This past Sunday, the memorabilia auction house Lelands.com purchased Babe Ruth’s earliest known baseball jersey for $4,415,658. According to Yahoo! Sports, it was a 1920 New York Yankees road model that he supposedly wore in his first season after coming over from the Boston Red Sox.
So why is someone spending more money than most people will make over the course of a lifetime on some old jersey a big deal? Well, because with their winning bid, Lelands.com surpassed the previous costliest sports memorabilia item in history. That item, the original edition of Dr. James Naismith's founding rules of basketball, went for $4,338,500 back in 2010.
Here is a fun fact to put the ridiculous amounts of dough being spent on this stuff in perspective (also via Yahoo! Sports): from 1914-1935, Ruth, widely regarded as the greatest baseball player of all time, earned $910,696. When you factor in inflation, that total comes out to $15.3 million.
So someone paid over $4.4 million for one of the many jerseys that belonged to a guy who made just over $15 million over the course of his entire career.
Only in America.
Here is what the jersey that costs more than four really nice homes in L.A. would cost looks like: