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Billy Hamilton Signed Autograph Album Page
Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $7,050
Album sheet, removed from the legendary autograph album compiled by Dr. John O'Meara in the 1930s, signed by Hall of Fame outfielder ‘Sliding’ Billy Hamilton. (The original near-complete album is also offered in this auction; please see the lot description for full details.) Hamilton's signature has been flawlessly scripted in blue fountain pen and grades ‘10.’ The signature of Billy Hamilton is among the rarest of all Hall of Fame players. Hamilton's signature is missing from virtually all advanced Hall of Fame signature collections. This is due to the fact that his career spanned the years 1888 to 1901, an era in which autograph collecting was not popular, and also because he passed away in 1940 at the age of seventy-four, but wasn't elected to the Hall of Fame until 1961. Given his accomplishments, it seems hard to believe he had to wait so long. Although he stood only 5-feet 6-inches and weighed 165 pounds, Hamilton was one of the greatest offensive players in baseball history. What he lacked in size and power he more than made up for in speed. When Hamilton reached base, which was quite often, he usually scored. Three times he stole over 100 bases in a season and his league-high mark of 192 runs in 1894 remains the Major League record for a single season. A former National League batting champion, Hamilton ranks fourth all-time in on-base percentage (.455) and seventh all-time in batting average (.344). He retired in 1901 as the career leader in stolen bases with 912, a mark that stood for seventy-seven years before being broken by Lou Brock in 1978 (and later by Rickey Henderson). O'Meara, who resided in Providence, Rhode Island, would have had ample opportunity to meet Hamilton, as Hamilton resided in Worcester, Massachusetts, and also worked as a scout for the Red Sox. While there are many highlights in the Dr. John O'Meara baseball autograph album, this Billy Hamilton signature and the Ed Hanlon signature (offered as a separate lot) are the two most significant highlights, both truly of mythic rarity and monumental significance to Hall of Fame signature collectors. The page (5.5 x 4.5 inches) has been neatly removed from the original album and is in Near Mint condition. Encapsulated by Beckett Grading Services in conjunction with James Spence Authentication. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $7,050
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