1947 St. Louis Browns Team-Signed Ball with Dizzy Dean!

Sold For: $1,058

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1062

Item Year: 1947

Category: Autographed Baseballs/Flats/Photos

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This 1947 St. Louis Browns team-signed ball is both rare and significant because it includes the signature of Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean. Dean only played one game with the Browns in 1947, and the circumstances precipitating his return to the mound were directly related to his legendary reputation as a braggadocio. Dean officially retired from baseball in 1941, at which time he began his second career as a sportscaster for both the St. Louis Cardinals and Browns. During the 1947 season Dean was often highly critical of the Browns' pitching staff. Late in the season, after witnessing another poor pitching performance by a Browns' hurler, Dean exclaimed on air, "Doggone it, I can pitch better than nine out of the ten guys on this staff!" That comment was not well received by the wives of the Browns' pitching staff, who later complained to the team's front office. Cognizant of the publicity Dean's return to the mound could generate, the Browns offered Dean the chance to "put his money where his mouth is." Dean, who was once quoted as saying "it ain't bragging if you can do it," took the Browns up on their offer. On September 28, 1947, Dean, at the age of thirty-six, took the mound for the final time in his career. Starting for the Browns in the team's last game of the season against the White Sox, Dean pitched four scoreless innings (he was not involved in the decision) and also singled in his only at bat. Unfortunately, he pulled his hamstring rounding first base after his hit, which was the reason for his removal from the game. Upon returning to the broadcast booth for the final innings, he told his listeners, "I said I can pitch better than nine of the ten guys on the staff, and I can. But I'm done. Talking's my game now, and I'm just glad that muscle I pulled wasn't in my throat." It was a fitting ending to one of the most colorful careers in baseball history. This Official American League (Harridge) ball has been signed in blue or black ink by twenty-eight members of the 1947 Browns, including Dizzy Dean. Dean's signature is situated on a side panel and grades "8." Included among the remaining signatures on the ball are those of Earl Combs (coach), Dillinger, Zoldak, Stephens, Moss, Lehner, Moulder (sweet spot), Berardino (sweet spot), Kinder, Zarillo, Judnich, Brown, and Kramer (on ball label). Signatures range from "7" to "9," averaging "8." It is not known how many 1947 St. Louis Browns team-signed balls featuring Dean's signature exist today, but this is the first example we have ever seen. Dean's inclusion on this ball is most likely related to its special provenance. This ball originates from the personal collection of Bob Bauman, who was a longtime Major League trainer with both the St. Louis Browns (1937-1953) and St. Louis Cardinals (1954-1988), and has been consigned to this auction directly by his son. (A total of eighty-four team-signed baseballs from the Bauman Collection, offered in twelve separate lots, are featured in this current auction.) The shade of ink used by Dean is different than that of the other signers on the ball, indicating that Bauman probably had Dean sign the team ball shortly after his "comeback," thereby creating a unique and desirable team-signed baseball commemorating Dean's final season in the Majors. The manufacturer's labels are slightly faded; otherwise the ball is in Excellent to Mint condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $100. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,058

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