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The Sultan of Swap
Franz Lidz
May 22, 1995
FROM BABE RUTH'S SPITTOON TO GEORGE BRETT'S PINE TAR, BARRY HALPER HAS BEGGED, BOUGHT AND BARTERED FOR A FABULOUS TROVE OF BASEBALL TREASURES
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May 22, 1995

The Sultan Of Swap

FROM BABE RUTH'S SPITTOON TO GEORGE BRETT'S PINE TAR, BARRY HALPER HAS BEGGED, BOUGHT AND BARTERED FOR A FABULOUS TROVE OF BASEBALL TREASURES

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1 smoked ham
6 tins sardines (Norw.)
2 French bread
2 lbs. coffee (Col.)
bananas (good condition)
crap paper (8 rolls, best)
half case Old Forrester
red wine (6, best port)
3 Glenlivet Scotch (12 years old)
2 Seagrams gin
also, last 2 weeks Sporting News.

Where the hell are my copies?

On a shelf in another room Halper keeps Cobb's 1946 diary. Among the nastiest entries are the following.

Jan. 3: Saw lawyer re. divorce. She wants $5,000 per month. Will settle for less. And no $60,000 cash alimony. Extra problems keeping this out of the headlines.

Jan. 22: If I had bought the Cincinnati club in 1930 at $300,000, would have lost my shirt. Team drew under 500,000 ten years.... Horse——town today.

Jan. 27: UPI named me 'player of the half-century.' Many phone calls from fiends and old enemies. Best thing was I beat out Ruth in vote.

Ruth died in 1948, the same year Halper began collecting. Halper grew up in Newark, a few blocks from Ruppert Stadium, home of the Newark Bears, then the Yankees' top farm club. At age eight he began hanging out at the players' entrance to pester his favorite Bears for autographs. One day slugger Lou (the Mad Russian) Novikoff snapped, "You here again? I signed yesterday."

"That was yesterday," Halper said. "This is today. Sign. Please."

"What do you do with all these balls?"

"I don't know. Just keep them, I guess. I have every one you ever gave me."

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