By Hratch Hannessian
In 1920, Baseball Legend Babe Ruth gifted his 50th home run bat to Mile Nouvart Dzeron Koshkarian at the Polo Grounds in New York. Nouvart, a representative of the Near East Relief, received the bat which was auctioned off to benefit the Armenian orphans who had survived the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
Nouvart, the lucky lady who met the baseball legend, was born in the province of Harpoot, Armenia. At an early age, Nouvart was brought to the United States by her parents who were forced to flee Turkish persecution. A successful professional painter in her adult life, Nouvart abandoned her career and devoted her time to spreading awareness about the atrocities that had occurred against the Armenian people.
Although some local newspapers covered the event by printing a picture and a brief description, none seem to have detailed the auction itself.
Now, almost a hundred years later, many questions remain unanswered. Who bought the bat and supported the Armenian cause? How much did it sell for? Is it in a private collection or at a Museum? Does it still exist?
The information surrounding both the auction and the bat has the potential to shed light on the international social climate of the time, and the influence of celebrity in the immediate aftermath of the Genocide. Moreover, a detailed account of the event could provide a more accurate outline of the Near East Relief Fund’s activism throughout the years, in addition to its expansive impact.
If you have any more information about the auction or the bat, please contact Hratch Hannessian at [email protected].
Photo: Babe Ruth in full New York Yankees Pinstripes presenting his 50th home run bat as a gift – to be auctioned off for benefit of the Armenian Orphans.
Photo Copyright: 1920 Underwood & Underwood, New York.
Photo source credits: American Golf, Magazine “The American Golfer,” October 9, 1920, Page 12.