Babe Ruth Home Run Bat Fetches $1 MILLION ... At Epic Auction

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SCP Auctions

Babe Ruth's 500th home run bat has a new owner ... and it came with a price tag of ONE MILLION FREAKIN' DOLLARS!!

TMZ Sports has learned ... the piece of baseball history was scooped up by an unidentified buyer in SCP Auction's huge event on Saturday ... going for a record $1,000,800.

The bat -- used to break the 500-HR mark on August 11, 1929 -- was gifted to longtime friend Jim Rice and has maintained great condition through the years.

BTW -- the stick was authenticated by a bat expert, so you know it's the real deal.

SCP President David Kohler spoke about the big sell, saying “Babe Ruth memorabilia continues to be among the most prized artifacts for all worldwide collectors ... and this outstanding bat proved that once again.”

There was a bunch of other awesome stuff that found new homes as well -- Mickey Mantle's World Series ring ($100k), A-Rod's 600th career home run ball ($97.7k), Joe Lapchick's game-worn jersey ($151k).

The Babe bat made its way to the TMZ office before being handed off to its rightful owner ... and the fellas on the "TMZ Sports" TV show (weeknights on FS1) totally geeked out over it.

Congrats to the mystery buyer!!

MLB's Josh Donaldson Buys Mom $70,000 Maserati ... For Quitting Smoking

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CHRISTMAS CAME EARLY

Quit smoking ... get a brand-new Maserati???

That's the deal Josh Donaldson made with his mom ... and when the MLB superstar paid up his side of the bet with the $70,000 whip -- Momma Donaldson's reaction was PRICELESS!!!

The Atlanta Braves stud says he made the pact with his mom a couple of years ago ... saying if she cut out cigarettes, he'd deliver a pricey ride as a present.

Well, sometime recently, she reached the two-year clean mark ... so he filmed himself giving her the Maserati, and the footage is amazing.

The third baseman's mom goes absolutely bananas when she sees the car ... jumping into his arms and screaming wildly.

Seriously, it's the best.

"2 years of not smoking and here is her early Christmas present," Donaldson said. "Trust me you are going to want to watch this."

The vid is so amazing ... a bunch of MLB stars weighed in, with JD Martinez calling it the "best reaction ever" and Ian Kinsler saying, "That's amazing."

By the way, if you're wondering how the new ride will affect Donaldson's checkbook ... don't fret -- the dude is expected to sign a MASSIVE contract in free agency this offseason!!!

Roger Clemens Gerrit Cole Will Kill It w/ Yankees ... 'It's Gonna Be Great'

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GOOD ARM AND A GOOD HEART
TMZSports.com

Sorry, Boston ... Roger Clemens is predicting a MONSTER career for Gerrit Cole with the New York Yankees, telling TMZ Sports, "It's gonna be great, man."

Cole just inked the fattest contract EVER for a pitcher ... signing a 9-year, $324 MILLION deal to play in pinstripes.

When we got Clemens out in NYC ... he told us he has ZERO doubts the 29-year-old is going to live up to that lofty deal -- saying the ace is just that good.

"We're going to miss him in Houston," Clemens says.

Of course, the Rocket knows a thing or two about succeeding in NY ... the dude is a Yanks LEGEND -- and he tells us Cole's got the right makeup to succeed at Yankee stadium.

"He absolutely does," Clemens says.

As for off the mound ... Roger is just as high on Cole there -- telling us, "He's a better person than he is a pitcher. That's how good a kid he is."

Music to Brian Cashman's ears!!

Gerrit Cole Signs $324 Million Contract ... With NY Yankees

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Gerrit Cole just got PAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIDDDDDDD!!!

The superstar ace reportedly just signed a new 9-year, $324 MILLION contract with the New York Yankees ... making him the highest-paid pitcher EVER!!!

Cole was electric for the Houston Astros the past two years ... piling up 602 strikeouts in 412.2 innings, and he finished second in the AL Cy Young voting just a couple weeks ago.

He was the hottest free agent on the market this offseason ... with the Yanks, L.A. Angels and L.A. Dodgers reportedly falling all over themselves to ink the 29-year-old.

But, bidding ended Tuesday night ... 'cause Cole signed the biggest pitcher contract of all-time to move from Texas to New York.

In case you're wondering just how massive of a deal it is ... if Cole makes 33 starts for the Yankees this year like he did for the 'Stros last year -- he'll make more than $1 MIL PER OUTING!!!

As for Cole's agent, Scott Boras ... the dude is SWIMMING in cash this offseason -- he also repped Stephen Strasburg, who signed a $245 MILLION deal this week with the Nationals.

The one downside for Cole to all of this? The Yankees don't allow facial hair, so his beard will have to go in 2019.

