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.
Real Deal Jiu-Jitsu Ass Kicker ...
Says Legendary Trainer
12/18/2014 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Ashton Kutcher's first move after wrapping "Two and a Half Men" could be becoming a world champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, if he wants it -- no joke -- according to his famous trainer.
Rigan Machado tells TMZ Sports he heard all the haters after Ashton earned his purple belt earlier this year. Detractors thought it was just a case of Hollywood favoritism, but Machado says Kutcher is a serious terror on the mats.
Rigan says Kutcher is the best celeb he's ever trained -- which doesn't seem like a high bar -- but he adds ... Ashton could beat some pros ... "because his background is in [high school] wrestling he learns so fast."
Machado has a big Jiu-Jitsu event scheduled for January ... and says he's invited Kutcher "to come and compete if he wants to, if he decides to compete he will do will good."
We just got an idea for the 'Men' finale ... if Charlie Sheen returns as rumored.
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
I'm Going Back To College
... To Play Touch Football
12/17/2014 2:35 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
J. Cole is as slick on the field as he is on the mic -- TMZ Sports got video of the rapper tearing up the gridiron during a pick-up football game at Louisiana State University.
Cole is on tour, and during a stop in Louisiana yesterday he took to social media to organize an impromptu game by tweeting ... "Baton Rouge, I'm at LSU playing football and basketball for a minute. Pull up."
Plenty of people did just that -- watch the video ... J's mostly known for his skills on the bball court, but now we know the kid's got turf talent too.
A #1 album and he gets to hang with college chicks? We ain't mad, JC.
Cut By 49ers
'He's Made Poor Decisions'
12/17/2014 12:45 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The San Francisco 49ers are done dealing with Ray McDonald and police reports -- they've cut him from the team on the heels of him being named a suspect in a rape investigation.
General Manger Trent Baalke just held a news conference, saying the decision to drop McDonald was not solely based on the latest investigation, but instead it was due to a "pattern of poor decision making."
Baalke said a "plan was put in place" with Ray and the alleged rape case went "against that plan."
He didn't elaborate but it sounded like the team had warned McDonald -- after the alleged domestic violence incident with his fiancee in August -- to keep his nose clean, or else.
He added this was a team decision, and had nothing to do with the league.
Baalke said he was "extremely disappointed" ... but stressed it wasn't about guilt or innocence, and McDonald deserved to have his day in court.
NBA Star Andre Drummond
Check Out My
12/17/2014 12:01 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Andre Drummond has taken his shoe game to a new level ... because the Detroit Pistons star rocked the flashiest Timberlands we've ever seen.
Drummond was leaving Greystone Manor this week in L.A. when and we asked the obvious question -- what's up with the red bedazzled Timbs?
Turns out they go for $450 a pop and Drummond isn't the only celeb to wear them -- HUGE stars from Future to August Alsina have rocked the kicks.
There's no place like home ...
49ers Ray McDonald
Cops Search Home in Rape Investigation
12/17/2014 10:01 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
12:10 PM PT -- San Jose PD says Ray is officially a suspect in the rape investigation -- and the alleged victim said she was "possibly sexually assaulted" on Monday.
49ers star Ray McDonald was served with a search warrant by police officers investigating a rape allegation.
San Jose PD went to McDonald's home Tuesday after talking to a woman who was getting treatment at a hospital for a possible sexual assault. Whatever the woman told police ... their investigation led them to McDonald's home.
Police have not named the Niners defensive lineman a suspect in the alleged rape ... and it's unclear what, if any evidence they found in his house.
McDonald's name was just cleared last month ... in the August domestic violence case involving his pregnant fiancee ... when the D.A. decided there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute him.
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 ...
When I Play Madden ...
I Use Tom Brady!
12/17/2014 6:49 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Michael Vick still loves playing football video games, but NOT as himself -- instead he told us he prefers to "play with a passer" ... who goes by the name of Tom Brady!
Vick was in New York on Tuesday donating Nike sneakers to the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem. With Christmas right around the corner ... he revealed his favorite holiday memory is getting his first Nintendo.
And that's when the Madden issue ... or rather, the Brady issue comes up. Considering the NY Jets play Brady and the Pats this week -- his comment might piss of loyal Jets fans. But honestly ... Jets fans, players, and coaches have more to worry about.: 3 and 11, dude.
As for his future with Gang Green -- Vick says he's not sure about next season. Hey, someone's gotta backup Brady.
Cards Fan Giving Up Memorabilia Stash
To Help Oscar's Family
12/17/2014 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The family of late Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras has some cash headed their way ... all thanks to a longtime fan who's auctioning off his treasured souvenirs.
Taveras got his first taste of the majors this season, but he made a huge impression on a Cards fan. TMZ Sports has learned the guy -- who wants to remain anonymous -- bought a bunch of Taveras memorabilia ... just one day before the 22-year-old died in a car accident.
We're told the items include -- Oscar's first home run ball, cleats from his first big league game, and a game worn post-season jersey ... all autographed and going up for auction.
We're told the fan decided to unload the merch through Goldin Auctions -- so he can donate all the profits to Oscar's family in the Dominican Republic. The auction will open on January 12th.
There's a reason Cardinals fans are known as the best in baseball.
Rampage Is The Funniest Fighter
[Unless This Video of Me in the Gym Counts]
12/17/2014 12:25 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
"Breaking Bad" star Lavell Crawford knows funny ... even when funny can kick the living crap out you -- 'cause he thinks Quentin "Rampage" Jackson is the most hilarious fighter in the world.
Crawford was at Gracie Barra Ju-Jitsu in Los Angeles -- on his way to a workout -- when we asked the veteran stand up comedian which MMA fighters make him laugh ... intentionally or not.
We'll let Lavell explain his choice, but please, please, please -- watch this video to see LC get his grapple on with an instructor. We promise ... the aftermath is worth the wait.
I Can't Terrorize My Ex-GF
She's a Trained Assassin
12/16/2014 4:00 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Kurt Busch's ex-girlfriend is in court to get a restraining order against him -- but the NASCAR driver is fighting back with what he says is proof she's a certified badass who couldn't possibly be afraid of him.
Patricia Driscoll testified in a Dover, Delaware court Tuesday about Kurt's alleged attack on her after one of his races in September. As we've reported ... Driscoll claims he choked her inside his motorcoach.
But sources close to Busch tell TMZ Sports his legal team has submitted a YouTube video of Driscoll as evidence. The video entitled "Pocket Commando" -- was posted earlier this year, and shows her at a gun range, showing off marksman skills and talking about the company she owns ... Frontline Defense Systems.
Driscoll calls herself a "commando mommy" on the video ... which we're told was shot and edited to pitch her as a reality TV star.
We're told Busch's attorneys will argue that Driscoll is a "trained assassin" who would have no reason to fear Busch. In fact, during Tuesday's hearing Busch's attorneys called her a "mercenary" out to ruin his career. Busch adamantly denies the attack.
It's likely the video will be played in court on Wednesday.