Babe Ruth

The Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908 or an N.L. pennant since 1945. But if this MLB postseason has reminded us of anything, it is that there was a time the Cubs were among the most successful teams in baseball. In fact, for the first half of organized baseball's existence, the Cubs were really good.

Luckily, America's Pastime has preserved its artifacts, Many of those items are being showcased in New York this week, as Christie's will host "The Golden Age of Baseball" auction Oct. 19-20. Game-used memorabilia from Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and more are part of the auction, which includes items with projected sale prices more than a half-million dollars. The showcased item is a Jackson "Black Betsy" bat, one of only two known to be in existence.

The auction's selections come from the National Pastime Museum. Many of the materials toured the country in the lead-up to the auction. Here are 13 of the most impressive items.

"Shoeless" Joe Jackson Professional Model Bat ($500,000-$700,000)


Jackson's "Black Betsy" painted finish was one of the most distinguishable of his day. This model, 39.2 oz., which includes a crack by the handle, is one of only two known surviving "Black Betsy" Jackson Louisville Sluggers.

Adrian "Cap" Anson Professional Model Bat ($300,000-$400,000)

Christie's Adrian

A 47.2 oz. bat, this is believed to be Anson's final piece of lumber before retiring in 1897. Anson was the first player to have the Louisville Slugger branded center, and this particular bat includes a chipped handle for Anson's specific grip.

Jackie Robinson Professional Model Bat ($300,000-$400,000)

Christie's Jackie Robinson Professional Model Bat ($300,000-$400,000)

Known for his contact, Robinson cut off about a 1/4" of the end of the bat to reduce weight. Robinson signed this bat, the only documented Robinson bat from the Dodgers' 1955 World Championship season, in blue ink.

Lou Gehrig Professional Model Bat ($300,000-$400,000)

Christie's Lou Gehrig Professional Model Bat ($300,000-$400,000)

With Gehrig's No. 4 carved into the knob, this bat is also notable for cleat impressions on the barrel.

Mickey Mantle Professional Model Bat ($60,000-$80,000)

Christie's Mickey Mantle Professional Model Bat ($60,000-$80,000)

Mantle's bat includes noticeable ball marks coming from all angles, expected from one of the game's best switch hitters. The bat includes a signature from Mantle.

Babe Ruth Signed Baseball ($40,000-$60,000)

Christie's Babe Ruth Signed Baseball ($40,000-$60,000)

One of the most classic pieces of baseball memorabilia, Ruth signed the sweet spot, putting quotes around "Babe." Hopefully Smalls doesn't throw this over the fence like he did in The Sandlot.

Joe Jackson Signed Bill Of Sale ($30,000-$50,000)

Christie's Joe Jackson Signed Bill Of Sale ($30,000-$50,000)

During his 1915-1920 tenure with the White Sox, "Shoeless" Joe attained ownership of a Pool Room and Cigar Store at 1202 E. 55th St. in Chicago. After getting banned from baseball due to the Black Sox Scandal, Jackson, a South Carolina native, decided to move south Georgia. Before doing so, he sold the Pool Room and Cigar Store to fellow Black Sox player "Lefty" Williams for $1 (and all outstanding debts). The document is especially notable because Jackson is believed to have been nearly illiterate and did not sign items often.

History of Colored Baseball ($15,000-$20,000)

Christie's History of Colored Baseball ($15,000-$20,000)

Long before Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier, Sol White, a player and manager in the Negro leagues from 1887-1926, scripted this book in 1907. This is the original copy, which includes hand-written notes by White.

Final Out Of The 1909 World Series ($10,000-$15,000)

Christie's Final Out Of The 1909 World Series ($10,000-$15,000)

When the Pirates closed out the Tigers in Game 7 of the 1909 World Series, future Hall of Famer Fred Clarke, player/manager for Pittsburgh, caught the final out in left. And he kept it. Clarke walked off the field with the ball and kept it in his family. At Christie's, the ball will finally find a new owner.

Josh Gibson Photograph ($10,000-$15,000)

Christie's Josh Gibson Photograph ($10,000-$15,000)

Widely considered the greatest hitter in Negro league history, Gibson won two Negro league World Series with the Homestead Grays. This early photo, although unsigned, is significant for it being edited to only show Gibson.

Mike "King" Kelly Signed Photograph ($150,000-$200,000)

Christie's Mike

One of baseball's earliest stars, King Kelly is believed by many to be the inspiration for "Casey at the Bat." Kelly won six National League Championships and one Players' League Championship. He was part of the inaugural National Baseball Hall of Fame class in 1945.

1914 Providence Grays Team Photo ($15,000-$20,000)

Christie's 1914 Providence Grays Team Photo ($15,000-$20,000)

In 1914, a 19-year-old Babe Ruth debuted with the minor league Baltimore Orioles. That summer, he was sold off to the Boston Red Sox of the American League. However, within a few starts, the Red Sox realized Ruth was not ready for big-league baseball and optioned him to the Providence Grays, a minor league team. Ruth led the Grays to an International League Title before rejoining the Red Sox for the end of the season. Ruth is in the middle of this photo, fifth from the left on the top row.

1909 Philadelphia Giants Team Photo ($10,000-$15,000)

Christie's 1909 Philadelphia Giants Team Photo ($10,000-$15,000)

The 1909 Negro League Eastern Champions, this Giants team included John Henry "Pop" Lloyd.

Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.