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Lot # 989 (of 1673)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Will Harridge Single-Signed Ball

Starting Bid - $500.00 , Sold For - $1,527.50

Official American League (Cronin) ball signed by former American League president and Hall of Fame executive Will Harridge. Harridge has boldly inscribed the ball in green ink (grading “10”) across the sweet spot, “Best Wishes to Seymour – Will Harridge." Not surprisingly, William Harridge single-signed balls are exceedingly rare. The reason is twofold: first, since he was an executive (as opposed to a player), collectors did not actively seek his signature on a ball, and few young (or old) fans had occasion to seek out Mr. Harridge to request that he sign anything for them, let alone a baseball. If they had, he would have likely been very flattered. But it just didn't happen very often. Being an executive is like that. Being asked to sign autographs is largely an honor reserved for ballplayers in the baseball world. The second factor was timing: Harridge passed away in 1971 but wasn’t elected to the Hall of Fame until one year later. Therefore, Hall of Fame autograph collectors missed their opportunity to personally acquire his signature on a ball. Harridge has always been a virtually impossible signature to add to one's single-signed ball collection. Will Harridge had one of the most significant and longest-lasting careers as an executive in baseball history. He began his career as a railroad ticket agent, taking care of all the travel arrangements for the American League, until AL president Ban Johnson eventually hired him as his private secretary. He held this important position from 1911 to 1927. When Johnson resigned as AL president, Harridge became league secretary. When Johnson's successor, E. S. Barnard, died in 1931, Harridge became the third president of the American League, a position he held until 1958, after which he served as Chairman of the Board of the American League until his death in 1971. Throughout this extraordinary sixty-one-year career, the one phrase Will Harridge rarely heard from anyone holding an unsigned baseball was "Mr. Harridge, would you please sign this ball for me?" It is very easy to see why his signature is one of the most underrated of all Hall of Famers in terms of rarity on a single-signed ball. This outstanding example, in fact, is the first single-signed Harridge example that we can recall ever offering. There is evidence of a few stray ink marks, or perhaps a tiny notation, having been removed from a small area on the west panel that does not detract in the least from the ball's visual appeal. The signature has been coated with a light layer of protective shellac. Very Good to Excellent condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $1,527.50

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