league Orioles franchise there was a link between the Orioles and Ruth
and uh the the general manager of the Orioles at the time a guy named Hank Peters who was a pretty good GM by the
way he uh he said sure sounds great to me do your thing and I was like okay
great so we we got going and um kind of got the Babe Ruth Museum on a more solid
footing and uh after about a year or so they asked me to uh to become the
executive director of The Babe Ruth Museum and I had no idea what that meant so
um uh you know anyway I got involved uh in a formal way and set off on a journey
that has brought me to your show right now and that is um to live in an office over top the
room where Babe Ruth was born in 1895 and to learn everything that I could
about the man about the legend about the ball player and all of those things and
uh so um you know going back to your original statement
um you know he is the iconic figure of baseball but quite frankly he is the
American icon of all sports played in this country I mean he is the most
celebrated athlete um in any of our lifetimes uh probably
around the world I I would think uh a Babe Ruth autograph um is as recognizable as any autograph
on the face of the Earth how about that you know Abraham Lincoln how about how
about Babe Ruth probably more so so yeah um uh he's a great ball player you know
within the past year with Aaron judge um with ohtani doing his thing as a pitcher
and power hitter uh we've had a lot of media attention people want to talk about Babe Ruth
um our belief is that he remains the standard against which all major
league players measure themselves he had 206 career
um uh uh uh you know number one marks you know he set records 206 records uh
most of which have been broken but nevertheless think about that and uh I think that Aaron judge when he hits uh
62 or whatever it's it's Babe Ruth you know that's that's where the attention
goes back to yeah crazy I gotta ask you and obviously
in 1982 the building and and what what the the museum was then to now is vastly
different what was it like when you first showed up in in 82 for obviously we we could you know we can't go back in
a time machine but we're someone who saw it in 82 how would you describe uh where
they were at that time with the location well um the city of Baltimore kind of
ran uh they owned the Babe Ruth birthplace and they appointed a a
curator or a director but I think curator is what they called him at the time to run the Babe Ruth house which is
what they called it and the Edgar Allan Poe house another uh icon who happened
to live in Baltimore he wasn't born in Baltimore but Edgar Allan Poe lived in Baltimore for a while and so the city
owned both of these properties and they had one guy and he he kind of managed
both of those properties he was not a baseball fan and so there was no real passion attached to the presentation
that I saw at the Babe Ruth Museum when I when I got there um they had opened in 1974. that's when
it opened to the public Ruth was born in 1895 the building was one of four row
houses on the southwest side of Baltimore city and in a neighborhood
that ultimately uh decayed over time and um lapsed into real disrepair and the
building was scheduled for demolition uh as late as 1967 I think
um but the mayor of Baltimore's press secretary a guy named um hirch Pacino he
uh he went to the mayor and he said they're going to tear down the Babe Ruth house
we can't allow this to happen you know he's he's important and the mayor agreed
and so uh they put together a campaign to raise money they restored they bought
and restored the properties and uh in 1974 they opened to the public as the
babers of birthplace Shrine the exhibits that I saw nine years later or eight
years later um were um modest at best they had a statue of
Babe um a wax figure when you came in and it unfortunately it depicted Babe Ruth when
he had cancer so he disheveled and and skinny and weak and you know the way he
looked um and I thought this is not a good way to present the Bambino in his birthplace
so um we uh we started to change things around make and make it more a dynamic
almost from the minute I got there and since I got there
the birthplace has enjoyed and hosted about 1.2 million visitors and this is
for a property that is not huge but uh you know it has done it's done well uh
we've had good years and you know the pandemic hurt but anyway a steady
visitation people come from all over the world to see where Babe Ruth was born
yeah and just to think how you you know and listening to you Michael how close that building like you explained came to
to not existing anymore quite frankly and that's uh that's scary to think right you you know that uh uh it may not
be there for people to pay their respects and visit uh and see and uh
thankfully uh it still is and and I know uh you know with what you've done it's
it's a lot different than than like you said it was uh in
1982. so I mean just talk about uh you know how many approximately I mean how
many items pertain pertaining to the Babe are housed within the museum uh
itself oh um thousands uh yeah we get donations
not every day but every week uh you know some very unique things come to us from
time to time on Babe Ruth uh but you know when I got involved
um people were more inclined in the early 80s to donate things to museums
like Cooperstown or the Babe Ruth Museum or whatever um but but within that decade that first
10 years or whatever that I was there I watched a Babe Ruth autographed baseball
uh go from a value of about a hundred dollars for a baseball unless it was an
extraordinary um you know baseball that had big history behind it but about a hundred bucks to uh thousands of dollars within
the first 10 years that I was there and I realized that whereas people initially
when I got involved were donating things then it became more of a challenge for us to get the items into the the museum
