Babe Ruth's game-worn baseball cap from a 1934 barnstorming trip to Japan just hauled in an amazing $303,277 in an auction ... TMZ Sports has learned.
No, it's not gold-leafed or anything, but it did sit on the Babe's skull while he did some diplomatic work for the U.S. He was part of an American all-star team sent to Japan in 1934 to play 18 exhibition games.
The games were supposed to ease rising tensions between the U.S. and Japan, but failed. See WWII.
We're told the ball cap remained with the Ruth family until 30 years ago ... then changed hands twice ... before landing on the block this morning at Grey Flannel Auctions.
Another sports legend fetched big dollars too -- an original pair of Jordan's ... just not Air Jordans.
The ADIDAS shoes MJ wore during his '81-'82 season at UNC went to the top bidder for $33,378!
We're told the winning bidders on both items want to remain anonymous.
Hey Media, There's 2 of Us
You Got the Wrong Amy!
12/18/2014 1:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Amy Pascal spent Wednesday afternoon tooling around L.A. on the TMZ Hollywood Tour, while Sony was in utter turmoil.
Amy is NOT the same Amy Pascal who runs Sony Pictures, but tell that to USA Today, Time.com and various other media outlets, that have plastered her picture on their publications and dragged her face through the mud.
You gotta see the video ... Amy, a marketing exec, says she was at an AdWeek event a few months ago and had her pic taken on the red carpet. Her pic showed up on Getty Images and was misidentified as the Amy Pascal from Sony.
News outlets took the pic and ran, which pisses her off because she's 41 ... 15 years younger than her namesake.
Now she's getting a torrent of angry tweets from people who think she sent all those emails.
Sony Hacking Scandal
I'm on the Case!
12/18/2014 5:53 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Carl Bernstein has some serious questions about Sony's decision to pull "The Interview" from theaters ... and he's planning on digging for answers.
The legendary journalist talked to our photog just after the news broke Wednesday afternoon ... saying he hopes Sony made the move because of a credible threat and not out of cowardice.
Bernstein said he'll call his sources to find out if Sony was justified based on real threats ... and the guy clearly has sources.
We spotted Bernstein again later that night (random, right?) where he wondered out loud whether or not it was a good idea to make a film about assassinating a foreign leader in the first place.
'Real Housewife' Phaedra Parks
Me and the Kids Are Going
To the Big House For XMAS!
12/18/2014 12:50 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Phaedra Parks says she's going to prison for the holidays, and she may be bringing her kids.
Phaedra's hubby Apollo Nida is serving an 8 year sentence for money laundering and check fraud, and it looked like it would be the loneliest of times because Phaedra said she would NOT visit him.
But she's softened for the holidays, and now says her and the kids will probably go on a field trip to the big house.
And check this out ... even though she's said she'll divorce Apollo, she's still wearing the ring.
Soap Star Crystal Hunt
I Cut a Woman's Face
And it Only Cost Me $3,600!
12/18/2014 12:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Soap star Crystal Hunt destroys faces and dreams according to the woman she attacked this year ... now she's paying out ... but it seems like a drop in the bucket.
The "One Life to Live" actress went to town on Elizabeth Nam during a bar brawl, cracking a bar glass on her face, requiring doctors, plastic surgeons and even a shrink.
You'd think the bills, along with her pain and suffering, would be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
But a criminal court judge just ordered Crystal to pay a measly $3,600 to Elizabeth in restitution. It's unclear why the amount is so low.
Crystal has pled no contest to assault, and has been placed on 3 years probation and ordered to perform 45 days of community labor.
Sounds like Elizabeth got hit ... and then slapped in the face. But Elizabeth can still file a civil suit.
'Married At First Sight' Lawsuit
Till Theft Of My Idea
Do Us Part
12/18/2014 12:10 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
A&E doesn’t think the idea of a marriage reality game show is sacred … at least that's the allegation in a new lawsuit.
Yaina Williams says she's the mastermind behind “Married at First Sight” -- a show that follows six couples that get hitched the moment they meet.
Williams claims she uploaded her treatment to a site called the TV Writers Vault back in 2011 and later found out an exec at Lifetime -- owned by A&E Networks -- downloaded it a year later.
She says the next thing she knew ... promos for MAFS were running on the network and she flipped out.
Williams says the the show is so similar to her treatment ... they even share the same tagline, "Can Love Happen at First Sight." And she says the use of experts, online voting and a 6-month couples check-up were all copied.
She wants a judge to order the network to stop airing the show. And she also wants money.
Calls to A&E have not been returned.
NHL Mumps Outbreak
Canadian Officials Chill ...
Mumps Shmumps, Eh!
12/17/2014 5:00 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
One of the NHL teams hit by the mumps outbreak is north of the border right now ... potentially exposing opponents to the virus -- but Canadian health officials are pretty damn laid back about the risk.
As we previously reported -- players from the Anaheim Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild, NY Rangers, and NJ Devils ... have come down with mumps in recent weeks. The Ducks played Tuesday night in Toronto ... and are taking on the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday night.
TMZ Sports spoke to the Montreal Dept. of Public Health, and shockingly ... officials say they haven't reached out to their hometown team, or any visiting teams to discuss preventing the spread of the virus.
Health officials in Winnipeg -- where the Jets are getting ready for a road trip to play the Wild -- gave us a similar response.
Mumps -- a painful swelling of the salivary glands -- spreads fairly easily from coughing, sneezing or kissing ... and enters the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth.
