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1982 Michael Jordan Single-Signed Baseball - Earliest-Known Example!
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $588
This ball holds the distinction of being the earliest-known Michael Jordan single-signed baseball and predates his professional baseball career by twelve years! On July 31, 1982 Michael Jordan, who was then getting ready to begin his sophomore year at the University of North Carolina, was invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Dixie Youth Baseball Tournament held in Kenansville, North Carolina. Jordan was chosen for the honor because of his recent celebrity status (he made the game-winning shot in North Carolina's NCAA Championship win that March) and for his ties to the league (Jordan played in the Dixie Youth League while growing up in North Carolina). After officially starting the tournament Jordan was kind enough to stay and sign autographs for the fans, at which time this ball was obtained. Appropriately, Jordan has signed the Rawlings "Official Dixie Youth Baseball, Inc." ball in black ink (grading "6/7") on a side panel. Accompanying the ball, and perfect for display with it, are two original newspaper clippings from the August 5, 1982 edition of The Wallace Enterprise (of Wallace, North Carolina), each of which pictures Jordan at the tournament. One article pictures him throwing out the first pitch, while the other pictures him signing autographs and posing with league officials. In one of the accompanying articles, Jordan states "It's a real honor to be the guest here in Kenansville because when I was 12 years old, I played in the Dixie Youth Program." Although Jordan's future basketball stardom was easy to predict, few fans in attendance that day could have ever imagined that twelve years later Jordan would retire from basketball to pursue a professional baseball career with the Chicago White Sox. This is not only an extremely early Michael Jordan signed item, but one that foreshadows his historic career change in 1994. The ball displays a few moderate surface blemishes, including light abrasions, and is in Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $588
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