Fall, 2019 Premier Auction - Closes November 30
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/1/2019

Exceptional Spalding official National League (Heydler) baseball, containing 14 signatures, the majority of which are associated with the 1924 World Champion Washington Senators.  The ball contains the signatures of arguably the two greatest pitchers of all-time: Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson, two of the hobby's greats, and two of the most desirable signatures in all of autograph collecting.  The remaining signatures are also important or difficult ones: Roger Peckinpaugh, George Mogridge, Nemo Leibold, John "Joe" Martina, Urban Shocker, George Sisler (HOF), Bucky Harris (HOF), Earl McNeely, Eddie Collins (HOF), Curley Ogden, Muddy Ruel, and one unidentified (though the last name appears to be "Murray").

It is the presence of John "Oyster Joe" Martina's signature on the ball that likely enables us to date the ball; Martina pitched just one season in the big leauges, going 6-8 with a 4.67 ERA in 24 games for the champs and pitching a scoreless 7th inning in Game 3 of the World Series, facing three eventual Hall of Famers - Highpockets Kelly, Bill Terry and Hack Wilson - and retiring the side in order.  Of the remaining non-Senators on the ball, two - George Sisler and Urban Shocker - played with the Browns that season (Shocker playing 1925 with the Yankees), one - Eddie Collins - played with the White Sox, and one - Christy Mathewson - was running the Boston Braves, just one year before his passing.  

While the provenance of the baseball prior to the late 1980s is unknown, it seems logical that all the signatures were obtained during Spring training of 1925.  Four of the five teams represented on the baseball trained in Florida - the Senators in Tampa, the Boston Braves and New York Yankees in nearby St. Petersburg,  and the St. Louis Browns beginning their first spring training in Tarpon Springs.  Joe Martina was released by Washington on April 10; he returned home to New Orleans where he continued a lengthy minor-league career where he would win 349 games.  On March 14 in Tampa, the largest-ever audience for a baseball game in Tampa Bay witnessed the first game of Spring Training between the Senators and the Boston Braves; Judge Landis attended the game and presented the Senators with gold medals for their championship win.  Peckinpaugh, McNeely, Ruel, Mogridge, Ogden, Martina, Liebold, Johnson, and Harris received medals that day; Mathewson was present in the owner's box with Senators' owner Clark Griffith.  The Tampa Tribune on March 15 also reported "other prominent figures both in society and sports" were in attendance at the game.  The following night, Sisler and Mathewson attended a dinner with Judge Landis in St. Petersburg.  In fact, all the signatories on the baseball wiith the exception of Eddie Collins were present in the Tampa/St. Pete area that weekend.  Within a few weeks, Martina was in New Orleans, and Mathewson had returned to his home in Saranac, New York, to nurse the illness to which he would finally succumb that fall.  

The ball was consigned by a noncollector who occasionally visits antique shops and thrift stores; this was a once-in-a-lifetime find that occurred in the 1980s, exactly the kind of thing we collectors dream about!  The consignor kept the ball in her possession for decades, and eventually contacted us regarding its possible sale.  While on vacation in Southern California this winter, she attended a card show and submitted the baseball to PSA for authentication, and ultimately decided that the ball would be better appreciated in the hands of a baseball hobbyist.  

The baseball clearly exhibits wear, including many surface abrasions and some toning.  The signatures of the three key players - Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson and Eddie Collins - are clearly identifiable and largely legible, with the signatures of Peckinpaugh, Mogridge, Martina and "Murray" the most faded and difficult to identify.  Regardless of the wear, baseballs signed by Johnson or Mathewson are extremely difficult to find, and highly coveted in the hobby.  Baseballs bearing even the most faded Mathewson signatures are extremely rare and valuable.  This example is particularly significant, containing the signatures of two of the Hall of Fame's inaugural class, likely dating to the spring of 1925, just before Mathewson's final departure from the game.  An exceptional baseball.  Full LOA from PSA/DNA. 

1920s Multi-Signed Baseball w/Christy Mathewson & Walter Johnson (HOF) - PSA/DNA1920s Multi-Signed Baseball w/Christy Mathewson & Walter Johnson (HOF) - PSA/DNA1920s Multi-Signed Baseball w/Christy Mathewson & Walter Johnson (HOF) - PSA/DNA1920s Multi-Signed Baseball w/Christy Mathewson & Walter Johnson (HOF) - PSA/DNA1920s Multi-Signed Baseball w/Christy Mathewson & Walter Johnson (HOF) - PSA/DNA1920s Multi-Signed Baseball w/Christy Mathewson & Walter Johnson (HOF) - PSA/DNA
1920s Multi-Signed Baseball w/Christy Mathewson & Walter Johnson (HOF) - PSA/DNA
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Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $3,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $14,760
Number Bids: 16
Auction closed on Sunday, December 1, 2019.
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