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1923 Brooklyn Dodgers "Zack Wheat Day" Team-Signed Ball With Moe Berg (Rookie Season)!
Starting Bid - $1,000.00 , Sold For - $3,818.75
Presented is an extraordinary 1920s team ball: an extremely rare 1923 Brooklyn Dodgers team-signed ball that is distinguished both by its outstanding condition and historical significance, and highlighted by the rare signature of Hall of Famer Wilbert Robinson. While any early 1920s team-signed ball is an extreme rarity, and one in this condition and featuring such a prominent and highly collected team as the Dodgers is all the more noteworthy, this ball is of extra-special note. The vintage notations written on a side panel indicate that his ball was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers (then known as the Robins in honor of manager Wilbert Robinson) on Zack Wheat Day, held at Ebbets Field on September 30, 1923. Of the twenty-five signatures penned upon the official National League (Heydler) ball, four of which belong to Hall of Fame players, perhaps the most significant is that of fabled ballplayer/spy Moe Berg. Berg made his Major League debut with Brooklyn in 1923, appearing in forty-nine games as a shortstop and second baseman. His debut was far from auspicious, however, as he batted only .186 and was promptly sent back down to the minors for more seasoning. His next appearance on a Major League roster wasn't until 1926, when he joined the Chicago White Sox. Thus, Berg's signature here represents one of the earliest known examples from his Major League career. Though Berg's baseball career was largely undistinguished, his work with the United States Government was not. Long after his retirement it was revealed that Berg served as a spy throughout his playing days and during World War II. He was also responsible for taking hundreds of reconnaissance photos and films while in Japan during the barnstorming tour of Japan in 1934. Many of those photos and films were later used to help stage the famous Doolittle raid on Japan in 1942. The twenty-five black ink signatures appearing on the ball are those of Wilbert Robinson (Mgr.), Zack Wheat, Burleigh Grimes, Dazzy Vance, Moe Berg, Leo Dickeman (sweet spot), Bernie Neis (sweet spot), Zach Taylor, Ray French, Dutch Ruether, Ivy Olson, Tommy Griffith, Andy High, Bert Griffith, Billy Mullen, Eddie Ainsmith, Gene Bailey, Charlie Hargreaves, Art Decatur, Paul Schreiber, George Smith, Jack Fournier, Jimmy Johnston, and team doctor F. Hart. The ball has also been signed by Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Cy Williams. Printed on a side panel is the period black-ink notation "Zack Wheat Day - Sept. 30-'23." The signatures range in grade from "5" to "8," averaging "7." The ball is lightly toned and has been coated with a very light, almost imperceptible, layer of protective shellac. The ball is in exceptional Excellent to Mint condition in all respects, with bold stampings. Team-signed balls dating prior to 1925 are particularly rare. This is not only the first 1923 Brooklyn Dodgers team-signed ball we have ever offered, but is also perhaps the finest of any team-signed ball that we have ever encountered dating from the early 1920s. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000/$4,000+. SOLD FOR $3,818.75
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