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Lot # 956 (of 1594)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Billy Herman's 1973 Oakland A's World Series Ring

Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $4,993.75

1973 Oakland Athletics World Series ring presented to Hall of Famer Billy Herman in recognition of his role as a very high-ranking team scout in the A's organization. 1973 marked Oakland's second consecutive World Championship, with the A's defeating the Mets in an exciting seven-game series. The design of this ring is especially notable for the fact that it does not contain any diamonds (normally a staple of any championship ring). The reason for that was the penurious nature of A's owner Charley Finley and the adversarial relationship he had with his players. In the book A Baseball Dynasty - Charlie Finley's Swingin' A's by Bruce Markusen (2002, St. Johann Press, Haworth, N. J.) the author describes how the presentation of the 1973 World Series rings ignited a controversy the following spring. Finley was apparently upset that the extravagant rings he awarded the players the previous year were, in his mind, not appreciated by them. According to Markusen, Finley told New York Daily News sportswriter Dick Young "Screw 'em. The next time we win I won't give them a thing." Finley was, in spirit, true to his word. The 1973 World Series rings have no diamonds and were an intentional insult to the players. When the players saw the 1973 rings, they were less than pleased. As Markusen writes The rings, supposedly a reward for the team's second consecutive World Championship, contained no diamonds, only cheap-looking synthetic emeralds. 'These are trash rings,' [Reggie] Jackson told Ron Bergman bluntly. 'It's not fair, it's not right.' Even quiet, reserved players like Catfish Hunter, who usually resisted controversy, sounded off on the rings. 'The new rings are horsemeat,' said Catfish. 'This ring isn't even as good as a high school ring.' Despite their modest design, these rings are extremely rare today. Finley only awarded them to the players and coaches, as well as a small number of team officials. Possibly, some players may have even thown them away. Billy Herman, a Hall of Fame second baseman who was then the A's supervisor of scouting for the state of Florida, was one of the chosen few. The 14K gold ring, manufactured by Josten's, makes note of both the 1972 and 1973 World Championships and displays a large green stone on the front. Encircling the stone, in raised relief, is the notation "World Champions 72-73." The left shank features the A's team logo set within a baseball design. Above the logo is the name of the city, "Oakland," and below it the name of the recipient, "Herman," each in raised relief. The right shank features a shield design that displays the result of the 1972 World Series, "A's 4 - Reds 3." Above that, in raised relief is the result of the 1973 World Series, "A's 4 - Mets 3." Below the shield design are the letters "S + S = S." The interior of the ring is engraved "Josten's 14K." The ring (approximately size 7-1/2) remains in Near Mint condition and is housed in what appears to be its original green case. Accompanying the ring is a complete, full ticket to Game 7 of the 1973 World Series (Graded NM 7 by PSA) as well as a copy of Markusen's book and both a 1973 and 1974 A's yearbook, both of which list Billy Herman as a scout for the club. Also interesting is the fact that the interior cover of the 1974 yearbook features an ad for Josten's which pictures the 1973 World Series ring. Total: five items (ring, ticket, book and two programs). Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000/$4,000. SOLD FOR $4,993.75

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