so we had to make a decision pretty early on that if John Newman
had a Babe Ruth autographed baseball that he was toying with the idea of
selling it or doing something with it at a museum would we take a loan
and it was like yeah I'll take the loan our job in my opinion anyway is to get
an artifact that helps us interpret the Babe Ruth Story and get it on display
for the public so that they can enjoy it I don't care who you know what the provenance is I don't care who owns it
my job is to get that art the John Newman autographed baseball of Babe Ruth
out on display to the public so that uh that the fans can enjoy it and that
that's that's pretty much our mission we do get a lot of donations but also have
a lot of things prominent things on display at the Museum like the Babe Ruth rookie card which are loaned To Us by
benefactors who understand the value of getting stuff out in front of the public
yeah that was going to be a question I was going to ask Michael's you know what
percentage like does the museum itself own outright to like to stuff that's
maybe uh on loan like hey it's still my item but I'm gonna let the museum put it
on display what would you say the percentages I would say that probably 80
percent of what of ruthian items that we display are owned by the museum and that
but you know we pick and choose if there if there's something really cool um that uh like the Babe Ruth rookie
card that we think the public really needs to see uh then we're going to
bring that in and but whatever helps us to tell the story but but in truth most
most of the stuff at least Babe Ruth um uh stuff is is in the possession of
the museum now we have um over over the over all of these
decades that I've been involved have have evolved to become a de facto State
sports museum so we we have the Orioles collection the Ravens collection the
cult Baltimore Colts collection Maryland Terrapins Michael Phelps um uh Carmelo Anthony uh prominent
marylanders home run Baker Lefty Grove and guys like that so we have those things within our our collection a lot
more of those items especially with the current active teams like the Oreos or the Ravens or the Terps
um they're on loan from the institutions or teams that we represent
yeah and you mentioned carmeloa today I'd be remiss uh here in Syracuse he's
uh he's revered here uh as well as he brought brought to school there only uh
you know basketball championship here in Syracuse and uh well we we have his we
have his Syracuse championship ring so uh yeah yeah it's uh but that that's
how that works uh you know I I think that um people local people uh this is
the local sports museum although it has an uh kind of an a national uh Panache
about it is certainly led by Babe Ruth but also by guys like Michael Phelps and Carmelo Anthony and Johnny Unitas and
stuff like that it has it has a national appeal as well so um it it's a we never
go to work um without passion because uh you know the the collection that that we protect
the collection that we preserve uh the legacies that those artifacts help us to
preserve uh the stories that we can tell are terrific yeah that's that's great and and you
know to think I I mean I'm looking I'm planning to to come out next year uh so
I'm anxious to see you know uh what what you have uh amongst Babe Ruth and the
other stuff um Carmelo's a sneaker is about this long yeah oh yeah oh yeah I believe it I
believe basketball guys have have a huge feat yeah now I'm I'm not too far from
from Cooperstown I'm about 60 70 minutes here uh in Syracuse from Cooperstown
obviously there's quite a bit of Babe Ruth memorabilia uh you know housed
there as well do you have any communication with the Baseball Hall of Fame is there any kind of uh like you
know maybe exchange you want to display this or if I you know is there any kind of yeah are you are you on those terms
with with the Baseball Hall absolutely yeah I mean you know I'm not going to tell you you that we have daily
communication with them but it's probably weekly where Tom shiver who is
their Chief curator at the Baseball Hall of Fame is a dear friend
um the saber convention National saber convention was in Baltimore this year Tom and I did a show uh on Babe Ruth and
I think 400 people showed up uh you know to listen to this panel discussion so it was great but um yeah we have a good
relationship with the hall uh for many years and you know I I think that in the
in the world of um baseball history we we who help preserve or try and
preserve that history and the Legacy we need to help each other we need to share
stories um if I need something uh on Babe Ruth or somebody else uh I I'm certainly
encouraged to call Tom uh to say what can you you got anything on this that
kind of stuff and he'll do the same with me uh we also you know work with the Smithsonian
um they did an exhibit on Babe Ruth a few years ago and we collaborated with
them uh uh providing prep precious artifacts to go over to uh to the
Smithsonian to help them tell the story of Babe Ruth so um that but that's our job that's what
we do now I know I spoke to you before we we hit record uh you know you're gonna be
celebrating uh the 50th Anniversary uh of the museum uh in 2024 but you you're
going to start that celebration uh leading into it uh in 2023
um it will that be a situation where maybe the hall uh will send some stuff
uh back to the to to you guys there uh to to celebrate that or you have you
went down that road is that what may occur or or just talk about that that
could uh you know we've got a window of about two to three months to figure out
uh uh precisely what we want to do and and to you know
the Babe Ruth Museum turns 50 in July of 2024. our notion right now is that we
would like to because he only turned 50 one time as you know yeah um
start the celebration um this next July July of 23 and run it
all the way through 24. so it would be an 18-month look at what the museum has
accomplished uh and I'm sure the Hall of Fame will be involved with that in some capacity we
haven't thought that through all the way but one thing that you that you and I were talking about before recording was
um the notion that we would over the 18-month celebration period from July of
23 to December of 24 sorry to uh overwhelm people with too many stats but
um that maybe we would feature a precious artifact of Babe Ruth
of the month right every month we would feature an artifact and maybe
we would let the fans vote for what the what would they like to see and maybe we
give them a menu a roster of um what we think are our most precious artifacts
but get us to 18 help us celebrate what you want to see and maybe you help us
with that um I don't know yeah I I'd love I'd love to I'd love to promote that and get the
word out there and get people involved for sure no doubt no doubt so
again you know we're we're incubating this right now and
um so you know we'll see how all this goes but um that's going to be exciting
for us um you know just to go through these next two years so we're we're really excited
yeah I mean you know a lot about uh the man Babe Ruth I mean maybe share a
couple things that maybe the average person you know I grew up in New York City and like you said even from a
little a little kid I I was made aware of of Beirut at a very uh young age
obviously as I got older I learned even more maybe share a couple things that
unless you're a die-hard Babe Ruth you know fan or you know you may not realize
about them there's anything that sticks out yeah um well well
um as as an old documentary guy you know you're a media guy so uh I am too and
when I got to the museum I thought one of the first things that we ought to do
was start to talk to people and put them on tape you know and talk and and in
1982 when we started recording people um there were a lot of a lot of guys
around and girls who had first-hand experience with Babe Ruth guys who
pitched against him guys who batted against him um uh teammates different things like
that so we our audio archives is uh pretty astonishing
um but perhaps the the most important interviews of the thousands of hours of
interviews that we've conducted over the years with people about Babe Ruth uh
were interviews that we did with his daughter Julia
who just passed away a couple of years ago at the ripe old age of 103 and she
was a dear friend and only surviving sister Mamie
the Ruth family Catherine and and George senior had eight children
and only two survived early childhood uh George Babe Ruth and Mary Mamie Ruth
Moberly and so the interviews that we got with both of those women are pretty
revealing uh maybe Babe's sister told us that when he was
sent off to Saint Mary's Industrial school and by the way uh he did he's not
an orphan he had a family um he was a bit of a delinquent
um but we have found out over time that by the time he turned seven and he's
kind of running the streets and maybe he'd go to school and maybe he wouldn't the state of Maryland passed a rule a
law saying that if children were truant from school that they would be put away
in state institutions and Babe Ruth's father George senior
knowing that his son was truant from time to time decided he did not want his
kid to be placed uh in a state institution and uh paid for him to go to
St Mary's Industrial School uh that was not known for a really long time so
anyway that happened and that's how babe ended up at St Mary's but Mamie told us that she and
her mother would go take the streetcar from downtown Baltimore uh uh to St
Mary's Industrial School a distance of a couple of miles and uh by the way St
Mary's Industrial school if you come to Baltimore uh I'll take you out there uh
or you know you can go and see where Babe Ruth learned how to play baseball it's very cool very it's very very cool
um but anyway uh Mamie said that when she and her mother visited babe at St
Mary's it was like going into a prison they would send them into a giant
Meeting Hall probably the cafeteria or something yeah and um that they would be
taken in first and seated at like a lunch table or whatever and then
of what Saint Mary's called their inmates would be brought in to meet with the
families so George George Jr would be brought in uh the inmate to meet with
Mamie and um and uh her mother his mother as well and he would have 30
minutes and then they were out of there but it was uh Mamie said it just always
felt like a prison um so here is that and and you know so that's first-hand information that you
get now Julia um she has so many stories to tell over many years but some of the more
interesting things that I found out was that uh babe really enjoyed listening to
radio shows and when he was home uh in their New York apartment they would uh
on Sunday night after dinner uh Julia and her father would go into the Radio
Room whatever that was and uh she said his favorite shows were the Lone Ranger
and the Green Hornet you know it's it's made stuff
um yeah get that another story that we found out that probably uh it's never
been recorded in a biography uh Jane Levy did you know the big fella have you
read that by the way no no I haven't but uh yeah okay I'll put it on my list I
like to re you know I I'm a teaching assistant now so I have a some some more
time to to read I've really taken up I've always read books in some capacities but I I go through them a
little quicker now now so I'll put that on your list for sure well you know because guys like you and me live sports
every day yeah um I tend not and I'm a Avid Reader and I I taught college for
23 years I taught College writing so that's great I'm all around words and stuff like that but I don't read a lot
