Warren Giles Single-Signed Ball

Sold For: $823

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1094

Item Year: 1965

Category: Autographed Baseballs/Flats/Photos

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Official American League (Cronin) ball signed by former National League president and Hall of Fame executive Warren Giles. Giles has signed the ball in black ink on a side panel, with the signature grading a strong "7." Not surprisingly, Warren Giles single-signed balls are exceedingly rare. The reason is twofold: first, since he was an executive (as opposed to a player), collectors did not actively seek his signature on a ball, and few fans (young or old) had occasion to seek out Mr. Giles to request that he sign anything for them, let alone a baseball. If they had, he would have likely been very flattered. But it just didn't happen very often. Being an executive is like that. Being asked to sign autographs is largely an honor reserved for ballplayers in the baseball world. The second factor was timing: Giles passed away in February 1979, and was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame later that same year, on August 5th. Therefore, Hall of Fame autograph collectors had less than a month (from the time of the announcement of his election to the Hall of Fame in January 1979, until his death on February 7th) to acquire his signature. Given both his age (82) and his poor health at the time, it seems reasonable to assume that Giles signed few items during that brief period. Giles began his Major League front-office career as General Manager of the Cincinnati Reds in 1937. Highly respected by his peers, he was first nominated for the post of Baseball Commissioner in 1951, but eventually removed his name from the running, allowing for the election of Ford Frick to the post. The following year he succeeded Frick as president of the National League, a position he held through 1969. Throughout his long Major League career, the one phrase Warren Giles rarely heard from anyone holding an unsigned baseball was "Mr. Giles, would you please sign this ball for me?" It is very easy to see why his signature is one of the most underrated of all Hall of Famers in terms of rarity on a single-signed ball. This outstanding example, in fact, is the first single-signed Giles example that we can recall ever offering. Based upon the manufacturer's stamps, this ball was produced between the years 1960 and 1973; therefore there is a good chance it was signed during his tenure as National League President. The ball displays a few very tiny surface abrasions and a tiny spot of age toning (none of which affect the signature panel). The number "196" (meaning unknown) is written in vintage black ink within the Reach logo. In Excellent to Mint condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $823

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