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Hank Greenberg Signed 1945 Detroit Tigers World Champions Souvenir Ball
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $529
This 1945 Detroit Tigers souvenir ball has a unique and very significant provenance in that it originates from the personal collection of Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg, and was personally presented by Greenberg as a special gift in 1947. The official American League (Harridge) ball features an inscription by Greenberg on the sweet spot, plus the stamped facsimile signatures of eleven members of the 1945 World Champion Tigers and the authentic black fountain-pen signatures (grading "6/7") of pitchers Tommy Bridges and Zeb Eaton. Greenberg has specially inscribed and dated the ball in black fountain pen on the sweet spot: "To Ellen - best wishes - Hank Greenberg - Feb 27, 1947." Both the inscription and signature are boldly scripted and grade "8/9." The complete history of this ball, including the reason it was inscribed by Greenberg in 1947, is fully explained in the accompanying letter from our consignor. In full: My cousin Ellen, who was 8 years old in 1947, was a big fan of baseball and specifically Hank Greenberg and his Tigers. Hank had family that lived in her building in Manhattan who were friends with Ellen's parents. When Hank was in town, Ellen got to see him and horse around with him a little. As a special present during one visit, Hank presented her with his stamped 1945 Tigers championship baseball. The ball is signed "To Ellen - best wishes Hank Greenberg Feb. 27, 1947." The stamped names on this ball are those of Greenberg, Newhouser, Trout, York, Mayo, Cullenbine, Cramer, Swift, Benton, Overmire, and one other (illegible). Even though the ball only features thirteen names (eleven stamped facsimiles and two authentic ones), the combination of names conclusively dates it to the year 1945. The distinguishing feature of this ball, of course, is Greenberg's vintage sweet-spot inscription. Hank Greenberg single-signed balls dating from the 1970s and 1980s routinely sell for $2,000 and more at auction. While technically not a Hank Greenberg single-signed ball, this example certainly can be displayed as such, especially considering the fact that most of the other signatures are stamps. The ball is moderately toned, with a few minor surface abrasions (not significantly affecting any of the signatures), and the manufacturer's stampings are extremely faint. In Very Good condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $300. Estimate $500+. SOLD FOR $529
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