But, hey, at least he can afford a nice razor!!!

MLB Weed Ban Lifted ... For Minor Leaguers

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Weed is now LEGAL in the MLB ... the league is lifting its ban on marijuana for minor leaguers, removing the drug from its prohibited substance list.

As part of the MLB's efforts to crack down on opioid use in and around its league ... it has agreed to stop testing minor leaguers for weed, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reports.

Of course, the MLB already didn't test its big leaguers for marijuana ... but the rule change for everyone else is a big deal for the sport.

Previously, minor league players faced a 25-game suspension for a first positive weed test, a 50-game suspension for a second test, a 100-game suspension for a third and a ban for LIFE for a fourth.

Ex-Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress is among the list of several current MLB players who have previously been popped for using weed in the minors.

As for the why now ... MLB officials are clearly trying to deter players from turning to opioids to fix their issues -- this after Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs tragically died from an accidental overdose on fentanyl, oxycodone and oxymorphone this past year.

MLB still lists dozens of recreational drugs on its banned substance list ... including cocaine, LSD and MDMA.

Question now ... will the NFL follow suit?

Stephen Strasburg Signs $245 MILLION Contract ... To Stay With Nationals

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Keep the party going in DC ... Stephen Strasburg just chose to remain a National -- signing a new 7-year, $245 MILLION deal with the World Series champs!!!

There were rumors after Strasburg's epic WS performance that he could bolt from the nation's capital to sign with the Yankees or the Padres this offseason, but he slammed the door shut on that by putting pen to paper with the Nats on Monday.

It's a massive new contract -- reportedly worth nearly $30 million MORE than the record-setting, $217 mil contract the Red Sox gave David Price back in 2015.

Of course, it's also a huge win for the Nationals despite the large amounts of cash ... Strasburg was dominant this season, going 18-6 with 251 strikeouts in 209 innings.

But, the best part about it for the Nats? It guarantees the team keeps Max Scherzer and Strasburg at the top of its rotation for the foreseeable future.

Yeah ... sorry, Mets.

By the way, the new deal has also put a little bit of egg on Donald Trump's face ... remember when he famously predicted Strasburg would leave the Nats?!?

Good times.

Johnny Damon Wanna Fix the Yankees?!? They Need More Than Just Gerrit Cole!!!

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HIS GOLF GAME NEEDS WORK
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The Yankees shouldn't put all their eggs in the Gerrit Cole basket ... because it's gonna take more than one star pitcher to make NY a legit contender, so says Johnny Damon.

Of course, the Yankees are trying like hell to sign the former Houston Astros star -- they reportedly sent everyone from GM Brian Cashman to Yanks legend Andy Pettitte to California this week to meet with the free agent.

29-year-old Cole was a STUD in 2019 -- finishing 2nd in a CLOSE Cy Young race to his teammate, Justin Verlander.

"He's a great pitcher," Damon tells TMZ Sports ... but he notes, "They need to get a couple of great pitchers because they haven't won a World Series since they got this one (shows his ring)!"

Damon was a part of the championship Yankees team that beat the Phillies in 2009.

"It's been 10 years so they need to do what they can."

Damon says the team is LOADED with hitters -- with guys like Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge -- but "they just need guys to stay healthy."

There's more ... Damon also gives us an update on his good friend David Ortiz and tells us how they raised more than $2 MILLION for charity.

Jeb Bush Astros Cheating Allegations ... 'Fake News'

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FAKE NEWS!!!
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Jeb Bush is going to bat for his beloved Houston Astros -- saying allegations they cheated during their 2017 World Series season is nothing more than "Fake news!"

"No way," Bush told us ... "Not the 'Stro Dogs! No way!"

"It's fake news!"

Bush -- who grew up in Texas and says he's a longtime Astros fan -- was smirking in our clip ... so it seems he knows the evidence is mounting against his squad.

In the past few weeks, videos have surfaced that seem to show the Astros used an array of visual signals and sounds to tip off batters about the types of pitches coming their way.

So far, none of the players have admitted guilt -- in fact, ex-Astros outfielder J.D. Davis has outright DENIED the allegations ... and points to his batting average as proof.

"I wasn't aware of anything and even if I was, even if there was, I wish I would've known because I batted only like .180, .200 or something like that," Davis told The Athletic.

MLB officials are currently investigating -- and it's obvious this scandal ain't going away any time soon.

The Bush family has a major connection to Major League Baseball -- Jeb's brother, George W. Bush, was a part-owner of the Texas Rangers back in the day.

Plus, Jeb reportedly tried to buy the Florida Marlins back in 2017.

