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Handwritten 1923 letter from Babe Ruth to Boston Globe writer up for auction

A young Babe Ruth during his Red Sox days.Library of Congress

A handwritten letter penned by legendary Red Sox and Yankees slugger Babe Ruth after his 1923 MVP-winning season is up for auction this month.

Ruth wrote the short letter for Boston Globe baseball writer James O’Leary after Ruth was voted the most valuable player in the American League, according to a statement from the auction house.

“Dear Mr. O’Leary,” the letter reads. “Thank you for voting for me in the 1923 Baseball Contest. I tried hard all the way and especially for a whole lot of Boston friends from the old days. I’m not going to quit trying, there’s a lot of years ahead and I’ll do my best to make them good years. Sincerely, Babe Ruth.”


Those looking to bid on the rare letter can do so online through Robert Edward Auctions until Oct. 30. The starting bid was $5,000, but bidding had reached $8,000 by Friday afternoon.

Handwritten letters from Ruth are rare, according to the statement, and the letter being auctioned was written after Ruth’s only MVP-winning season. That year, Ruth hit 41 home runs, scored 151 runs, and finished with a batting average of .393, the highest of his 22-year career with the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Boston Braves, according to baseball-reference.com. Ruth played that season with the Yankees.

The signed letter by Babe Ruth.Robert Edward Auctions

The letter was part of a scrapbook that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America gave to O’Leary at his 75th birthday party in Boston in 1936. The letter was put in storage until 2004, when it was rediscovered by one of O’Leary’s relatives. The letter was put up for auction in 2005, but did not meet the reserve price, according to the statement. This year, O’Leary’s family decided to put the letter up for auction once again.

Also being auctioned is a rare 1912 panorama photo of the championship-winning Red Sox team at Fenway Park. The photo by Carl Horner features 22 Red Sox players, according to the statement, who that year led the team to 105 victories, which was the most until 2018, when the now World Series-bound Red Sox won 108 games in the regular season.


Andres Picon can be reached at andres.picon@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @andpicon.