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1915 Boston Red Sox World Champions Team-Signed Baseball Including Babe Ruth
Starting Bid - $5,000.00 , Sold For - $14,100.00
Presented here is not only a significant World Championship team-signed ball, but also one of the most extraordinary Babe Ruth signed items imaginable: a 1915 Boston Red Sox team-signed baseball dating from Ruth's rookie season. As such, the Ruth signature featured on this ball represents one of the earliest known examples, possibly the earliest on a ball, and one of only several 1915 Red Sox team balls in existence. Ruth's has signed the ball in black fountain pen on a side panel and, interestingly, he has only scripted his last name, "Ruth." That practice was obviously not unique to Ruth, as three other players, Janvrin, Henriksen, and Shorten, also signed the ball only with their last names. In addition, the only other 1915 Red Sox ball that we have seen (which had mostly "gone over" or "enhanced" signatures, a flaw which this ball does not have) was also signed by Ruth with an abbreviated signature. The ball has a very impressive appearance, with particularly bold stampings. The provenance is equally extraordinary, as this ball originates directly from the family of Red Sox pitching legend Joe Wood. The signatures vary in strength, but as noted are all original, without enhancements as the other example we have seen (which also originated from Joe Wood). Both the "t" and "h" in "Ruth" are somewhat faded, but the signature is still perfectly legible and grades "3/4" overall. The remaining twenty-three signatures on this Official American League (Johnson) ball, all of which have been penned in black fountain pen, are those of Bill Carrigan (Mgr.), Harry Hooper, Tris Speaker, Ray Collins, Jack Barry, Chester Thomas, Duffy Lewis, Del Gainer, Dutch Leonard, Mike McNally, Rube Foster, Vean Gregg, Everett Scott, Olaf Henriksen (last name only), Ernie Shore, Larry Gardner, Hal Janvrin (last name only), Carl Mays, Joe Wood, Hick Cady, Heinie Wagner, Chick Shorten (last name only), and one other (faded). The signatures vary in grade from "1" to "8," but the vast majority average "3/4." The signatures of stars such as Duffy Lewis and Tris Speaker are particularly strong. The vintage black-ink notation "1915" appears on two side panels, below one of which is the additional notation "Boston Red Sox 1915 Worlds Champions." It appears that either a name or a notation has been removed from one of the side panels possibly due to a piece of tape long ago being affixed and later removed. This ball is accompanied by the unique provenance of having originated from the personal collection of Red Sox pitcher Joe Wood. Wood gave the ball as a special keepsake to his sister-in-law, Miss Edith O'Shea, who then passed it on to other members of the family. Included with the ball is an extensive and detailed two-page letter from the nephew of Edith O'Shea, the gentleman who finally ended up with it, that fully chronicles the history of the ball.
Ruth made his Major League debut with the Red Sox in 1914 at the age of nineteen, but his time with the club was brief. He appeared in only three games before being sent down to Providence for more seasoning. Ruth made the club the following spring and immediately established himself as one of the top left-handed pitchers in the game. He led the American League in winning percentage in 1915, fashioning an 18-6 record while posting a 2.44 ERA. He also foreshadowed things to come by batting .315 with a team high 4 home runs and 21 RBI in only 92 at bats. Any and all Ruth signed items dating from his five years with Boston are rare, let alone from Ruth's earliest days in the Majors. This ball is extraordinary given the fact that it dates from Ruth's rookie season and may, in fact, be the earliest Ruth signed ball in existence. (If it isn't the earliest, it's got to be close!) This is one of the best and most historically significant of all Ruth signed baseballs, one of the best 1915 Red Sox items of any kind, and one of the best of all team-signed baseballs in the collecting world. Equally remarkable is its fine state of preservation. The creamy toned ball is lightly soiled, but all of the manufacturer's stampings remain incredibly bold, looking much as they did when the ball was first removed from its box. Excellent to Mint condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000+. SOLD FOR $14,100.00
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