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Circa 1956/1957 Pittsburgh Pirates Team-Signed Ball with Clemente
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $1,778
Official National League (Giles) ball signed in blue ink by eight players who were members of the Pittsburgh Pirates in both 1956 and 1957, plus Ernie Banks. While this ball barely qualifies as a team-signed ball due to the somewhat modest number of total signatures, it is especially notable for the fact that it features an outstanding Roberto Clemente signature (grading "8/9") alone on a side panel. In that regard it could easily display as a Clemente single if so desired. It also represents an extremely early Clemente signature, dating only one or two years after his 1955 major league debut. The remaining signatures on the ball are those of Bragan (Mgr., sweet spot), Kline, Long, Groat, Virdon, Walls, Friend, and Ernie Banks, who was a member of the Cubs at the time. All of the Pirate players featured on this ball were on the team's official roster in both 1956 and 1957. However, since Bragan was fired in midseason of 1957, and both Long and Walls were traded (together) to the Cubs on May 1, 1957, the odds are much greater that it was signed in 1956. All of the signatures grade "8" or "9" with the exception of both Banks and Virdon (minor fading; grading "5" and "6," respectively). The ball displays light soiling and a few minor abrasions. The manufacturer's labels are light, but legible. In Very Good to Excellent condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $1,778
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