1933 American League All-Star Team-Signed Ball - Complete with All Eighteen Players Including Ruth and Gehrig
Starting Bid - $5,000.00, Sold For - $32,587.50
This extraordinary ball features the signatures of all eighteen members of the 1933 American League All-Star team, plus manager Connie Mack and two coaches, making it one of only three complete examples we have ever seen, let alone offered. Very few 1933 All-Star balls are known to exist, and one featuring every single member of the American League club is rarer still. As such, they have always been highly prized by collectors. We have seen only two other 1933 American League All-Star team signed ball that featured all eighteen players. However, one of those balls did not include manager Connie Mack or any of the coaches. The offered ball does, making it a true rarity within the field of team-signed balls. The 1933 All-Star Game was the brainchild of Arch Ward, sports editor of the Chicago Tribune, who thought that a game matching the best players from each league would serve as one of the highlights to the city's summer-long Century of Progress Exposition. He was right, of course, and the game proved so popular that it became one of baseball's most important annual traditions. This official red-and-blue stitched American League ball dates to that inaugural 1933 midsummer classic and has been signed in black fountain pen by the following twenty-one members of the American League team: Babe Ruth ("8"), Lou Gehrig ("8/9"), Connie Mack (Mgr., sweet spot), Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove, Bill Dickey, Lefty Gomez, Charlie Gehringer, Tony Lazzeri, Rick Ferrell (sweet spot), Joe Cronin, Earl Averill, Al Simmons, Art Fletcher (coach), Ben Chapman, Sam West, Wes Ferrell (on the ball label), General Crowder (sweet spot), Oral Hildebrand, Jimmie Dykes, and Eddie Rommel (coach). Signatures range from "5" to "10," averaging "7/8." It should be noted that the two official American League coaches for the 1933 All-Star Game were Eddie Collins and Art Fletcher, but Eddie Rommel, who played for Mack and was a coach on his staff that year, was obviously there as a coach as well, as we have seen his signature on many other 1933 American League All-Star team-signed balls. Therefore, coach Eddie Collins' signature is the only one missing from this ball, so based on our research, we believe it to be one of just two complete examples known (the other example we have seen featured the exact same twenty-one signatures that are on this ball). The American League defeated its National League rivals in the first All-Star Game, by a score of 4-2, with Ruth, fittingly, hitting the first home run in the game's storied history. The ball has been coated with a heavy layer of protective shellac, which has resulted in the ball's darkened appearance, but it does not affect the overall high-grade quality of the signatures, all of which remain clearly legible. There is a slight indentation that affects the Cronin signature. Large portions of the manufacturer's label are no longer visible, but enough remain to positively identify it as an official American League ball. (The red-and-blue stitching date it prior to 1934; the league president's facsimile signature is no longer visible.) This is an outstanding ball in all respects, and except for the shellac, one that compares more than favorably to the near-complete example we offered in our May 2012 auction (Lot 13; final sale price of $38,513). LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open).
SOLD FOR $32,587.50