Photo via Clean Sweep Auctions
On September 30, 1973, during the last home game at Yankee Stadium before the historic arena underwent two years of renovations, diehard baseball fans came wielding screwdrivers and hammers. Not to fight fans from the opposing team of that night’s game, the Detroit Tigers, but to dismantle any memorabilia from “The House That Ruth Built.” One fan somehow got his hands on a right field sign wall that designates the 296-foot distance from home plate (h/t Forbes). A family member of the brazen fan put up the sign for auction last month and on Wednesday, after 18 bids, the 1960s era sign sold for a final sale price of $55,344.
Photo via Wikimedia
The right field sign sat in a closet for more than four decades. The president of the auction company Clean Sweep, Steve Verkman, told Forbes: “The consignor’s brother ripped it off the outfield fence at the end of the game and it was total chaos. The brother died and then left it to his brother, our consignor. He knew it was special and kept it until now.”
The owner of the sign, who found the unique item difficult to assign a price, opened the bidding at just $200. Over the course of a month, and 18 bids later, the souvenir’s winning bid jumped to an extraordinary $46,120 and a final sales price of $55,344.
The site for the auction, which closed last night, describes the home run sign as being in very good condition with some peeling paint off the numbers, but “the display value is simply tremendous.”
In addition to being a treasured relic from the beloved old Yankee Stadium, which was built in 1923, the sign also represents one of the most famous “short porches” in baseball history. The old stadium gained a lot of infamy in the baseball world for being an easy park for left-handed hitters to smash home runs to the right side, just over where the “296” sign hung.
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