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Lot # 957 (of 1594)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1970 Last Ball Used at Shibe Park

Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $7,050.00

On October 1, 1970, baseball witnessed the end of an era, when Philadelphia’s venerable Shibe Park (also known as Connie Mack Stadium) hosted its last Major League game. Offered here is the very last ball hit at Shibe Park on that historic day and it is accompanied by an LOA from Phillies pitcher Bobby Wine attesting to its authenticity and provenance. The final ball hit that day came off the bat of Phillies outfielder Oscar Gamble, whose single to center in the bottom of the tenth inning scored Tim McCarver with the winning run in the Phillies exciting 2-1 victory over the Montreal Expos. Boots Day was the Expos center fielder who retrieved the ball at the end of the game and afterwards, realizing its significance, he gave it to Phillies pitcher Bobby Wine. The ball remained in Wine’s personal collection for many years until he finally decided to part with it, along with all of his other baseball memorabilia, in 1990 at public auction. The ball, which is an Official National League ball (label is obscured), was later decorated by Wine to commemorate its historic nature. Written cross the ball label, in black painted letters, is the date and score of the game: “Thurs. Oct. 1, 1970 – Phils – 2 Expos – 1 – 10 innings.” Further details are noted along the sweet spot (extending into both side panels), also in black painted letters: “Last Ball Hit At Connie Mack. Gamble Singled To Center Off Reed.” The ball is moderately soiled, displaying appropriate game use, and is in Excellent condition. It is interesting to note that this ball received quite a bit of attention by the Philadelphia media in 1991, shortly after its sale at auction. The Hall of Fame had interest in the ball and the owner offered to loan the ball for exhibit, but, according to newspaper articles (which accompany the lot) the Hall of Fame was only interested in owning the ball, requesting that it be donated, and not just loaned. The story headline in The Philadelphia Daily News , which accompanies the lot, reads "Ball of Fame can't visit Hall of Fame" and reports the controversy, which apparently was never resolved, despite the fact that Hall of Fame registrar Peter Clark is quoted as saying that he hoped the ball would get to the Hall of Fame one day and that it deserves to be in the Hall's collection. Shibe Park opened its gates on April 12, 1909, and for the next sixty-one years was home to both the Philadelphia Athletics (1909-1954) and Philadelphia Phillies (1938-1970). Built at a cost of $300,000 it was the first concrete and steel stadium in Major League history. It was originally named for Ben Shibe, an A’s stockholder and baseball manufacturer, but in 1953 the team changed the name to Connie Mack Stadium in honor of its longtime manager. It was torn down in 1976. This was the last game ball from that legendary stadium, literally representing the end of an era. It is extremely rare and extraordinary to have such a significant last game ball saved and so well documented. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $7,050.00

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