Charlie Sheen wins here and wins there. We all know. So what now? Well, apparently, his winning ways are subject to some contention and his ring finger is in the heart of the battle. One of Sheen’s most prized possessions – Babe Ruth’s 1927 World Series Ring – may not be authentic.
As a well-known connoisseur of…baseball memorabilia, Sheen has amassed quite the collection of storied items, including Bill Buckner’s glove and accompanying “Mookie Ball” from the 1986 World Series. The cat’s meow of the treasure, if you will, is a 1927 World Series ring worn by Babe Ruth himself. The ring has now replaced Sheen’s wedding band. In fact, Sheen is quick to direct your attention to its gaudy, shining brilliance without a moment’s hesitation. The scoreboard doesn’t lie. Or does it?
Sheen purchased the ring at a Sotheby’s auction in the 90’s from Josh Evans of Lelands. Barry Halper, former limited partner of the Yankees and infamous pack-rat of historically invaluable souvenirs, was the previous owner. After his death in 2005, Halper’s reputation as a legitimate memorabilia trafficker was questioned when a 1998 transaction with Major League Baseball worth $8M was deemed fraudulent. The sham exchange also involved “Shoeless” Joe Jackson’s 1919 Black Sox Jersey, Mickey Mantle’s 1951 rookie Jersey, Ty Cobb’s 1946 diary, and several autographed Babe Ruth items.
As the most prolific baseball player of all time, Babe Ruth’s fortunes have been surrounded by mystique and greedy hands since his untimely death in 1948. Contradictory stories as to the whereabouts and true owners of Ruth’s World Series rings have been tossed around for years. A Sports Collectors Digest interview with Halper even purports that the ring was sold to him by Ruth’s daughter, Dorothy Ruth Pirone. (Note: this account is completely denied by Pirone’s daughter, Linda Ruth Tosetti, as “an out-and-out lie.”)
Rob Lifson, president of Robert Edward Auctions and long-time friend of Halper, added to the drama this past week when he wrote that the ring was acquired directly from Babe’s widow, a.k.a. Mrs. Claire Ruth. It is undeniable that Mrs. Ruth had a knack for pawning off precious family heirlooms. What’s more, stories of Halper liquoring up Babe’s widow and leaving with her possessions abound. Indeed, Halper himself conceded that he employed this tactic to snag the “Luckiest Man on Earth” uniform from Lou Gehrig’s widow.
The ring’s fabled past is a stiff cocktail mixed with lies, half-truths, and whole-hearted attempts to profit off of another person’s success. Why would Halper claim to have purchased the ring from Dorothy Pirone if Babe’s widow were the true seller? Perhaps a legitimate sale was never made. It is not unreasonable to suggest that the 1927 World Series ring was stolen. Gypsy tricks are undoubtedly plausible given that Ruth’s last will and testament, along with several other items, was “nighthawked” from a New York courthouse last year.
Getting back to the point…
Assuming that Sheen has the Great Bambino’s 1927 World Series ring, it is worth upwards of $500M. Not to mention that it has been donned by two of the most well-renown booze and babe swindlers that this country has ever been privy to exploit. If you listen closely, you can hear Sinatra rolling over in his grave. Should the ring prove to be non-genuine, however, one can only hope for another classic Sheen tirade. Maybe even a concession that, on one front, he has suffered defeat.
Regardless, a fake ring certainly won’t hurt Sheen’s epic-ness or bank account. Charlie Sheen signs the front of the check, not the back. Don’t forget it.