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Lot # 883 (of 1866)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1922 J. J. "Nig" Clarke Single-Signed Ball - Legendary Minor League Home Run Champ!

Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $1,067

Official National League ball, dating from the 1920-1925 manufacturing period, signed Jay Justin "Nig" Clarke in black fountain pen (grading "8"). Clarke has inscribed the ball, "J. J. Nig Clarke/Reading Base Ball Club/1922," with the inscription beginning on the west panel, traversing the sweet spot, and ending on the east panel. An additional notation, written on the south panel, reads "To His/Little/Pal/And Friend/M. Giler." All of the writing on the ball has been printed, which, as is the case with all of the very few other Nig Clarke signed items we have seen, is simply the manner in which Clarke signed his name. (A copy of a 1940s government postcard signed by Clarke accompanies.) Nig Clarke enjoyed an intermittent nine-year major league career from 1905 to 1920, most of which was spent with Cleveland between the years 1905 to 1910. Despite the fact that he was basically a reserve catcher for most of his major league career, he is a legend for an amazing feat he accomplished in the minors in 1902 as a member of the Corsicana Oil City club. On June 15th of that year, in a game against the Texarkana Casketmakers, Clarke went 8-8 with 8 home runs in a 51-3 victory. While Clarke's superhuman accomplishment in that game has been disputed by some historians, the legend followed him throughout his career and made him a star of special note during the era. His other claim to fame is that he caught Addie Joss' perfect game on October 2, 1908. The offered ball was signed by Clarke at the tail end of his professional career, during his tenure with the Reading Aces of the International League. Clarke, who earned his politically incorrect nickname as a result of his dark complexion, played with Reading for two seasons (1922-1923) before finally ending his professional career in 1925. He died in 1949 at the age of sixty-six. This is the only Nig Clarke single-signed ball we have ever seen. We would not be surprised if it was the only one in existence! This is a fascinating conversation piece that would make a very interesting addition to many types of memorabilia, autograph, or single-signed ball collections, especially those with a theme relating to home runs. In addition, Clarke appears in the famous T206 "White Borders" tobacco-card set, and this single-signed ball would be ideal for display with his T206 card. The ball has light-to-moderate soiling, with a few small areas of dark discoloration on the east panel (not affecting any of the inscription). In Very Good condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $200. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,067

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