of sports books um because I live it every day yeah and but but but Jane spent a lot of time at
the Museum doing research in our archives listening to all the audio interviews and
um she concentrates uh on a lot of things but one one of the things is his
early days in Baltimore which is important to us because that's that's what Baltimore can Embrace is that time
from 1895 to 1914 when he goes off to Fayetteville North Carolina to his first
spring training and uh she reveals some stuff uh that none of us knew and and
it's really good but one thing she didn't get was that in
1908 now let me think about this Ruth is born in 1895 so he's 13. 13 years old
uh it's amazing to me that this stuff hasn't gotten out before but
um St Mary's Industrial school which is a Catholic School Xavier xavierian
Brothers run it and they had a sister School in Detroit I think by the name of
Saint Leo's and Saint Leo's was located right next to
um a manufacturing firm and they made adding machines I think it was Burrows
Burrows adding machines don't quote me on that but anyway um
Burrows adding machines had joined an industrial League Baseball thing uh so
they joined a baseball league and they thought that would be good a good incentive for their employees to stay
with Burrows because they were offering them um you know a chance to play ball competitively and you know all that
stuff this is 1908. um so Burroughs wanted to win the
industrial League Championship so they got in touch with St Mary's Industrial
St Leos who went to St Mary's Industrial school and St Mary's shipped like 10
players and a coach brother Matthias who taught Ruth how to play baseball and
they went to Detroit for the summer think about this and they won the
championship as ringers these kids you know teenagers
um and and nobody knew that and now we know it and it's true uh it's
yeah it's an amazing story as part of what keeps mild bones uh going every day
is that these stories continue to come to surface and uh and help fill out more
the story of Babe Ruth yeah no doubt you mentioned some of those you know uh conversations with uh
relatives that that are in the archives now as they have you know uh passed on are there any current descendants or
current family uh of of Babe like that that's involved or that you see or talk
to or come to the museum sort of yeah um uh on Julia so there are two daughters
Dorothy and Julia okay and um so Dorothy died in the early 80s I
actually I met her just as I got to the Babe Ruth Museum and then a a little
while later she passed away so I didn't have a relationship with her but she has five five children I think
and Julia who I got to know really well for a really long time she had one son Tom
um so we have a grandson on Julia's side and we have the grandchildren on Dorothy's side
um and Linda to seti who is a grandchild of Darth or a child of Dorothy
um kind of heads up that side of the family so um it the you know the
Heritage continues yes the Heritage continues yeah which is nice to hear you know it's
nice here while they may not you know have known them directly that they can still you know instill their relative
and they can and and they're believe me they're passionate they're passionate about it and as as they should be so uh
uh you know we one of the precious artifacts that we do have in the museum
um uh Julia back I think in 2007 I met her in Cooperstown we were there for Cal
ripken's induction into the Hall of Fame and um you know so I went over to
um her hotel to say hi and uh so you know we gave each other a hug and and
she said Michael I want you to hold out your hands and I held on my hand she said I want to give you something for
all the work that you've done to to preserve my father's Legacy close your eyes I close my eyes and into my hands
she put his rosary wow um this is the Catholic the the
beads yeah if people don't know what a rosary is but uh anyway she told me that
he had carried this throughout his life I don't know where he got it from she didn't tell me that whether it came from
Saint Mary's which is well the Catholic religion kind of thing going on um but it was uh on the post of his
deathbed in the New York Hospital and we have that on display at the
Museum and uh you know it it's artifacts like that uh that help us really
interpret the story of that man's life you know yeah yeah no no doubt and to to
give it to you and now everyone can can see it there uh you know you mentioned
about the the 50th uh uh and you know anniversary celebration and having
people you know select sort of their favorite uh you know items I gotta ask
you you know I know you just told the story with the rosary well obviously like you mentioned there's thousands of
of items pertaining to Babe Ruth in his life and Legacy what are some of your favorites that even though you've seen
them countless times still you know maybe put you in little awe or you still
stop and and think about you know what it kind of uh represents or or the
history of the item itself but what are a few of those that may be right at the
top of your list uh yeah yeah there are many but
um I'll give you a couple um sir we have a bat that he used in
1927 Theory had 60 home runs and it's it's War it has two characteristics that
make it unique one is that it is slightly warped
huh and it's on display in a case yeah so if you were in the museum and you looked at at that case you would go you
would your your brain would say that thing is curved it's got a slight
curve to it it's warped um so that's one and people remark about that it's saying
is that that is that that really am I seeing what is correct because today
Major Leaguers don't use warped bats you know it's this but this is 1927. the
other thing is that it has notches um on the handle that
these little marks little scratches yeah so and there's
like 10 of them or something uh what and we don't have no idea
