Babe Ruth Baseball Cards: 1914-1929Beginning with the 1914 Baltimore Sun rookie card, there were several Babe Ruth baseball cards printed between 1914 and 1929. Babe Ruth was included in most regional and national sets during this era. Baseball cards were primarily produced by candy, tobacco, and bread companies as a promotional item. In many cases, collectors could exchange completed sets for a baseball, glove, or other prize.
The cards produced during this era include some featuring Ruth in a Red Sox uniform, while most chronicle his years with the Yankees. Most of what you will find on this site will be cards printed after 1920, though occasionally an older one will find its way into these listings.
Babe Ruth Boston Red Sox Cards
Babe Ruth's magnificent run with the Boston Red Sox lasted only six seasons and as a result gives collectors limited options. Only a couple of baseball cards during Ruth's career depicted him in a Red Sox uniform.
For collectors who are interested in finding a Babe Ruth Red Sox card, here are a few options. You won't see these pop up on this site often, but keep an eye on our earliest Babe Ruth cards if you are interested.
1916 M101-5 Sporting News #151 - Although the 1914 Baltimore Sun card is commonly viewed as Babe Ruth's rookie card, this issue from the 1916 Sporting News set is the first card to depict Ruth in a major league uniform. Depending on what you consider a "rookie card", this card may qualify (and at a fraction of the price!). Even though it is often sold for well under $20,000, this card can be quite difficult to find. Keep an eye on major auction houses if you are interested in adding this one to your collection. This set was also released with branded advertising from sponsors, including Standard Biscuit.
1916-20 Big Head Strip Cards W-UNC #17 - Fitting the name of the set, these cards offer an artist's rendering of each player with an oversized head. The front of each card lists the player's name with nothing printed on the back. Though it is one of the earliest cards printed of Babe Ruth, the card unfortunately does not feature any specific Red Sox uniform markings.
1917-20 Felix Mendelsohn M101-6 #81 and #82 - This set was actually released over a period of a few years, meaning that early versions of the card list Ruth as a member of the Red Sox, while later versions made this set the first to list him as a member of the New York Yankees.
1917 Collins-McCarthy E135 #147 - still need to confirm what this card looks like, but the timing of the release suggest that it would have fallen within Ruth's Red Sox career.
Other Interesting Babe Ruth Cards
Because there were so many different card sets released in the 1920's, there are a few other notable Babe Ruth cards from that era.
Italian Babe Ruth card (1928?) - there were several Babe Ruth cards from Europe and Japan printed during his playing days. One of our readers submitted a scan of this Italian Babe Ruth card. Produced by Contiero, this card was part of a set that included Charles Lindburgh and Tom Mix. It reads "Howard Lloyd e il campione di Base Ball 'Babe' Ruth".
If you have additional insight about any of the above cards or know of others, please contact us at info [at] baberuthcards [dot] net.