Official American League (Harridge) ball signed in blue fountain pen by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Ideally, both signatures appear together on the same side panel, making the ball perfect for display. Ruth's signature is the slightly stronger of the two, grading "8," while Gehrig's grades "6/7" overall. "West Point" is printed in blue fountain pen directly below Ruth's signature (not in Ruth's hand) and the date, "6/11/34," is written across the sweet spot. A Ruth/Gehrig ball is the most desirable dual-signed ball in the hobby and examples signed on the same panel are the rare exceptions. This is only the second example we have ever offered and we can only recall having seen two others. We are not sure what circumstance occasioned the rare occurrence on this day (perhaps the date was written on the sweet spot prior to the pair signing it), but the end result is a certainly a grand slam in the eyes of autograph collectors.
In addition to being an outstanding Ruth/Gehrig ball, it is also accompanied by a unique provenance. Our consignor's grandfather and father, who was six years old at the time, attended the 1934 exhibition game between the Yankees and Army at Doubleday Field on the campus of West Point. During the course of the game they caught a foul ball and were then lucky enough to have both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig sign it afterwards. The additional notations on the ball, naturally, were placed there by our consignor's grandfather at the time. The ball has remained a treasured family keepsake until this time.
The Yankees and the Army baseball team have a long tradition of playing exhibition games on the West Point campus. The first contest took place in 1927 and, with the exception of 1929, the teams met annually through 1937. Additional games took place in 1944, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1974, 1976, and 2013. The game on June 11, 1934, from which this ball originates, was an especially memorable contest. Not only did it mark Babe Ruth's final game with the Yankees at West Point, but it also witnessed him leaving in grand style. According to published reports, Ruth hit a monstrous 500-foot home run over the right-field fence which is still the longest home run ever hit at Doubleday Field. That blast helped lead the Yankees to a 7-0 victory over the Army Cadets. The ball is moderately soiled and displays a number of abrasions consistent with its having been a game-used ball. It also appears that a piece of tape may have once been applied over the date on the sweet spot, Despite the flaws, the manufacturer's stampings remain legible, and the signatures are not significantly affected. In Good condition overall. Full LOA from James Spence/JSA. Full LOA from Steve Grade and Brian Sobrero/Beckett Authentication. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open).
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