Grass Valley, CA — Area sports memorabilia collector and owner of Ron’s Sports Emporium Ron Jessup has some concerns about a recent baseball brought in by an area man. According to Mr. Jessup, the ball was brought into his establishment by a Citrus Heights man who claimed it was signed by “a drunk Babe Ruth” sometime during the 1920s and is probably “worth a lot of money.”
“I get baseballs all the time,” said Mr. Jessup during a Gish Gallop telephone interview. “But this one was different. Well, I should say there was something different about this guy who brought it in. He was earnest about it. I’ve seen several of these drunk Babe Ruths, and they all look somewhat like this. But this one has suspicious markings around the ‘a’ as if a child drew them or something. So I’m going to have to send it off for further inspection.”
According to Jim Nader of Citrus Heights, the man who brought the baseball to Mr. Jessup’s attention, it’s legitimate.
“My grandfather gave it to me on his deathbed,” said a resigned and solemn Mr. Nader. “He said Babe gave it to him when he was a kid after a [Baltimore] Black Sox game. He said he smelled of beer and sweat. I know it looks kinda strange, but it’s authentic. I hope to fetch a lot of money for it.”
As for Jessup, he likes being safe than sorry.
“You have to be careful with things like this,” continued Mr. Jessup, rotating the ball carefully in his right hand. “I mean, this could be written with a Bicâ “¢ ball-point pen two years ago or something. So I have to be sure it’s genuine.”