Wait, is that a vintage Babe Ruth unicorn? c1930 Jean Donat DuPont Indiana Sport Avion Babe Ruth
Well, here’s a new rare card that just got the PSA treatment and is now home. It is actually a pretty awesome card, the more I continue to learn about it.
Distributed in France, this 136 card (maybe?) set was issued out of the city of Lille. The set that came before was full of Cowboys and Indians and horses - hence the Indiana. Avion is the French word for planes and there’s also several cards with the image of these new flying machines that were starting to line the skies. And that brings us to sport which means, well, sport. There’s several different sports covered but three American sport cards made their way into the set. One depicts a pitcher, one depicts an “American Rugby” game (since football is soccer in Europe) between the Packers and Cardinals and one depicts a baseball game that took place a year or two earlier that was a pretty significant time in the history of baseball.
In 1934, the American MLB All Star team played 18 games with other stars Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Charlie Gehringer and Earl Averill playing alongside the still reigning king of the sport, Babe Ruth. While researching the tour, I found out that no National League players played on this team as owners of those teams would not grant their players permission to play. So, in what could then probably be considered his last games as a Yankee over November and December in cities across Japan, Babe Ruth was showcased to the Japanese people who had heard legends, seen photos and perhaps even had the good fortune to have seen him on the islands of Japan once before. An estimated 65,000 showed up in Tokyo, one of the 18 games played on the tour which would change the trajectory of baseball across the globe. As for the Sultan of Swat, he did more than just show up and swing the bat: he cemented his legacy for all time. In what could probably described as the last swath of greatness in a career that is still talked about one hundred years later, Babe Ruth turned back the clock and did the amazing one last time for all the world to see...
George Herman Ruth hit 13 HR in the 18 exhibition games played.
The Japanese team they played against, despite going 0-18 against this remarkable and historic American club, achieved national renown of their own, basically became the National team of Japan and then, later, the first professional team in Japan, the Yomiyuri (Tokyo) Giants which lead to a professional league being created soon after. Tangentally, it is also believed this tour began the spy career of ball player and star catcher Moe Berg who brought along a camera and snapped many shots of various Japanese installations.
So to recap, French card of a Japanese ball game depicting Babe Ruth?
Surely, this card cements the fact that Babe Ruth while still an active player was not just popular in the US and Japan but was a global icon of sport on word of mouth and newsprint alone.
As for the card itself, it is just the second copy ever encased in a PSA slab and it is now the single highest graded example on their Population Report. It is my absolute pleasure to present to you, the good people of CU, one of the last cards as a Yankee of perhaps the single greatest baseball player to ever play the American Pastime.
Thanks for checking out the thread; enjoy the weekend.
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