what those notches I mean if I was to guess I'm sure you probably thought about I'm thinking are they home runs
yeah where are they hot dogs I I I but it's but it's notched and uh it's
very cool so that I I love that one um we we also have Babe Ruth got married
two times in 1914 when he came home from his first year uh with the Red Sox and then with
Providence in the minor leagues he met a a a Boston waitress Helen Woodford and
uh he brought her home to Baltimore after the season and uh
brought her to her daddy into his daddy's Saloon they lived over top and they got married in Ole old Ellicott
City um where I live and um uh in October of
1914 we have the original marriage certificate from that wedding which is
kind of cool I like that you know yeah uh how in the hell did that survive you
know um maybe because he even as a rookie in
1914 he was a celebrity at least in Baltimore you know I mean people were
like oh my gosh so that's really cool so we have that um we have
the official score book from the first uh professional game he
ever played uh regular season as an oriole it was like April 22nd 1914 he
pitched against Buffalo and beat them six to nothing and we have the scorecard
the professional scoreboard from that game which is astonishing to me that
that I didn't uh that was that was there when I got there you know I don't know
how it got there but it's there so uh that's an important one Babe Ruth we
think may have been the first uh uh American athlete to have business cards
so we have a Babe Ruth uh business card George H Ruth
um 1918 Boston Red Sox and it has his stats as a pitcher you know whatever his
record was it was good uh with his era and the one lost record and it says George H Ruth Boston Red Sox you know
and value to sixty thousand dollars right and but we have to understand that he
maybe is the first American athlete to have a business card he's the first American athlete
um or professional baseball player to have an agent the first baseball player
to endorse merchandise we have Babe Ruth underwear which is for kids not for Babe
Ruth um you know it's a product and and so and we have some of that and all of that
is um just really important I think to us we have a bat
that Shoeless Joe Jackson used in a game
now Shooters Joe is ahead of babe in the baseball chronology he he started before
Babe Ruth did so Babe Ruth comes along um probably meets Joe in 1915
um or 16 at the latest uh leading up to you know what happened in 1919. yeah
um and so Joe had his baseball model back this big
thick handled thing that you'll see if you come to the museum and um
he gave it to Babe Ruth and said here kid yeah check this one out before you
select your own Louisville Slugger model so we have a bat game used by shirtless
Joe Jackson and Babe Ruth that's kind of cool yeah I like that very cool uh and I
I I'll Venture a pretty safe guess probably only one in existence
I hope I think so when Ruth went to Japan in
1934 heading a list of American All-Stars coached by Connie Mack
featuring Jimmy Fox and Lou Gehrig and and moberg The Catcher And you know who
was the spy and all that stuff the Japanese adored Babe Ruth we have
home movies from American missionaries that uh women came to the museum in my
early days there um the women who had shot Babe Ruth's home movies uh playing baseball in Japan
and then as this is 1934 as it they got closer to war with the United States the
American missionaries smuggled themselves and the film out of the country and ultimately brought it to the
Babe Ruth Museum in the early 80s and donated it to us but
um you know we had that they gave us the film and all of a sudden we were on the
Today Show uh showing that film because that's the cachet of babers you know we
have new films Babe Ruth oh my God we gotta see you know and that's and that continues to this day John
um yeah he's the man he's the man yeah I mean how often do you get something uh
new is it like you said you is it weekly or maybe not not that often at this
point because of of where we're at on the timeline or you know how
well um yeah I would say uh I mean something just came across today
um a family uh just emailed a you know an attachment
and they've got a it looks like a a Babe Ruth coin or pin I think it's a pin uh
that depicts him probably as a Boston Brave uh it's a facial thing and they're
like what do we do with this so in a lot of cases
we will assist people trying to find the right the right uh Avenue to approach to
deal with this memorabilia um certainly we would like to have things donated to
us but we know that that's not always realistic uh a realistic option for
people especially if there is a a big dollar sign attached to uh whatever they've got
yeah let me try and help them a little bit and what I mean by that is um we we will direct them to experts who
we know because we're not we're not appraisers we are not authenticated we don't we're not in that business so I I
might direct somebody to you or to Danny black or to it a couple of appraisers
that we use in the Baltimore area and just say um we think that this thing may have
value here's who you need to be in touch with and uh then they go about their business and sometime
um that results in a donation to us or a loan to us yep well you you showed me two cards uh
you know before we we hit record uh from the 1914 uh Baltimore news but the you
know the one card everyone made made a lot of a lot of waves in the industry uh
this year is the The Babe Ruth uh from that set
um which is in the museum uh you know uh estimated value uh is uh six million
dollars uh and uh you know less than 10 copies uh probably exist if if that
um I mean I gotta think that's probably one of the the centerpieces I mean even
though you have a thousands of items I I gotta think that's one of the first things you know I made like I said made
