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1934 Tour of Japan Team-Signed Ball with Ruth, Gehrig, and Berg
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $11,850
In 1934 Connie Mack led a group of Major League players on a highly publicized postseason goodwill tour of Japan. That much-celebrated tour is especially noteworthy as it was the only overseas tour in which both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig participated. Offered is a Mizuno "Official University League" ball signed in black fountain pen by fifteen members of that famous overseas tour. Babe Ruth's signature majestically graces the sweet spot (grading "6/"7") while Gehrig's signature ("8") shares a side panel with that of Earl Averill. The remaining signatures on the ball are those of Connie Mack, Lefty Gomez, Moe Berg, Earl Whitehill, Frank Hayes, Bing Miller, Lefty O'Doul, Clint Brown, Eric McNair, Rabbit Warstler, John Quinn, and Doc Ebling (trainer). A 1934 Tour of Japan team-signed ball is one of the great classics of all signed baseballs. In addition to including the signatures of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and many other stars, this ball represents one of the most celebrated tours in baseball history, and is a ball that tells a story. Of special interest to historians is the fact that Moe Berg's signature is included on this ball. Berg was a journeyman catcher who was hastily added to the roster shortly before the tour began. However, it was not Connie Mack who recruited Berg for the trip, but rather Uncle Sam. Unbeknownst to all at the time, Berg was working as a spy for the U.S. government and was sent on the trip to obtain reconnaissance photos and film of Tokyo that were later helpful during World War II, especially during the Doolittle Raid. The ball has been coated with a heavy layer of protective shellac; otherwise the ball is in Near Mint condition, with all of the manufacturer's stampings bold and legible. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000/$4,000. SOLD FOR $11,850
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