Chick Hafey Single-Signed Ball

Sold For: $5,875

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1078

Item Year: 1954

Category: Autographed Baseballs/Flats/Photos

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MacGregor "Ridgewood Sports Shop" baseball signed by Hall of Fame outfielder Chick Hafey. Hafey has signed the ball "Charles 'Chick' Hafey," in blue ink (grading "8") across the sweet spot (his first name occupies most of the adjacent side panel). The year, "1954" is written in black ink below Hafey's signature. Chick Hafey single-signed balls are exceedingly rare and this is the first we have ever offered. The extreme rarity of Hafey single-signed balls is related to the fact that Hafey was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971 just two years prior to his death; therefore, Hall of Fame autograph collectors had just a small two-year window to obtain his signature on a ball. In addition, at the time of Hafey's induction, autographs in general, and single-signed balls in particular, were not yet high-priced commodities in the hobby and so were not as hotly pursued as they are today. Hafey was one of the top hitters of his era. In thirteen seasons, between the years 1924 and 1937 (he sat out the 1935 and 1936 seasons, but attempted a comeback in 1937), Hafey batted over .300 on nine separate occasions and retired with a .317 lifetime average. In 1931 he enjoyed what was perhaps his finest overall season by posting a league-leading .349 average with 16 home runs and 95 RBI in leading the Cardinals to their first World Championship of the decade. Hafey also holds the distinction of making the first hit in the inaugural All-Star Game in 1933. While it is impossible to state with certainty how many Chick Hafey single-signed balls exist, we would imagine that the number is quite small, as we cannot recall having seen many others. The ball displays very light toning and a circular area of light discoloration on a side panel (not affecting the signature) that is probably the result of the ball's method of storage or display over the past many years. In Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $5,875

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