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Bob Cain and Bob Swift Signed Baseballs - Battery Mates During Eddie Gaedel's Major League At Bat
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $3,480.00
Although pitcher Bob Cain and catcher Bob Swift enjoyed fine Major League careers, their names today would be largely forgotten had they not been battery mates for the Tigers on August 19, 1951. It was on that memorable day that midget Eddie Gaedel made his historic Major League at bat for the St. Louis Browns at Sportsman's Park. Offered are two baseballs signed, respectively, by Bob Cain and Bob Swift. The Cain ball is particularly attractive and fascinating, as it features a long narrative text printed by Cain as well as the signature of Jim Delsing, who pinch ran for Gaedel after he walked on four pitches. The official American League (Brown) ball has been signed by Cain in blue ink ("10") on a side panel. Below his signature (extending down across the sweet spot and into the opposite sweet spot) Cain has beautifully printed a narrative of Gaedel's at bat: "As you may know Eddie Gaedel stepped out of a big birthday cake wearing a Brownie uniform #1/8. We all thought it was a big joke until the umpire asked for his contract which the Browns manager produced. When he was announced to bat, our catcher layed [sic] on the ground to give me a low target, the umpire made him get into his usual squat position and yelled play ball. I walked him on four pitches high. Bill Veeck was on the roof of the stadium and said he would have shot Eddie if he had swung. Midgets were barred from baseball the next day. We won the game 6-2. At the time I was pitching for the Detroit Tigers." Another side panel bears the blue ink signature of Jim Delsing ("10"), who has added the printed notation "After Little Eddie walked, our manager, Zack Taylor had me pinch run for Eddie." On the fourth side panel, Cain has neatly printed the names of all the key individuals from that historic day: "Pitcher: Bob Cain; Catcher: Bob Swift; Umpire: Ed Hurley; Midget: Eddie Gaedel; August 19, 1951." The ball is in Mint condition. Cain decorated exactly twelve balls in this special manner as works of folk art for his "memorabilia agent" during the five years before his passing, eight of which were then signed by Delsing. His agent recalls that Cain told him he did about ten others over the years, so he created a total of approximately twenty-five of these historical-record folk art balls in total. Each ball took Cain over an hour and, because of this, he did not like to do them. The second ball, a generic "Spalding" brand ball (no other manufacturer's labels visible) has been signed by Bob Swift in blue ink across the sweet spot ("7"). Swift's name, as well as a brief blue ink notation (partially illegible) and the date "2/27/65," are printed on a side panel. Swift died prematurely in 1966 and today his signature alone on a baseball is extremely rare. The ball is moderately toned and has been coated with a heavy but even coat of protective shellac. Excellent condition. Total 2 baseballs. LOAs from James Spence/JSA and Steve Grad, Mike Gutierrez & Zach Rullo/PSA DNA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$1,500. SOLD FOR $3,480.00
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