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1912 Detroit Tigers Team-Signed Ball with Cobb and Crawford
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $2,014.50
Official American League (Johnson) ball signed in blue and black fountain pen by members of the 1912 Detroit Tigers. As most collectors are aware, team-signed balls dating from the dead-ball era are exceedingly rare, almost to the point of being nonexistent. The fact that this relic has survived, and that two of the few legible signatures on the ball are those of Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford, makes this a particularly rare and desirable early signed ball. Because of the age of the ball, few signatures remain discernible, let alone legible. The signatures that we can make out belong to Ty Cobb (just to the left of the sweet spot, grading "2"), Sam Crawford (side panel, below Ban Johnson's stamped facsimile signature, "2"), George Moriarty, Brad Kocher, Ralph Works (last name only), Bill Louden, and Harry Moran. Amazingly, the ball can be conclusively dated to 1912 just by those few signatures! All of the signatures grade "1" or "2." The date "1912" can be seen on one of the side panels in vintage blue ink. A later notation, boldly written on another side panel, reads "Detroit Team 1912." This is certainly the oldest Tigers team-signed ball we have ever seen and we cannot recall the last time we saw a team-signed ball that precedes it. Cobb batted over .400 for the second consecutive year in 1912, finishing the season at .409. That mark easily netted him his fifth batting title in six years. Cobb went on to win a record eleven batting titles during his career. Crawford did his part in 1912 as well, finishing the year with a .325 average and a team-leading 109 RBI. Cobb and Crawford were one of the most feared batting duos of the early 1900s and it is amazing to find a ball signed by each dating from their active playing careers. The ball is moderately toned and displays a number of surface abrasions and blemishes. All of the manufacturer's stampings remain bright and are easily legible. In Very Good condition overall. This is an extremely early and important team-signed ball, the significance of which easily outweighs its obvious shortcomings. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $2,014.50
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