1973 Mike Schmidt Signed Home Run Ball - First Career Grand Slam!

Sold For: $4,406

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1303

Item Year: 1973

Category: Post-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Baseball hit by Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt for his first career grand slam on June 19, 1973 in a game against the New York Mets at Veteran's Stadium in Philadelphia. This ball has been consigned directly from the Phillies' longtime former photographer, who retrieved the ball on that day and then had the foresight to have Schmidt sign it. The official National League (Feeney) ball was then decorated by our consignor in red, blue, and black ink on two side panels to commemorate the historic event. The first panel reads "First Major League Grand Slam Home Run in 4 Inning on a 1-1 Pitch" and has been signed by Schmidt in black ink (grading "6"). The opposite panel features the score of the game and the date, "Phillies 6 - N.Y. Mets 1 - June 19, 1973," and has been signed in black ink ("6") by Phillies pitcher Ken Brett. The name "Lonborg" appears in faded black ink (barely visible) on a separate side panel. (Pitcher Jim Lonborg was on the Phillies in 1973 and it's possible that this is a portion of his signature; his first name is not discernible.) Schmidt, who was twenty-three years old at the time, was playing in his first full season with the Phillies in 1973. His fourth inning blast off of Mets pitcher Harry Parker was not only his first career grand slam, but just the sixth home run of his career. Schmidt struggled at the plate during his 1973 rookie season, finishing the year with 18 home runs, 52 RBI, and a .196 batting average. The Phillies, however, saw Schmidt as a "diamond in the rough" and had him spend his off season by playing winter ball in Puerto Rico. The hard work paid off. The following season Schmidt blossomed into one of the game's premier sluggers as he led the National League in home runs (36) for the first of three consecutive seasons. Considered by many to be the greatest all-around third baseman in baseball history, Schmidt finished his career in 1989 with 548 home runs and 1,595 RBI. In addition to his power numbers, Schmidt's Hall of Fame resume included eleven Gold Glove Awards, three MVP Awards, and eleven All-Star Game selections. In 1999 he received his highest honor when he was named to Baseball's All-Century Team. The ball displays moderate surface wear, consistent with its former game use, and is otherwise in Excellent condition overall. This is both a significant and early Mike Schmidt home run ball dating from his 1973 rookie season. Accompanied by an LOA from the longtime Phillies photographer. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $300. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,406

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