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Circa 1935 Multi-Signed Ball with Ruth, Gehrig, Lazzeri, and Dean
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $2,938
This red-and-black stitched ball (no manufacturer's stampings visible, but appears to be a Major League ball), which has been signed in blue or black ink by eighteen former ballplayers, is notable for the fact that it features the signatures of eight prominent Hall of Famers, including Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Surprisingly, the black-ink signature of Lou Gehrig (an abrasion obscures the "hr" in "Gehrig," otherwise grading a "6") appears on the sweet spot, while Ruth's blue-ink signature ("6") is located on a side panel together with that of Dizzy Dean. This is the first baseball signed by both Ruth and Gehrig that we can ever recall seeing where Gehrig's signature, and not Ruth's, occupies the sweet spot, making it a truly unique example. It is a virtual certainty that the reason the ball is signed in this manner is that when these signatures were collected by a fan, Gehrig was asked to sign first, and the opportunity to ask Ruth to sign arose later (perhaps even on a different day). Had this been a traditional Yankees team ball or even signed at an event where both Ruth and Gehrig were signing together, Gehrig would have never signed on the sweet spot, leaving that place of honor for Ruth. The remaining six Hall of Fame signatures on the ball are those of Dizzy Dean ("7"), Rabbit Maranville ("5"), Earl Combs ("4/5"), Tony Lazzeri ("4/5"), Lefty Gomez ("3"), and Joe Medwick ("6"). Also represented here are the signatures of Pepper Martin, Huck Betts, Hal Lee, Jack Rothrock, Ed Brandt, and five others that are either illegible or faded beyond recognition. Overall, signatures range from "1" to "7," averaging "4/5." The ball displays moderate soiling, including a few light abrasions, and is in Very Good condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000++. SOLD FOR $2,938
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