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1978 Tom Seaver Game-Used "No-Hitter" Ball with Ironclad Provenance
Starting Bid - $400, Sold For - $3,555
On June 16, 1978, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tom Seaver made baseball history when he no-hit the St. Louis Cardinals by a score of 4-0 at Riverfront Stadium. For Seaver it was truly a memorable achievement, as it marked the first and only no-hit game of his illustrious career. Offered here is a rare game-used ball from that historic contest that originates directly from the Cincinnati Reds gift shop. The official National League (Feeney) ball displays the black marker notation "0 - 6/16/78" on a side panel. The ball displays moderate-to-heavy soiling, including dirt embedded between the seams, that is consistent with its game use. The provenance accompanying this ball is particularly noteworthy and cannot be overstated. In recent years, a large number of game-used baseballs from important games have been found to be fraudulent. Even more shocking was the revelation that former Major League umpires, who provided the LOAs for many of those balls, were the main culprits behind the scams. For that reason, many collectors today are wary about purchasing such balls. While there is always going to be a leap of faith when it comes to any game-used item, be it a bat, jersey, glove, hat, or ball, we feel that this ball's provenance is beyond reproach. This ball was originally purchased from the Reds "580 Gifts/News" shop and is accompanied by the original COA that reads "This certificate authenticates that the enclosed baseball is an official National League baseball which was actually used in the Cincinnati Reds victory at Riverfront Stadium on the date indicated below. Furthermore, this baseball is one of only twelve being made available to collectors." Below the text, is the typewritten date "6-16-78," the score "Reds 4 Cardinals 0," and the specific event "Seaver No Hitter." It is well established that the Cincinnati Reds management sold actual game-used equipment in its gift shop during the 1970s and 1980s, and the Reds store is the original source for many of the Cincinnati Reds game-used jerseys and bats from that era circulating in the hobby today. This is the second Tom Seaver game-used no-hitter ball, with an accompanying COA issued by the Reds gift shop, that we have handled. Interestingly, the first example we handled was accompanied by a copy of the September 1978 issue of The Trader Speaks (the leading trade paper in the hobby at the time) which specifically documented these gift shop no-hitter balls. In that issue, on page 16, a half-page ad by M. Friedman Specialties boldly announced the sale of the following: "Tom Seaver's No Hitter Game Balls - From June 18, 1978 4 to 0 victory over Cardinals - Date of game and large 0 on ball - certificate of authenticity included - $10 (limited supply)." The discovery of that issue of The Trader Speaks was a remarkable find and one that fully supports the provenance of these Tom Seaver no-hitter game balls accompanied by Reds gift shop COAs. It was only quite recently, within the past ten years, that game-used baseballs from important games became "big ticket" items. Obviously, no one was faking these balls in 1978, especially when the top retail price was $10. Given the information we have on this ball, we are certain that this is one of the few game-used baseballs circulating in the hobby today that is exactly what it is purported to be: a ball used during the game on June 16, 1978, at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium in which Tom Seaver no-hit the St. Louis Cardinals. Reserve $400. Estimate $800/$1,200. SOLD FOR $3,555
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