Roger Maris 61st Home Run Baseball Photo - From Sam Gordon's Restaurant

Sold For: $0

Auction Year: 2012 spring

Lot: 1106

Item Year: 1961

Category: Post-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Original large-format color photo display (15.75 x 19 inches) of restauranteur Sam Gordon presenting Roger Maris with the ball that he hit for his record-breaking 61st home run in 1961. This color photo, which was produced specifically for public display, is complete with its original matting, and once hung in Sam Gordon's restaurant in Sacramento, California, which is where the photo was taken. The printed text on the affixed banner along the base reads: "Presentation by Sam Gordon at Sam's Original Ranch Wagon, 19th and Broadway, Sacramento, California, to Roger Maris for his record breaking 61st home run ball hit at Yankee Stadium October 1st 1961." Gordon later inscribed the piece in blue ink (grading "10") along the left side of the matting "To My Pal 'Mac'/Good Luck/Sam Gordon." Prior to Maris hitting his 61st home run, Sam Gordon made a public offer of $5,000 for the ball used to record that historic event. The lucky individual who caught Maris' 61st-home run ball turned out to be Sal Durante, who was one of 23,831 fans in attendance at Yankee Stadium on October 1st. Afterwards, Durante was escorted into the locker room to meet Maris. When Durante offered to give Maris the ball, Maris, who knew about Gordon's offer, refused and said to him, "No, you keep it, make yourself some money." Sometime afterwards, Gordon, taking full advantage of the publicity being generated, invited Maris, Durante, and Durante's wife to his restaurant in Sacramento to complete the transaction. With great ceremony, Gordon handed Durante a check for $5,000 and took possession of the ball. Then, in a magnanimous gesture, Gordon turned and presented the ball to Maris, with that scene recorded for all posterity in the photo offered here. We know that this photo actually hung in Gordon's restaurant because we have seen its companion piece, which pictures Gordon presenting Sal Durante and his wife with a check for $5,000 as Maris looks on. That other photo is matted in the same exact manner, has the same wooden frame, and is complete with similar printed text along the base describing the scene. The photo, which is mounted onto a cardboard backing, displays a scratch on Gordon's image and moderate foxing. The right side of the matting, as well as the base, display evidence of water staining, with the heaviest amount seen along the bottom (affecting some of the text). The original wooden frame no longer surrounds the matting, but does accompany the piece. In Very Good condition overall. This is an impressive display piece with a remarkable direct connection to the legend of Roger Maris' 61st Home Run. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $0

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