a lot of news uh fractionalized by Collectible who actually are a sponsor of the show talk a little bit uh about
uh you know the the provenance of that card and that
yeah um so we had uh the papers rookie card which
is what we call it it's a lot of more news so this depicts Babe Ruth um it's a vertical uh photograph
of Ruth uh in an Orioles uniform he although he
has a like a warm-up jacket on Seattle Jersey but he's in uniform it's a
sideways shot of vertical full you know uh head to toe of Babe Ruth and it says
Ruth pitcher Baltimore or whatever yeah and um uh so Babe Ruth started his
career with the Orioles in 1914 and um and by the way I'll tell you a little
story that your people probably don't know okay so babe babe ruth is a high
school at Mount at St Mary's Industrial school he is a pitching Phenom you know
he's 18 years old and his lights out and word is getting
out there to the extent that the Oriole minor league Orioles owner manager Jack
Dunn goes to Saint Mary's to see a marquee match-up between Babe Ruth
pitching for Saint uh St Mary's Industrial School versus Billy Morrissette who is pitching
for Mount St Joseph's High School also controlled by the xavierian brothers so
it's two Catholic schools and the game is played at St Mary's Jack Dunn goes sees this game Babe Ruth dominates Billy
Morissette who also got signed by the Orioles by the way but anyway so Jack Dunn
um on Valentine's Day of 1914 goes to St Mary's Industrial school
um and talks to the brothers there and says I want to offer George a
professional contract so uh and and it's for 600 bucks
um and so they said well that's fine but
you need to sign uh papers that make you his legal
guardian because we are not allowed to release these kids until they're 21. we
are responsible for them so Jack Dunn says I will sign legal guardian papers and Babe Ruth goes off to the Orioles
and Fayetteville North Carolina in February of of uh 1914 and when he gets
down there uh with the Orioles he's like exuberant
he's crazy he's never been in an elevator he rides up and down he's never
been on a bicycle he's up and down they almost got killed uh riding the bicycle he's doing all these things and so his
teammates start calling him Jack Dunn the owner manager who signed
him to his contract they call him jack Dunn's baby and by mid-march of 1914 in
spring training The Baltimore Sun refers to him as Babe Ruth Jack Van's
baby equals Babe Ruth so that happens so now this card um
there are um we have 13 1914 Orioles on display at the Babe Ruth
Museum one of those cards is a Babe Ruth one is of Jack Dunn that's kind of cool
too you know that's really good uh the these cards are on loan to us from an
owner who wishes to remain anonymous yeah and um because you can guess why
and uh so but the stipulation between the owner and US was
if we're going to do this and display these cards
we need to do this correctly and the security has to be top-notch and we're
going to need you uh to help us the owner to help us do
this if we are to display these cards which is what to the owner's credit which is what he wanted to do he wanted
those cards out in front of the public so um the owner put up some money we we
matched the money and we put in a top-notch security system the case was
designed by a firm in Boston that had designed a case for the Martin Luther
King I've got a Dream speech papers yeah uh worth millions and millions of
dollars and so we put in a lot of additional security uh so this thing is
secure uh in to the best of our ability I mean you know somebody with a bomb and
blow up stuff you do that you're you're defeating the purpose anyway that's right what you're
trying to get you know but I will tell you I've been around for a while um we have had a couple of artifacts
stolen from us wow over 40 years and in both cases we got the artifacts back and
you know why because um the first time it happened I was scared to death I I was new
um yeah and artifact was stolen and um uh you know the people who mentored
me said get the word out don't worry about the reputation in the museum just get the word out because they can't move
hot property and in fact that was the case both times
we have not had any theft activity down there in 30 years so um you know we're
we're pretty confident that we've we have good security uh we have a very secure archives and we need to because
you know we have a great collection and uh and and it's really good but anyway
this rookie card as the is displayed with its 12 Oreo teammates
is a centerpiece for our presentation at the Museum right now I mean it's it's
what people want to see people from out of town coming in they want to see the rookie card but what I showed you before
and I don't know if we can do it very effectively here there are 13 1914 Oreo
cards known to exist and in in two cases
the museum had duplicates of two of the 13 cards so in other words
there are 13 cards on display but there are two cards who there's two copies and
players already on display and and here they are um they they are let's see who they are
stand by one second yep yep we have a a picture uh named Davidson
and the and these These Guys by the way uh
to anything but this is an original 1914 card I'm gonna tell you a little caveat
about this and the other player is a batter uh a Fielder by the name of
twombly and and here's twombly yep and uh so you
see him and but I mean these are not household names in Major League Baseball
history or whatever but because of their Association to the rookie card yeah they
are extremely valuable um
listen like they're number one they're 108 years old uh at this point the cards
themselves and like you said just the the Rarity of those cards that are that
are left that haven't been destroyed uh right and I and you know I I'm probably
not breaking any news to you I don't the you know the The Story Goes they didn't make even even in 1914 they
