A Babe Ruth Rookie Card Found in an Old Piano Just Sold for More Than $130,000

Goodwin & Co.
Goodwin & Co.

If you have a Babe Ruth baseball card or Bambino-autographed ball lying around in your attic, it might be worth a pretty penny. As Atlas Obscura reports, a rare Babe Ruth rookie card just sold for more than $130,000—roughly double the auction house’s original estimate.

Ellen Kelly, a hospital receptionist who works in Keyser, West Virginia, discovered more than 110 vintage baseball cards inside of an old piano she had purchased from her family’s estate sale. “Best $25 I ever spent,” she told Sports Collectors Daily.

The most valuable of the bunch was a Babe Ruth card that showed the player during his rookie season while pitching for the Boston Red Sox team. It was still in good condition, except for a small crease running down the middle. The card belongs to a set called “M101-4,” which, according to Atlas Obscura, “ushered in a transition from the lithographic art of older cards to black and white photography.”

The piano originally belonged to Kelly’s aunt, and she believes her dad or uncle hid the cards inside the instrument to prevent them from being tossed out by her aunt. Though she uncovered the cards in the '90s while getting the piano repaired, she didn’t have the Babe Ruth card appraised until recently.

“Different people had offered to do it before for me, but it didn’t feel right,” Kelly said. “Someone offered me $40,000 for the Babe Ruth card and I thought, ‘That’s Babe Ruth, he’s worth more than that.’”

The staff over at Goodwin & Co.—the auction house that ultimately sold the baseball cards—were just as surprised as Kelly to discover the rookie card’s actual worth. “We thought $60,000 to $75,000 was a fair estimate for this card. We are thrilled to see a six-figure final sale price,” Steve Bloedow, the Media Director of Auctions for Beckett, which oversees Goodwin's sales, told Sports Collectors Daily. “The buyer has asked to remain anonymous and we are respecting their request.”

Kelly also netted about $4400 for the rest of the cards—not bad for a $25 investment.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

Philadelphia Phillies File Lawsuit to Prevent Phanatic From Cheering for Other Teams

Hunter Martin/Stringer/Getty Images
Hunter Martin/Stringer/Getty Images

Even people who don't follow baseball would likely recognize the mascot of Philadelphia's baseball team. The Phillie Phanatic—a furry, green, bird-like creature who's been entertaining Phillies fans for decades—consistently ranks among the most popular mascots in the MLB. Now, NPR reports that the Philadelphia Phillies have filed a lawsuit against the character's creators to stop the Phanatic from becoming a free agent.

In the 1970s, the mascots for the Phillies were the fairly forgettable 18th-century siblings Philadelphia Phil and Philadelphia Phyllis. Looking for a change, the baseball team commissioned the New York design firm Harrison and Erickson—whose previous credits included Muppets and the Montreal Expos' Youppi!—to craft a new character to personify Phillies fans. The energetic, passionate, frequently misbehaved Phillie Phantic debuted at Veterans Stadium in April 1978.

More than 40 years later, creators Wayde Harrison and Bonnie Erickson (the puppet designer behind Miss Piggy and Statler and Waldorf) are threatening to make the Phanatic a free agent that cheers for teams other than the Phillies, according to a lawsuit filed by the Philadelphia baseball team. The team claims it paid the design firm $200,000 by the end of 1980, and that a separate licensing deal was struck in 1984 when terms were renegotiated for $215,000. That 1984 agreement, the lawsuit alleges, gave the Phillies the rights to the Phillie Phanatic in perpetuity.

Harrison and Erickson allegedly disagree. According to the lawsuit, the creators sent the Phillies a notice saying they would forbid the team from using the Phanatic's likeness past June 15, 2020 unless a new licensing deal was agreed upon. They also apparently threatened to shop the mascot around to other teams.

This isn't the first time the Phillie Phanatic has been involved in legal trouble. In 2010, the Phanatic was working a private gig when he decided to surprise a woman by tossing her into a pool. She sued, targeting several men known to wear the costume at the time because she didn't know who had been behind the mask.

[h/t NPR]

The Red Sox’s Historic 19-3 Win Over the Yankees Saw Boston's Highest Run Total in Their 117-Year Rivalry

Adam Glanzman / Getty Images
Adam Glanzman / Getty Images

Although the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox have faced each other in more than 2200 games over the course of their 117-year rivalry, the score from Thursday night's game proves that there’s still plenty of history yet to be made between the two iconic ball clubs in 2019.

Earlier this season, the teams took part in MLB’s first-ever series in London, with the Yankees winning both games. Though the June 29-30 series produced a staggering 50 combined runs between the teams—setting a two-game record for the rivalry in the process—a more lopsided bit of history happened last night when the Sox bludgeoned the Bronx Bombers 19-3 at Fenway Park.

If you’re into baseball trivia, that’s the most runs the Red Sox have ever scored against the Yankees in a single game, with seven coming in the first inning alone (which also tied a 1989 first-inning record against New York). That 16-run difference is also tied for the highest margin of victory over the Yankees in a game—the Sox previously beat the Yanks 17-1 two times in 2005.

New York made even more dubious history last night: The 12 earned runs given up by starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was the most against the Sox since the stat was officially recognized back in 1913. (Earned runs is a stat that counts runs given up by a pitcher without the help of an error by a fielder.)

Even all those runs still slightly trail behind the Yankees's high-water mark for the rivalry: Back in 2000, New York went into Fenway and beat the Sox 22-1. The two teams have 11 more games against each other before the start of the playoffs, so there is still plenty of time to break even more records. 

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