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George Sosnak "The First American League Game - April 24 1901" Hand-Painted Ball
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $1,200
Folk-art tribute ball, hand-painted by former minor-league umpire George Sosnak (1922-1992), commemorating the first game in American League history between Chicago and Cleveland, on April 24, 1901. This ball is less elaborate in design than most other Sosnak balls, with just the sweet spot and two side panels displaying the artist's intricate text. While purely speculation, this ball might represent an unfinished work, as Sosnak's paintings normally incorporate nearly every available inch of surface area on the ball. Chicago defeated Cleveland 8-2 in front of over 10,000 fans at Chicago's South Side Park on that day, with pitcher Roy Patterson gaining the first of his twenty wins that season. Sosnak has provided the box score from the game for each club on a separate side panel, while the sweet spot reads "The First/American/League/Game; On/Wednesday/April 24/1901." Although Sosnak was a prolific artist, by some accounts creating over 800 illustrated baseballs, the popularity of his works has continued to grow with each passing decade. Sosnak is nearly as well known in the folk-art community as he is in the field of baseball collectibles, so it is no surprise that examples of his work can be found in both the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, and the American Folk Art Museum in New York City. One of Sosnak's balls (detailing JFK’s Opening Day pitch at a 1962 Senators game) can even be found in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. The ball, which is a Rawlings official Florida State League (MacDonald) ball remains in Excellent to Mint condition.
SOLD FOR $1,200
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