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1966 New York Mets Team-Signed Ball - Only Three Weeks On The Team in 1966- The Earliest Nolan Ryan Team-Signed Baseball!
Starting Bid - $200.00 , Sold For - $1,057.50
Although most fans are well aware that 1968 represented Nolan Ryan’s rookie season with the Mets, few would be able to remember when he made his Major League debut. That historic event occurred two years earlier, on September 11, 1966, in a game against the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium. Ryan, just nineteen years old, pitched two innings in relief and, foreshadowing things to come, struck out three batters. Ryan was only with the Mets for the final three weeks of the 1966 season, but that was just enough time for him to add his signature to this 1966 New York Mets team-signed ball. When Ryan signed this ball as a member of the then-lowly Mets, no one could have predicted that he was at the very beginning of one of the most extraordinary and long-lasting pitching careers in the history of the game. While it is impossible to state with certainty that this is the only 1966 New York Mets team-signed ball known featuring Ryan’s signature, we have never seen another example. Ryan’s signature on this ball also represents one of the earliest known examples on any item dating from his professional career. The official National League (Giles) ball is signed in blue ink by the following twenty-four team members: Ryan, Westrum (sweet spot, Mgr.), Hamilton, Stephenson, Rusteck, Selma, McGraw, Napoleon, Sutherland, Harrelson, Hiller, Terry (black ink), Shaw, Gardner, Grote, Bressoud, Lewis, Fisher, Fitzmaurice, Hickman, Haddix (coach), Friend, Boyer, and Hepler. The signatures are all fairly uniform in grade, averaging “8.” All of the manufacturer’s stampings remain bold and legible, and the ball is in Near Mint condition. This is a rare and historically significant New York Mets team ball commemorating the advent of Nolan Ryan’s legendary career. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $200. Estimate $400/$800. SOLD FOR $1,057.50
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