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Lot # 1223 (of 1743)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1904 Christy Mathewson Game-Used Baseball - Record-Setting Sixteen Strikeouts!

Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $44,063

On October 3, 1904, Christy Mathewson made baseball history by striking out a then-record sixteen batters in a 3-1 victory over St. Louis at the Polo Grounds in New York. Offered here is an extraordinary and long-treasured family heirloom that is a magnificently decorated baseball used by Mathewson in that historic contest. All of the pertinent details regarding the game have been beautifully transcribed in black paint (with many of the letters artistically outlined in red) on a side panel: "Oct. 3rd 1904/Mathewson Beat The/Record of Rube Waddell today/by striking out/16 Men/Ball Used/Score/New York........3/St. Louis........1." Accompanying the ball is a notarized letter from the consignor in which he details its history: "To Whom It May Concern: The original owner of the 1904 Christy Mathewson game-used baseball was John Massie. He was my great uncle and lived in the Detroit area in the early 1900s. He was an avid baseball fan. He and my great aunt did not have any children. After Uncle John passed away, Aunt Ida moved to Brown City, Michigan. My parents, William and Marjorie Campbell, inherited the ball in the late 1940's after her death. I was born in Brown City in 1936 and I remember seeing the ball as a young boy. I inherited the baseball in 1993 when my mother, Marjorie Campbell passed away." The game on October 3, 1904, marked Mathewson's final start of the season, and he certainly saved the best for last. Unfortunately, it was one of the best games never seen. The Giants had clinched the pennant almost two weeks earlier and with just four games remaining, only 300 fans attended the game that day. Mathewson certainly gave them their money's worth, as his sixteen strikeouts broke the nine-inning record then concurrently held by Rube Waddell and Fred Glade. The win, which came at the expense of another future Hall of Famer, Kid Nichols, was Mathewson's thirty-third of the season and the ninety-seventh of his career. This ball has been in our consignor's family since 1904 and was obviously treasured by his great uncle, who took the time and effort to have it so meticulously inscribed for all posterity. Although the ball held great sentimental value for the various family caretakers over the years, they had no idea that it held any monetary value until a collector friend saw it one day and conveyed to them its historical significance. The family has decided that it is now finally time to part with the ball and it is their hope that someone with a deep appreciation for the game will carry the torch and preserve this relic for future generations of baseball fans. While balls such as this always require a leap of faith, there is little doubt in our minds that this piece is exactly what it is purported to be: a game-used baseball from Christy Mathewson's then-record sixteen-strikeout performance on October 3, 1904. The ball is heavily soiled and toned, with a number of minor abrasions, that have obscured all of the ball's manufacturing labels. Aside from one small abrasion on the annotated panel, all of the painted writing remains bold and legible. In Very Good condition overall. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $44,063


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