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Lot # 779 (of 1673)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1953/1954 Hank Aaron Signed Puerto Rican League Team Ball

Starting Bid - $500.00 , Sold For - $940.00

Presented here is one of the earliest known signed baseballs featuring the signature of Hank Aaron: a Caguas-Guayama team-ball from the 1953/1954 Puerto Rican Winter League. Caguas-Guayama was the League champion that winter and that fact is noted (in Spanish) on the ball label. Although the ball features eighteen blue-ink signatures, the two that are the most recognizable to collectors today are those of Aaron and manager Mickey Owen. Aaron has signed the ball “Henry Aaron” on a side panel (grading “9”), while Owen’s signature (grading “9/10”) sits on an adjacent side panel. When Aaron signed this team ball, in an era when integration was still in its infancy and just six years following Jackie Robinson's historic debut in the majors, no one had any idea that Hank Aaron was at the beginning of one of the most extraordinary careers in the history of American sport. Aaron had just turned twenty years old in February of 1954 and his season of winter ball in Puerto Rico marked a major turning point in his career. Aaron had been an infielder his entire career, but during the 1953/1954 winter season he made the transition to outfield. Through Mickey Owen’s tutelage, he also learned how to hit to all fields. The skills he acquired that winter served him well the following spring. Aaron had expected to spend the season with either the Braves AAA club in Toledo or their AA affiliate in Atlanta. Those plans changed drastically when outfielder Bobby Thomson (of the “Shot Heard Round the World” fame) broke his leg in spring training. Aaron was called up to the Braves to replace him, where he earned a permanent place on the Braves' roster. The rest is history. The Wilson “Official Major League” ball is lightly soiled with a few minor abrasions and is in overall Excellent condition. This is both a rare and extremely significant team-signed baseball, the only team ball of its type we have ever had to offer, featuring one of the earliest known signature examples of the legendary “Hammerin’” Hank Aaron. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $940.00

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