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Lot # 1139 (of 1560)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1934 Tour of Japan Program

Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $4,113

Extremely rare thirty-two-page Japanese baseball program issued during the historic 1934 Tour of Japan by Connie Mack's All-American Team. The 1934 Tour of Japan is significant today due to the fact that it was the only overseas barnstorming tour that Babe Ruth ever participated in. As the members of the tour soon discovered, Ruth's fame was not constrained by cultural barriers. The Japanese people revered him and he was treated like royalty in each city he visited. His popularity in Japan is evidenced by the design of this program, which features a large portrait illustration of Ruth on the cover. Additionally, he is represented again on the interior with a full-page photo (he is the only player on the tour given a full-page photo in the program). The remaining pages feature smaller, bust-length photos, and brief biographies, of every player on both the American and Japanese teams, including Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Connie Mack, Jimmie Foxx, Charlie Gehringer, Al Simmons, and Moe Berg. An interesting side note to the tour concerns Moe Berg's presence on the American roster. Berg was a journeyman catcher of little note and his inclusion on the roster was not by Connie Mack's choosing, but rather by that of the United States government. Unbeknownst to everyone at the time, Berg, a Princeton graduate who spoke seven different languages, was living a dual life. On the surface he was a professional ballplayer. His other career, however, was that of an undercover spy for the U.S. Government. Intelligence officials saw the 1934 baseball tour as an ideal opportunity to acquire important information regarding Japan's major cities, and for that reason Berg was hastily added to the roster just before the team set sail. Armed with a movie camera, Berg took hundreds of reconnaissance films that were later used by the government during World War II. The program (7.5 x 10.25 inches) has a few minor flaws that do not significantly detract from its overall Excellent appearance. A very light water stain along the bottom and side borders permeates a number of pages, and the first page of the program is partially affixed to the interior front cover. The back cover displays a few minor creases. The program is perfectly flat, bright, and clean. Despite the flaws (and these programs are rarely found in technically high grade, because they are both rare and fragile), it has a tremendous overall appearance and display value. This would be an ideal accompaniment for display with a 1934 World Tour signed baseball. This is an extremely rare program chronicling what is often regarded as the most famous overseas barnstorming tour in baseball history. Reserve $300. Estimate $500/$1,000. SOLD FOR $4,113

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