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1911 "Addie Joss Day" Signed Game Baseball with Joe Jackson
Starting Bid - $10,000.00, Sold For - $18,400.00
Offered is the actual game ball used during the historic Addie Joss Benefit Game held on July 24, 1911. The ball has been signed by approximately 19 players on two side panels, while the other two side panels are decorated with period notations relating to the game. One side panel reads "Game Ball - Cleveland Naps 3 - Joss All-Star 5," a second panel bears the notations "Benefit - All-Stars vs. Cleveland A.L. - Addie Joss Day 7-24-11," all in black ink. Legible signatures, also in black ink, include Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb (sweet spot), Nap Lajoie (sweet spot), Cy Young (signed Denton Young), Eddie Collins, Sam Crawford, Frank Baker, and Walter Johnson. Joe Jackson's signature, of course, is legendary for its great rarity. It is the key signature of the era, and one of the rarest and most desirable of all baseball autographs. The fact that Jackson has signed this ball makes it one of the very few baseballs known to exist which bear his signature. The fact that this ball is also signed by many of the other greatest stars of the era, and is a game ball from one of the most celebrated contests of the era, all contribute to making this one of the most important and historically significant signed baseballs in the collecting world. The ball originates from the estate of a prominent Cleveland newspaper reporter who was a close personal friend of the Joss family. It is one of only two baseballs in existence (both were saved together) from Addie Joss Day. This is by far the more desirable of the two. Both balls were signed by participants of the game; however, the other example has fewer signatures and does not include Joe Jackson's signature. This ball was originally accompanied by many other Joss Day related materials, all given by Mrs. Joss, including the Addie Joss Day Cup which was presented to Mrs. Joss at the game, which years ago was sold by Robert Edward Auctions and now permanently resides on display in Cooperstown. The Joss Benefit Game was one of the most famous events of the dead ball era. The game was held to raise money for the Addie Joss family, and to pay tribute to great Cleveland pitcher, who unexpectedly died in his prime on April 14th of that year, as a result of severe complications relating to meningitis. All regular season games were cancelled to accommodate the scheduling of this historic benefit game, which would match the Cleveland Americans against a team comprised of the greatest All Stars of the American League, including such luminaries as Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Sam Crawford, Frank Baker, and Tris Speaker. Jackson's signature is legendary for its great rarity, especially on baseball-related items. Joe Jackson could not read or write, and would go out of his way to avoid signing his name, which he painstakingly learned to do. He only signed when it was absolutely necessary, as the process was very tedious and, due to the difficulty he had in signing, somewhat embarrassing for him. That is why his signature today, when it can be found, is almost always seen only on legal or official documents. This ball, however, represents a rare instance in which Jackson could not avoid signing. Jackson was in his rookie season with Cleveland in 1911, and it is easy to understand that it would have been very inappropriate for him to refuse to sign this important ball, in memory of his deceased teammate, especially with all the other great stars willingly adding their names to it. His signature appears at the top of one side panel, directly below the sweet spot normally bearing the ball label. Though his signature is somewhat faded ("2"), it is unmistakably that of Joe Jackson, and is one of the earliest of the few known examples of his famous and rare signature. The balance of the mentioned signatures, while worn (averaging "3"), are also all readily legible. Unfortunately, however, most of the signatures are to some degree affected by the condition of the ball which was, as noted by the period notations, an actual game ball used during the contest. The ball is darkly toned with no remnants of the ball manufacturer's label visible. There are also numerous abrasions present, some of which may have occurred after the signing of the ball, as a few notations and names are affected by them. A mounting hole from a long-ago display is evident on the sweet spot normally bearing the ball label. This is a phenomenal and most historic signed baseball, from the game's most famous and celebrated "All-Star" events. Overall Good condition. LOAs from Mike Gutierrez/GAI and James Spence & Steve Grad/PSA DNA. Reserve $10,000. Estimate $15,000/$20,000. SOLD FOR $18,400.00
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