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Intriguing Warren Spahn & Jackie Robinson Items

Okay, it’s the baseball all-star game, so how about a few more stories on baseball memorabilia?

Greg Spahn, the only child of the winningest left-hander in baseball history, has more than 800 items he’s going to auction at Hunt Auctions. He’s going to split everything he gets with his kids, which is probably making them happy. He’s got five, and I’m guessing they’d be fighting over who gets the ripped up baseball glove, and who gets the Cy Young Award that Spahn won in 1957. Yep, that’s one of the things you can bid on, but expect to pay a pretty penny for it. It’ll probably get over $150,000. If you’re looking to spend a little less, there is the 1958 National League championship ring, the 300th career victory ball, and the Hall of Fame ring given to Spahn.

 

Now, a much more interesting autographed item has also popped up. What makes this so strange is that the value of it isn’t because of the autographs on the ball.

Artie Gore was a major league baseball umpire, who made his debut behind the plate on April 15, 1947. Now, this wasn’t significant because he had a big tax bill. It was also the first game of Jackie Robinson, arguably the most important name in baseball history. And how can any of that be proven? Well, all the umpires autographed the ball to give it to him as a keepsake (unfortunately, Robinson’s signature isn’t on it).

Hunt Auctions is also auctioning this item, and David Hunt, the president, said “All I needed to see on the ball was the date of April 15, 1947. At the minimum, you know it’s going to be of some significance.”

Remember, balls of significance can go for a lot even if they aren’t signed by the main athlete involved. Here’s an example. Actor and baseball fan Charlie Sheen paid $93,000 for the baseball that went between Bill Buckner’s legs in the ’86 World Series. It’s autographed, but not by Buckner. Umpire Ed Montague gave the ball to a Mets executive (Arthur Richman), and player Mookie Wilson signed it: “To Arthur, the ball won it for us, Mookie Wilson, 10/25/86.”

Sheen took a loss on the ball, selling it for $64,000 in 2000 (which probably all went for a weekend of partying). When it went up for auction a few years after that, it fetched almost $420,000. Now, math was never my strong suit but, that’s about a 550% profit.

If a ball that went through someones legs can get that, I’m guessing a ball from the game that broke the color-barrier, should make some money. Baseball fans love their statistics, and they love the history of the sport.

The nephew selling the ball said he wasn’t sure if Robinson got a hit with that ball or not. Well, I am. I just Googled his stats for that game at Ebbets Field. The Dodger didn’t get a hit, but got to base on an error, and scored the game-winning run.

The ball was in a box of memorabilia that Gore’s brother had. He passed away in November at the age of 95.

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Tags: Bill Buckner, Brooklyn Dodgers, Charlie Sheen, Cy Young Award, Jackie Robinson, Mookie Wilson, Warren Spahn

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