didn't produce a lot of them even then when they were new and so uh not many
have survived the test of time and so just on that the correlation with being
teammates of you know a legend uh Babe Ruth uh the value is is is built in
there and just uh absolutely that you have cool that you have all those cards done that you know obviously the roof is
the centerpiece but the fact that you you have the whole set um is you know together like that uh
it's just uh tremendous yeah I mean it really is and to see
every day to see fans come in and and behold the cards and of course
we have a video presentation on what is it that makes baseball cards so special
to American culture America's culture you know it it and actually we have uh
you know Cooperstown uh is a talking head in what is it about baseball cards
that makes them more valuable than football cards or basketball cards or any cards you know
um they are what they are but there is there is a rationale behind that there
is a reason which I'm not going to bore you with but it's it's pretty intriguing and um but they are near and dear to us and
and uh certainly these cards um as uh the guy from Cooperstown said
it's like you can your favorite player back in the day a long time ago people
just put them in their pocket it was like yeah I got a little piece of my guy here you know and I'm not sure it's that
way anymore today but you know what I mean yeah yeah a little more well back
you know back then I mean people were listening will will probably be nodding their heads and they know back then like
you said it was more hey this is my favorite player my favorite team uh and
that's why I like this card did you have a favorite player as a kid yeah I was
you know being from Brooklyn um uh obviously he he actually died a month before I was born but being a
Brooklyn kid Michael and you see him wearing a Brooklyn Dodger hat Jackie Robinson uh to me even though I didn't
get to see him personally play and quite frankly you know never was on the planet
at the same time while we were both alive because uh you know he passed away in in October of 72 I was born in
November of 72 but uh what he meant to not just the the Brooklyn Dodgers the
city but uh just Society uh in general and the things he stood for uh and and
you know what the difference that he made on and off the field uh my dad who grew up going through lots of games in
Evans field and shared those stories uh with me uh he became someone I looked up
to you know anytime I had to do and that's say or a book report he was
always the guy I would I would focus on to the point I've said this on my podcast uh more than once it it to the
teachers would say you did you got to pick someone else John you can't keep you know doing like essays or speeches
or or you know pick pick someone else and then I usually would pick you know another Brooklyn Dodger play maybe you
know Duke Schneider Roy Campanella or someone along those lines so for you know and then uh you know as far as
current players went living in New York I was a big Thurman Munson guy uh and
then you know he tragically passed away that I I've told the story that was the first time I believe I was seven or
eight uh when uh you know when he passed and I didn't even at that age I hadn't
went to a wake or a funeral I didn't really know what death was and so when the when I saw the news report on TV the
that Thurman Munson was gone I didn't really grasp the gravity of the
situation and this will tell you how little I grass it I remember asking my
grandfather does that mean Thurman's not going to play baseball anymore I didn't even you know and he he had that was
when he had to explain to me kind of really what death was and I I cried you
know I didn't and at that point I had never met Thurman I watched him play but I didn't have any connection other than
watching them play and him being my favorite player but that's how I learned the finality of what death was and it
hit me to the point that I was literally crying for not a family member or
someone that I I personally knew that was gone but someone that meant something that I saw play that's you
know then John Lennon or you know whatever order that was was really the the first two that stick out to me where
I learned kind of like the finale of life life and that you know so Thurman
Munson you know as far as like uh watching play and Jackie was was my guy
that I just uh learned about and and idolized and respected and and you know
Babe Ruth though again like you can't be from New York and not know about Babe
Ruth my dad I actually had my dad on the show my dad's uh you know still around
he's 84 years old and he's obviously went to Ebbets Field but he he saw Babe
Ruth and Yankees uh you know no he didn't see him but he knew about him but he he
you know he remembers when you know he was on the show and he told me the story when it came across the radio
that Babe Ruth had passed away and everyone knew he was very sick and that's what was going to wind up but he
says even when that that you heard those words on the radio he says I wasn't a
Yankee fan you know I was a Brooklyn Dodger fan but even to me Babe Ruth was
an icon he was big and my dad said he cried he cried in the streets and he
went out in the streets uh you know and this is Brooklyn New York and people
were crying like whether you were a Brooklyn Dodger fan a New York Giant fan
obviously a Yankee fan or any whatever your team was but it didn't matter you
know what team where your fandom lied uh Babe Ruth meant that much to everybody uh where it didn't matter what Jersey
you rooted for a legend was gone and and you know in New York one as well a
national one obviously but obviously in in the boroughs in New York it really
really he said you know it wasn't really a dry eye on the street
and that's all that well there couldn't be you know because Ruth um something we like to say
