BABE RUTH "1915 AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONS" BOSTON RED SOX VERY RARE BUTTON.
Sparing no expense during production, this amazing 2.25" button was significantly larger than most baseball buttons of the day. With the button text clearly stating 1915 "American League Champions" as opposed to 1915 "World Champions", one can rest assured that this wonderful relic was in production prior to the completion of the 1915 World Series. Thus, this button now becomes one of the very few Babe Ruth images dating to his Major League Baseball rookie season of 1915. As such, this beauty predates by one year, the world famous Sporting News M101-4/5 Babe Ruth rookie cards that now, at auction, approach seven figures in high-grade and routinely bring mid-six figure prices for low to mid-grade examples. Drawing further attention to this incredible piece is the fact that the team name at center inexplicably includes a spelling error, notating the ball club as "Red Soxs". We find it quite amazing that this error was never picked up during the proofing process.
Bold red border, surely intended to match up with the "Red" Sox nickname, surrounds all of the player images. Pictured at center of the button design is Boston Red Sox team owner, J.J. Lannin. Surrounding him are the 14 key members of the 1915 Boston Red Sox ball club that would battle tooth and nail with the Detroit Tigers all season before finally emerging with the American League pennant in the final week of the regular season with a record of 101-50 under manager, Bill Carrigan. All team members pictured are identified by last name alongside their circular enclosed head shots. Although the outfield duo of National Baseball Hall of Famers, Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper are prominently displayed at top right, the iconic image of George Herman "Babe" Ruth appearing at left, just above center, is undoubtedly the main attraction of this hallowed treasure.
George Herman "Babe" Ruth signed his first professional baseball contract with the International League's Baltimore Orioles prior to the 1914 baseball season. Ruth's only prior baseball experience came at Baltimore's St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a reform school that he had attended since childhood. The Boston Red Sox purchased the Babe's contract from the Orioles on July 9, 1914 and the rest, as they say, is history. Only playing five games with the Red Sox that season, Ruth was sent down to their minor league club in Providence for more seasoning. The Babe was well prepared for his first full season in Boston in 1915 and responded with a sterling 18-8 record and a 2.44 ERA, while also showing prowess at the plate with 15 extra base hits in only 103 at bats. If a Rookie of the Year award existed back then, "The Babe" surely would have taken home the honor. Following a successful postseason, where the Red Sox defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series in five decisive games, Ruth earned the first of his seven career World Championships. Babe would prove that he was no "flash in the pan" in 1916, bettering his pitching record to 23-12 with an AL leading 1.75 ERA and leading the Bo Sox to their second consecutive World Championship, defeating the Brooklyn Robins in five games.
Button is complete with A.R. Lopez & Bro. of Boston Mass. back paper. Trace of age/wear but complete and intact. Front of button has scattered and faint light surface wear visible under magnification. For extreme accuracy we also note a slightly raised bump in field at 12:00 that occurred in manufacturing and is only noticeable to touch. Button remains Exc. w/full gloss, deep red color and great contrast and clarity to the portrait images.
There is only one other example of this amazing relic known, making this a sure to be focal point even in the most advanced baseball memorabilia collections. In our last two premier auctions, a 1916 Alpen Brau Red Sox team button picturing Ruth realized a world record button price of $62,980 while a 1915 Royal Rooters Red Sox button brought $52,367, the second highest price ever paid for a button of any type. This offering represents the earliest issued button of these three Ruth rookie-era pieces, thus, making it every bit as historic, important and rare as the previous two record breaking treasures. Paul Muchinsky Collection.