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Lot # 880 (of 1641)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Extraordinary 1950s Mel Ott Single-Signed Baseball

Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $29,625

Official National League (Giles) ball signed by Hall of Fame outfielder Mel Ott on a side panel. Ott has beautifully scripted his name in blue ink, with the signature grading "9." The facsimile signature of O'Neill M. Hobbs, president of the Western League, appears on a side panel, indicating that this ball was produced specifically for use in Western League games. The cream-colored ball displays a few tiny areas of very light age toning and is otherwise in Near Mint condition. This is the finest Mel Ott single-signed ball we have ever seen and one that would be the highlight of any advanced single-signed Hall of Fame ball collection. As most collectors are aware, the signature of Mel Ott alone on a ball is the most elusive of all the 500 Home Run Club members and the "key" to assembling a complete single-signed ball collection of that elite group. Ott is equally prized by Hall of Fame single-signed ball collectors, with the demand greatly outweighing the extremely limited supply. Ott retired in 1947 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1951. Unfortunately, he died tragically on November 21, 1958, at the age of forty-nine as a result of injuries he sustained in a car accident. The combination of his premature death and the fact that at the time single-signed balls had yet to be considered by collectors as the ideal form of a player's signature, have resulted in the great rarity of Ott singles today. Based upon the manufacturer's labels, the offered ball dates to the 1956-1958 manufacturing period (Hobbs was only president of the Western League during that three-year span), and was therefore signed by Ott during the last three years of his life. Ott was a broadcaster with the Detroit Tigers from 1956 up until the time of his death in 1958. Given the fact that Ott was still extremely involved in baseball during the late 1950s it is not surprising he was asked to sign baseballs at this time, but apparently he signed very few. This is the first Mel Ott single-signed ball that we have offered in over fifteen years and one that easily ranks as the finest we have ever seen. For many years this Mel Ott ball has resided as one of the great highlights in one of the most advanced single-signed ball collections in the hobby. This is an extraordinary example in all respects and one that would be an extremely significant addition to any 500 Home Run Club or single-signed Hall of Fame ball collection. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000+. SOLD FOR $29,625

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