is that he is the most celebrated baseball player of all time
but he he has crossed the line to become an American cultural icon
he is on the Mount Rushmore of famous Americans with JFK and Martin Luther
King and and Marilyn Monroe and you know what I mean I mean he Abraham Lincoln Babe Ruth is up there and um so when
when you lose someone of that stature he's like I mean you know for guys like
you and me and I'm older than you by a bunch um well I'm catching up to you well
don't catch up too quick but when the the only thing I can liken to what
America went through when Ruth went from the Red Sox to the Yankees for the 1920s
season um it was like the Beatles arriving here in 1964. you know it was like it just it
was a wave that rolled over this country and Ruth was like that you know he was
like the Beatles um and there there can only be one Beatles And there can only be one Babe
Ruth and that's that's the truth um so that's what that's what we deal
with on a day-to-day basis is how do we perpetuate the legacy of that guy and
you know what it's not that hard because he he is he's just that guy you know and
uh and it's wonderful so uh uh you know we will we will keep at this job keep
our passion um try and find every way we can to bring him to the Forefront and keep him
part of the national conversation about American baseball but also American Sports yet no doubt well said uh Michael
I want to thank you even though I'm I'm planning to go next year I haven't been there yet thank you for what you do in
preserving uh that history you know it's part of like you said Americana uh he's
in ICA not just you know we're talking about the United States but like you even mentioned even in Japan like
worldwide he's a a worldwide phenomenon and so uh to to think like you mentioned
and telling us you know how close that building was to to not existing now to
what I'm sure it's like uh today and and your hand in it uh uh is needs to be
recognized and I I you know my hat's off uh kudos to you uh for for what you do
and sharing uh some of those uh behind the scenes uh kind of stories that
obviously I I you know as much as I know there's obviously a lot I don't I look
forward to even learning more uh in person you know when I go there again
thanks brother yeah I'm I'm playing I'm playing I'm planning on it Michael but I
want you to give out where people can find out um you know where how if they can help
uh where you know how to find out more or or to come see uh uh at the Museum
itself give you have all the time you need to give out on anything I'm not I'm not gonna do too much it's pretty simple
but but know this that the museum uh if you come to Baltimore and a lot of a lot
of New Yorkers do you know when the Yankees come into town or if the Mets get in yeah whatever
um we are two blocks uh Northwest of Oreo Park at Camden Yards there is a
statue of Babe Ruth at Oreo park and if you stand at that statue you will see
um a baseball stenciled into the sidewalk nearby and and that's one of 60
baseballs 60 you understand that yeah um that connect you to
The Babe Ruth Museum 60 baseballs away yeah and uh so Follow The Baseballs and
come and visit us uh and see a really good baseball Museum dedicated to Babe
Ruth um if you want information about the museum and we do a lot of Social Media
stuff but go to baberuthmuseum.org our website and we do
a series John uh you remember Mel Allen we don't remember but you've heard of
Mel Allen yeah um I interviewed him I got to know him a little bit and he was a big Babe Ruth guy and hung out with
Babe Ruth for a lot of time but his uh signature statement was how about that
you know he did this week in baseball for years so we do a series uh we tell Sports
stories um mostly about local stuff um you know Orioles Ravens culture Babe
Ruth whatever it is um from the museum uh and we interview people and we say this is a another
Edition of how about that and they tell their story and uh so you can go on
um Facebook or YouTube to how about that and get all kind of uh really cool
stories uh that the museum has produced over over the past couple of years so
that's fun but but we're there and um you know we encourage people to get involved they'll be in touch with the
website uh talk to us you can get in touch with me through the website um become a member support the Legacy
you know without without fans support this thing doesn't happen you know it's
it's active and ongoing every day you can't not pay attention to it or it will
dry up and go away like anything else Yankee Stadium probably someday will not exist unless everybody remains
yeah that's the thing that you know it's it's not there's there's upkeep there's bills out to be paid things have to be
taken care of it's like a house right you gotta you know things things sometimes go again you got to pay
attention we need Advocates we need supporters we need we need to uh you
know the John Newman's of the world out there uh helping to promote us and we appreciate um your time tonight Johnny it's been
terrific so thank you I brought you under the museum yeah it's on the agenda for for for next year you know I'll be
disappointed in myself if I don't make it happen I'll put some of that information uh you said in the show
notes of this episode so anyone listening if you didn't catch it uh go to the show notes it's all there click
on it it'll redirect you to to where you need to be Michael a sincere thank you
thank you for sharing some of your insights uh stuff that I'm sure uh I
didn't know and I'm sure a lot of people out there listening found very interesting and intriguing and look
forward to seeing uh those thousands of items you you mentioned in person and
meeting you in person of course as well all right bud all right thanks John
thank you take care
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