Ex-Astros OF J.D. Davis Never Saw Team Cheat ... Proof? I Hit .180!!!

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Ex-Astros OF/3B J.D. Davis INSISTS he NEVER saw any of his Houston teammates cheat ... despite 'Stros pitcher Mike Fiers claim the squad used high-tech gadgets to steal signs.

Davis -- now a member of the New York Mets -- was with the Astros from 2017-2018 ... smack in the middle of when the team's accused of cheating.

Remember, Fiers -- a starting pitcher -- recently told The Athletic that the 2017 Astros used a camera to steal signs from opposing catchers ... and then relayed the info (what pitch was coming) to 'Stros batters by banging on a garbage can.

The allegation sparked outrage ... and a massive MLB investigation.

But, Davis -- who was at a Mets children's holiday party in NYC Wednesday -- says despite the super-serious allegation, he simply never saw anyone cheat.

"I wasn't aware of anything and even if I was, even if there was, I wish I would've known because I batted only like .180, .200 or something like that," Davis says.

"But, I really have no idea or no clue."

Davis -- who had a monster year with the Mets in 2019 -- struggled with Houston in 2017 ... hitting .226 in his 68 plate appearances.

Davis says he was totally caught off guard by the sinister allegations.

"Sure, I was surprised about it, but I really have no idea. I was kind of like the freshman among the seniors and everything. I really had no idea what was going on or what's really happening, but that's an MLB investigation."

"I haven't gotten any calls yet."

Yankees' Clint Frazier Trolls Astros On Video Game Stream ... 'Two Bangs, Slider!!!'

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BANGIN' ON THE ASTROS

"Alright, I'm about to a hit home run because I know what pitch is coming!"

Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier SAVAGELY roasted the Houston Astros on his Twitch stream Tuesday ... throwing shade at the AL champs over their alleged use of trash bins in their 2017 cheating scandal.

The clip is pretty hilarious ... Frazier -- who's in the middle of a Call of Duty stream -- hits his virtual gun on some empty cans and says, "Two bangs, slider!"

After his avatar eventually goes down, he ribs the 'Stros some more, adding, "He said two bangs was a curveball and he banged twice and it was a heater!"

Of course, Houston is accused of stealing signs with video cameras 2 years ago and using dugout trash bins to relay the message to its hitters.

While it's a joking matter for Frazier -- who didn't make the Yankees' playoff roster when they played the Astros in the 2017 ALCS -- most guys in the MLB ain't laughin'.

Houston's penalty will reportedly be STEEP if it's found guilty ... and Yankees players and fans are still (rightfully) pissed over the whole deal.

In fact, CC Sabathia just said Tuesday he still sometimes wakes up "angry" over the whole issue!!!

But, hey, sometimes ya just gotta laugh to keep from crying!

CC Sabathia Bulky Shoulder Brace In NYC ... Needed Surgery After ALCS

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FEELIN' ALL-RIGHT
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Here's proof CC Sabathia gave EVERYTHING he had to try to get the Yankees another World Series title ...

TMZ Sports got the former MLB ace out in NYC on Tuesday ... and he was sporting a bulky brace on his pitching arm.

When we spoke to sources close to the 39-year-old, they told us he needed surgery last week to clean up the mess he made in his left arm after pitching for the Yanks against Houston in the ALCS.

Tough dude, right?!

Of course, CC battled a TON of injuries in his last year in pinstripes ... the guy famously said he would have had knee surgery over the summer if the Yanks weren't in a championship hunt.

As for his future, a timeline for recovery doesn't matter much anymore ... Sabathia is done pitching for good -- and if you expect to see him around the diamond next year, don't count on it.

The guy told reporters Tuesday he has ZERO interest in managing or broadcasting ... and seems he wasn't kidding when he told us earlier this year he's looking to do a ton of fishing in retirement!

RETIREMENT PLANS
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Alex Rodriguez Bat, Ball & Yankees Uni From 600th HR ... Hits Auction Block

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Alex Rodriguez is one of only 9 players ever to hit 600 home runs ... and now you can own everything short of the jockstrap A-Rod wore when he smashed the historic dinger.

Rodriguez hit his 600th career home run off Blue Jays pitcher Shaun Marcum on August 4, 2010 at Yankees Stadium in The Bronx ... making him the youngest player (35 years, 8 days) to ever reach the milestone.

Now, the Louisville Slugger bat that Rodriguez used to crush the Rawlings baseball over the center field fence is up for auction at SCP Auctions.

You can also bid on Alex's Majestic brand Yankees uniform ... as well as the 1st base bag that Rodriguez touched during his HR trot.

All of the pieces are signed by Rodriguez ... and inscribed with writing that commemorates his 600th blast.

