The Best Vintage Babe Ruth Cards: RCs, Guide & Advice

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Babe Ruth is arguably the most famous baseball player of all-time. Let’s discuss his top cards to collect.

‘The Bambino’ set the most famous of all batting records when he hit 60 home runs in a single season in 1927. Ruth’s career slugging percentage (.690) remains an all-time best. 

He ranks third in career home runs (714, behind Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron), second in runs batted in (2,213, again behind Aaron), and fourth in runs (2,174, behind Rickey Henderson, Ty Cobb, and Bonds and tied with Aaron).

Of course, vintage Babe Ruth cards are some of the most popular you’ll find within the hobby. We’ve put together a quick list with three of the options you’re likely to find on the market.  

The Best Babe Ruth Cards

Be wary when buying ungraded Babe Ruth cards from the 1930’s and 1940’s. Reprints are numerous, and there are a number of unscrupulous sellers who attempt to age the cards up.

3. 1948 Leaf Babe Ruth #3 (eBay)

The 1948 Leaf Baseball set is made up of 98 cards, each measuring 2-3/8″ by 2-7/8″. You’ll be able to see the custom dimensions easily when it’s in a holder.    

It was the first post-World War II set to feature color pictures, after restrictions on supplies like ink and cardboard were eased. 

The iconic design helps to catch the eye. It sets Ruth against a deep colored red background, with his name found in large lettering at the base. 

Released 13 years after his last MLB game, Leaf used a famous image of the Yankees slugger from his playing career.

Higher grades will feature deeper colors and sharper corners. Centering is often an issue for older cards as they were sometimes printed off-kilter. 

2. 1933 Sports King Babe Ruth #2 (eBay)

The famous 1933 Sports Kings set is a multi-sport offering with three baseball players making the cut. (18 different disciplines are represented in the set.)

The Babe Ruth card is one of the keys to the collection, featuring a color illustration of the Bambino against a solid yellow background. 

You’ll find a ‘Sports Kings Gum’ logo at the top, along with a multi-figure silhouette showing how baseball is played above the name tag at the bottom. 

Time has been kind to the 1933 Sports Kings set. It’s a worthy contender to the famous Goudey card seen below. 

1. 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #144 (eBay

The 1933 Goudey set is popular thanks to four cards featuring Ruth. For the purposes of this list, we’re focusing on the Big League version, numbered #114.

Rather than the popular profile pictures, this illustration is reminiscent of an action shot as he waits at the plate with a bat slung over one shoulder. 

The set is anchored by Ruth. It is the most valuable option aside from a Nap Lajoie card which is exceptionally difficult to locate due to being withdrawn from sale. 

If we can choose only one Babe Ruth card from the 1933 Goudey set, this has to be the top pick overall.

Check 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #114 prices on eBay

Babe Ruth Cards: Buyers Guide 

We’ve put together a buyers guide if you’re interested in the best Babe Ruth cards and their current prices.

For a more affordable graded option, we’d advise to look at the 2018 Topps Living Set, and PSA 10 copies of the Babe Ruth card. With a print run of 14,976 it’s not rare by any means, but it is highly collectible. 

We’d stick with the 1933 Goudey set for the best possible results given its importance for vintage baseball card collectors. Once again, be wary of any weathered reprints, and stick with graded copies if you can.

Final Thoughts

Babe Ruth is synonymous with baseball, even though it’s been more than a century since he first stepped to the plate. 

The Hall of Famer still holds a host of offensive achievements and records, while he passed away on Aug. 16, 1948.

It’s hard to think of any safer options within the hobby, and it’s never tough to sell vintage options featuring the Sultan of Swat. 

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