Some very lucky person will get a piece of sports history just in time for Christmas. The Louisville Slugger bat Babe Ruth used to hit his 500th career home run at Cleveland's League Park is up for auction after three decades spent in a closet. The New York Yankee gave the bat to his friend Jim Rice, the former mayor of Suffern, NY, in the 1940s, and for several years it rested in a corner of the family's den. But after Rice's death, his son stashed the bat in the aforementioned closet. "It just got to the point I couldn't leave it out … I hardly told anybody [about it]," Terry Rice tells Reuters. "My girlfriend was afraid to have it here, that somebody would break in, so we weren’t enjoying it."
Someone with a lot of dough soon will. "We're estimating this at $1 million and up just to be conservative," says David Kohler of SCP Auctions, which is conducting the sale that closes Dec. 14. SCP Auctions also sold the bat Ruth used to hit his first home run at Yankee Stadium in 1923. It went for $1.26 million in 2004, and Kohler expects this bat to fetch even more. After all, Ruth was the first major league player to reach 500 career home runs on Aug. 11, 1929. And as USA Today notes, "nine of the top 20 highest-priced sports memorabilia items sold are attached to the Babe." (A Babe Ruth jersey just became the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever sold.)