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1934 Tour of Japan Team-Signed Baseball with Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, and Berg
Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $21,330
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 KBC "Nippon Ball" signed in black fountain pen by eighteen members of that famous overseas tour. Babe Ruth's signature majestically graces the sweet spot (grading "9") while Gehrig's signature ("8") is located on the west panel, directly to the left of Ruth's. The remaining signatures on the ball are those of Connie Mack, Jimmie Foxx (signed "J. Foxx"), Lefty Gomez, Charlie Gehringer, Earl Averill, Moe Berg, Joe Cascarella (last name only), Lefty O'Doul, Doc Ebling (trainer), Clint Brown, Frank Hayes, Earl Whitehill, Bing Miller, Rabbit Warstler, John Quinn, and Eric McNair. A 1934 Tour of Japan team-signed ball is one of the great classics of all signed baseballs. In addition to featuring 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 protective layer of clear shellac that displays light crazing; otherwise the ball is in Near Mint condition, with all of the manufacturer's stampings bold and legible. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000++. SOLD FOR $21,330
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