An old adage has it that “the stars might lie but the numbers never do.” Well, in the matter of Hub Pruett, career statistics seemed altogether contradictory to his mound abilities. Nicknamed “Shucks,” as that was the most prominent word in the Missouri-born southpaw’s vocabulary, Pruett fanned Babe Ruth 10 times in 13 at-bats during the 1924 season. That incredible dominance over the game’s most feared hitter belied Pruett’s 29-48 career record. While those in the know could never forget Pruett’s 1924 conquests of Ruth, similar sentiments come into play when beholding this St. Louis Browns road jersey worn by 23-year-old Pruett during that season.
The gray flannel pullover garment features a four-button collar, “ST. LOUIS” arched across the chest in brown felt and brown piping lining the collar, button path and half-sleeve endings. On the vented left front tail, “Pruett” in embroidered in gold-colored cursive. Within the collar, a “Peacock” local distributor’s tag is flanked by a “Rawlings” label and a strip tag on which a faded handwritten notation of “Hub Pruett” appears. There are six holes (as tailored) under each arm to facilitate ventilation. The all-original Gateway City diamond relic shows solid game wear with no repairs or alterations and very minimal fraying about the felt components.
As for Pruett and Ruth, they never exchanged words on the diamond (though Ruth would wink at the youngster when they passed). Their first formal meeting was is 1948, shortly before Ruth’s passing. Pruett, who financed a medical school education with his baseball earnings, had a medical practice in St. Louis. Pruett thanked Ruth for helping put him through medical school, proclaiming: “If it wasn’t for you, no one would have heard of me.” Ever approachable, Ruth replied: “If I helped you get through medical school, I’m glad of it.”
Accompanying is an LOA signed by Walter “Boom-Boom” Beck, a 1924 teammate of Pruett. This jersey was in Beck’s possession from the end of the 1924 season until it was sold at an auction in 1981.