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1962 New York Mets Team-Signed Baseball -Inaugural Season
Starting Bid - $500.00 , Sold For - $1,292.50
The value and desirability of a team-signed ball is normally predicated on the success of team and the number of significant players' signatures present on the ball. This ball, however, is the exact opposite to that rule and is valued by collectors for the sheer ineptitude of the club. Offered here is ball signed by the 1962 New York Mets, the worst team in baseball history. Adding to the appeal of this ball is the fact that it comes with a letter from the team, on official Mets stationery, as well as its original mailing box bearing the Mets shipping label. The “Official League” ball has been signed in either blue or black ink by the following twenty-seven members of the club: Stengel (clubhouse signature, sweet spot), Hodges, Ashburn, Taylor, Woodling, Kanehl, Mantilla, Thomas, Daviault, Jackson, Moorhead, Kress (coach), Cannizzaro, Hickman, Anderson, Coleman, Hemus (coach), Hook, MacKenzie, Hunter, Neal, Chacon (sweet spot), Herrscher, Miller, Miller (there were two Bob Millers on the club), Pignatano, and Throneberry. Signatures range from “5” to “9,” averaging “6/7.” The accompanying letter, dated August 23, 1962, and typed on official “New York National League Baseball Club” stationery, is addressed to “Master Stephen Bush” and reads “Dear Stephen: Under separate cover we are returning the ball you sent to Mr. Stengel which has been autographed by the entire team. Sincerely yours Matt Burns [signed].” The original mailing envelope, postmarked the same day, accompanies the letter. The original mailing box for the ball, which is actually the box for an official National League ball, bears a mailing label displaying the team’s name and the return address of “Polo Grounds, New York.” While we don’t know who Stephen Bush is, he must have been a die-hard fan. On the day this ball was mailed to him the Mets were defeated at home by the Giants by a score of 2-1. That loss put the Mets record at 32-96 as they fell fifty-one games behind the first place Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mets went on to lose a record 120 games, setting a single-season record of ineptitude that remains to this day. There is something very amusing about even seeing this ball, and the accompanying evidence of request for signing, which has been so graciously honored in the middle of the lowliest days of the most unsuccessful season ever played by any team ever in the history of the game. This is an outstanding collection of items from the Mets’ historic inaugural season that would be perfect for display together. The ball remains in Near Mint condition. The letter (8.5 x 11 inches) displays normal mailing folds and a tack hole at the top (Ex). The mailing envelope is in Very Good condition, while the box (3 x 3 x 3 inches) is in Good to Very Good condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$1,500. SOLD FOR $1,292.50
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