Sports memorabilia nets millions in NYC auction

Cassius Clay (later to change his name to Muhammad Ali)  fights Sonny Liston in Miami in February 1964.

Story highlights

  • "Shoeless" Joe Jackson's 1911 bat goes for nearly $1 million at auction
  • Babe Ruth's pocket watch, given to him after the 1923 World Series, nets $717,000
  • The gloves Muhammad Ali wore when he beat Sonny Liston in go for $836,500
  • The auction was held at the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York City
Several items that once belonged to sporting legends such as Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson went up for auction Saturday evening in New York, fetching millions of dollars.
The auction, organized by the Heritage Auction House, took place Saturday evening at the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York City.
The item which brought in the most money was "Shoeless" Joe Jackson's game-used rookie bat from 1911. The bat sold for an "incredible" $958,000, according to Noah Fleisher, a spokesperson for Heritage Auctions.
Jackson is remembered today as the biggest star of the 1919 Chicago White Sox to be banned for life from organized baseball for throwing that year's World Series.
"This bat serves as a key piece of evidence for the many millions who believe that Jackson deserves enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame," said Chris Ivy, director of sports collectibles at Heritage Auctions.
Going into the auction, the Heritage House anticipated that Babe Ruth's pocket watch would bring in the most money. Ruth was presented the watch after helping the New York Yankees beat the New York Giants in the 1923 World Series. The watch, which for a time was believed to be lost, was auctioned off for $717,000, according to the auction house.
"As the Babe's personal award for the first world championship in New York Yankees franchise history, I believe that this is the most important piece of New York Yankees memorabilia that exists," Ivy said.
Boxing gloves worn by Ali in the 1964 fight in which he shocked the world and unseated heavyweight champion Sonny Liston sold for $836,500, Fleisher said.
Ali -- who had yet to change his name from Cassius Clay when he first met Liston in Miami -- had previously won a gold medal in the 1960 Olympics in Rome, but he didn't become a household name until after beating Liston.
Another item that made headlines were shards of the bat that Roger Clemens threw at Mike Piazza during the 2000 World Series after Piazza broke his bat after making contact with "The Rocket's" pitch. The shards went for $47,500, according to Fleisher.