600 home runs is a BIG DEAL ... and it put A-Rod in a super exclusive club with legends like Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron (and a few other guys you might've heard of ... Mays, Griffey Jr., Pujols, Thome, Sosa).

Rodriguez went on to hit 696 total home runs ... 4th all-time on the Major League Baseball career HR list.

Bidding ends next week ... and the bat, ball, and uniform (offered individually, not as a package) have each crossed the $10K mark already!

The auction house tells us they expect the bat to go for between $40-50K, the uniform $30-40K ... and the baseball for over $50,000.

So, be ready to write a fat check ... and good luck!

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Shockingly Not Good At Golf ... No Power On The Range!

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SWING FOR THE FENCES

The best young power hitter in the MLB hits a golf a ball like THIS?!?!?!

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. took a trip to Top Golf on Monday ... and the results were shockingly average.

The Toronto Blue Jays superstar stepped up to the range mat with what appeared to be a 3-wood in his hands ... and proceeded to show off less power than your average dad.

Watch the clip ... the same violent swing that allows the 20-year-old to launch baseballs 500 feet only yielded some 175-yarders.

OKAY, he ain't exactly Zion Williamson with a golf club ... but come on, look at this kid with a baseball bat in his hands!!!

For their part, Vladdy's friends appeared to be making fun of his lack of pop on the links too!!

Don't worry, baby Guerrero's still raking on the baseball diamond ... he later posted some clips Monday night showing off his classic power.

But, still ... call up Nelson Cruz and get some golf lessons, bro!!!

NO MULLIGAN

Gary Sheffield Moonshot Home Runs While Smoking ... 51 Years Old!!!

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STILL GOT IT

GARY SHEFFIELD CAN STILL RAKE!!!

Here's the 51-year-old ex-MLB superstar proving he's still got plenty of pop left in his bat ... hitting monster home runs at a local park -- all while smoking a stogie!!!

The video is pretty awesome ... Sheffield -- still using his trademark pre-swing waggle and an aluminum bat -- gets three pitches from a buddy, and unloads on all three!!

They go at least 400 feet ... and it probably ain't the smartest idea -- 'cause cars are zooming by just inches from the landing spot of his moonshot dingers!!!

Of course, Sheffield was super proud of the feat ... you can see him smirking with the cigar in his mouth -- and he later wrote on social media, "51 years old and still has the fastest hands alive."

"#garysheffieldswing haha old man still got it."

Gary became a legend in the MLB back in the 1990s and early 2000s for his power ... the guy hit 509 home runs in 22 seasons.

Clearly, he can still hit a few if ya need him ... you watching, Miami Marlins??

Bernie Williams No Interest In Coaching ... I'm A Musician!!!

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FOCUSING ON MY MUSIC
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Bernie Williams will NOT be the next Carlos Beltran ... so says the Yankees legend himself, who tells TMZ Sports he's solely focused on being a musician -- not an MLB manager!!

Hiring ex-stars has been the trendy move for clubs looking for a new leader these days ... and with Bernie's background, he seems to be a great candidate for a job down the road.

But, Williams tells us he has no interest in having that gig at the moment ... saying his guitar has his heart!!

"This music thing has got me, man!" Williams says. "It's got me really hard. And, I'm trying to be the best musician that I can be right now."

If you're unfamiliar, Bernie's been shredding his guitar for years since his retirement in 2006 ... and even got nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2009.

But, he's clearly gunning for more in the music world ... telling us that's his passion right now.

Don't get it twisted, Bernie's still staying around baseball and says he's always down to help Yankees hitters during spring training workouts in Florida.

So, maybe, never say never??

Bobby Valentine Warns Carlos Beltran ... Fix The Mets' Bullpen!!!

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MY MAN BELTRAN
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Carlos Beltran, listen up ... Bobby Valentine's got some Mets advice, telling TMZ Sports if the new NY manager wants to win now -- FIX THE BULLPEN ASAP!!!

The Mets were a disaster at the end of games last season -- closer Edwin Diaz blew SEVEN saves -- and that ultimately led to Mickey Callaway's firing last month.

When we got Valentine out at Mariano Rivera's charity event in NYC ... the ex-Mets manager told us if Beltran wants to avoid the same fate, clean that part of NY's roster up NOW!!!

Of course, Bobby V also said it'd be great for Beltran if he could get some contributions from Yoenis Cespedes and add a little more firepower to the offense too.

"I'm pulling for him," Bobby says.

As for if Valentine thinks Beltran has the goods to eventually get the Mets back to the playoffs ... Bobby told us yes, saying, "He gets it. He's a real smooth guy."

Pitchers and catchers report to camp in February ... maybe see ya there with a new closer, Carlos???