Meanwhile, the NHL seems to be doing its part -- sending all 30 teams a memo with tips on dealing with the outbreak.
Ex-MLB Star Brad Halsey
NO BOOZE or DRUGS
At Time of Mysterious Death
12/17/2014 4:30 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Former baseball star Brad Halsey was clean and sober when he fell more than 100 feet to his death in a remote area of Texas ... TMZ Sports has learned.
Halsey died on Halloween from blunt force trauma ... according to the docs we obtained. Sheriff's deputies in Halsey's hometown of New Braunsfels, TX say he either jumped or fell off the cliff which was on private property.
The autopsy report says Halsey's body was screened for a slew of drugs, including ... opiates, cocaine, oxycodone, barbiturates, amphetamines, marijuana, benzodiazepines ... and many more -- but pathologists found nothing. Same result for alcohol.
Halsey had pitched for the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and A's. In 2006, he famously gave up Barry Bonds' 714th career home run ... tying Babe Ruth for #2 on the all-time list
Sony Hacking Is An Act of War ...
Let's Hunt Them Down
12/17/2014 3:50 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Newt Gingrich wants President Obama to treat the Sony hackers just like Osama Bin Laden -- by tracking them down and getting revenge for what he calls America's first defeat in a cyber war.
We talked to the former Speaker of the House in NYC ... right after Sony announced it was pulling "The Interview" from theaters and he did not try to hide his anger over the hack.
Gingrich says we've now opened the door for foreign terrorists to control American media. As he puts it ... "If they [the Sony hackers] can pull it off, do the Iranians come next?"
Watch the video ... Newt does suggest a plan for Sony to save face and stick it to the hackers.
Victim Says Apology NOT Accepted
12/17/2014 1:44 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The woman who was just 10 when Stephen Collins molested her and placed her hand on his penis says she's not buying his belated apology.
The woman -- now in her 50s -- is telling family members, "Stephen is minimizing the incident. It was not just a spontaneous touching ... that aggression resulted in him ejaculating."
She also scoffs at Collins decision not to apologize to her and another one of his victims, saying, "His assertion that he wanted to avoid reopening an old wound seems nonsensical to me."
She doesn't believe there are only 3 victims -- the ones he confessed to on audio.
The woman has filed a police report with the NYPD and an investigation is underway, but we're told any case would be rejected because of the statute of limitations.
She clearly wants more than a mea culpa, asking, "Why isn't he donating any disposable income, beyond what he needs to survive, to a child-abuse charity?" And shes says, "Maybe he should at least try apologizing to his victims."
We Know How to Make This Movie Go Away
12/17/2014 8:36 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
2:00 PM PT -- AMC Theaters has decided to pull the plug as well, saying, "At this time, to best enable AMC guests to plan their holiday movie-going with certainty and confidence, AMC is programming its theatres without 'The Interview.'"
1:15 PM PT -- Canada's top theater chain, Cineplex, has postponed screening "The Interview."
12:10 PM PT -- Two more major movie chains -- Regal Entertainment and Carmike Cinemas -- have now decided to drop the film as well.
10:10 AM PT -- Bow Tie Cinemas became the second major chain to announce they will not be showing the film on any of their 350 screens. Bow Tie CEO Ben Moss said "the safety and comfort of our patrons is foremost in our minds."Sony execs think there's a way to yank "The Interview" and still not give in to the cyber-terrorists.
Industry insiders with direct knowledge tell TMZ ... studio heads are now banking on a flurry of cancellations from the various movie distributors across the country ... to the point where it would not make economic sense to release it.
We're told the execs are actually viewing the latest threat as having a silver lining ... the threat of a 9/11-type attack will make so many theaters pull the flick themselves -- and Sony won't have to do it. One movie chain has already reportedly folded -- the Carmike Cinemas. ArcLight is mulling over what to do.
We're told Sony execs want the bleeding to stop ... especially attacks against mid and low-level employees whose lives, finances and health issues have been exposed.
Surprisingly ... there's talk about the movie getting play on some sort of pay-per-view platform, but that seems odd if they want the hacking to stop.
I'm Going Nowhere
12/17/2014 1:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal will NOT step down ... and we're told there has been a groundswell of celebrity support for her to keep her job.
Our industry sources tell TMZ ... more than 50 showbiz bigwigs -- many of whom are celebrities -- have contacted Pascal and other honchos at Sony voicing support for her. Ironically, a number of the supporters voice their sentiment via email to various execs at Sony.
We're told the celebs who have come forward include Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, John Singleton, Jack Nicholson and Tyler Perry. As for that pic of Jolie with the steely look as Pascal hugged her ... we're told it was just a moment in time.
We're told Pascal is winning some points by spending much of her time in the last few days focusing on the security and safety of the employees.
Pascal is under fire for her emails with producer Scott Rudin about Prez Obama's film preferences, which Rudin said ranged from "12 Years a Slave" to "Ride Along."
The people voicing support have gone out of their way to say they do not think Pascal is racist.
Cuba Gooding Jr.
I've Reached A Verdict on O.J.
12/17/2014 7:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Cuba Gooding Jr. is already stepping into OJ Simpson's Bruno Magli's ... and he's made up his mind about whether the Juice is guilty of murder.
Outside the Paley Center in NYC ... Cuba told us he's excited about playing Simpson in Ryan Murphy's miniseries “American Crime Story: The People V. OJ Simpson." But to really nail the role, Cuba says he has to go all in -- which raises the million dollar question.
Watch the video -- Cuba gives us an answer. It's cryptic, but telling.
So, we gotta ask ...