Circa 1923 New York Yankees Team-Signed Ball with Babe Ruth and Miller Huggins

Sold For: $1,880

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1726

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This ball, which dates to either the 1923 or 1924 season, holds the distinction of being one of the earliest New York Yankees team-signed balls we have ever offered. Ideally the rare, early style Ruth signature is relatively strong; most other signatures are either very light or in some cases have completely faded beyond legibility. The red-and-blue stitched official American League ball (some of the manufacturer's stampings, including Ban Johnson's facsimile signature, have faded but enough remain to easily identify it as an OAL ball) features the blue fountain pen signatures of eleven team members, including Babe Ruth (sweet spot, grading "3/4"), Miller Huggins ("2"), Herb Pennock ("1"), Joe Bush ("2/3"), Whitey Witt ("1"), Mike McNally ("3/4"), Benny Bengough ("2/3"), and Aaron Ward ("1"). The remaining three signatures, of which only vestiges remain, have faded beyond legibility. Based upon the signatures present here, this ball can be definitively dated to either the 1923 or 1924 season. The Yankees captured their first World Championship in franchise history in 1923, making this, potentially, one of the most significant New York Yankees team-signed balls extant. Although only ten signatures remain visible, it seems almost certain that the ball originally contained many more and was a traditional team-signed ball. Team-signed balls from the early 1920s are extremely scarce and rarely seen at auction, especially those from significant clubs. This extremely rare Yankees team ball example has been in our consignor's family since the early 1920s and is therefore new to the hobby. The ball, which is toned, has been coated with a heavy layer of protective shellac (standard practice during that era) and displays a number of minor chips and/or abrasions. In Good to Very Good condition overall. This is an extremely early New York Yankees team-signed baseball, with a very attractive Ruth sweet-spot signature (making it ideal for display) dating from the dawn of baseball's greatest dynasty. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$1,500. SOLD FOR $1,880

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