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Extremely Rare "Sliding" Billy Hamilton Signed Cut (1866-1940; HOF 1961)
Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $9,000
Small sheet of unlined paper signed by Hall of Fame outfielder "Sliding" Billy Hamilton. Hamilton's signature has been flawlessly scripted in black fountain pen and grades "10." The signature of Billy Hamilton is among the rarest of all Hall of Fame players and is missing from virtually all advanced Hall of Fame signature collections. This is due to the fact that his career spanned the years 1888 to 1901, an era in which autograph collecting was not popular, and also because he passed away in 1940 at the age of seventy-four, twenty-one years before he was elected to the Hall of Fame. Given his accomplishments, it seems hard to believe he had to wait so long. Although he stood only 5-feet 6-inches and weighed 165 pounds, Hamilton was one of the greatest offensive players in baseball history. What he lacked in size and power he more than made up for in speed. When Hamilton reached base, which was quite often, he usually scored. Three times he stole over 100 bases in a season and his league-high mark of 192 runs in 1894 remains the Major League record for a single season. A former National League batting champion, Hamilton ranks fourth all-time in on-base percentage (.455) and seventh all-time in batting average (.344). He retired in 1901 as the career leader in stolen bases with 912, a mark that stood for seventy-seven years before being broken by Lou Brock in 1978 (and later by Rickey Henderson). This is only the third Billy Hamilton signature we have ever offered (once on a ball, the other time on an album page) and we can only recall having seen three other examples at auction in the past fifteen years. The slip of paper (3.5 x 1.75 inches), which is trimmed to its current dimensions, displays three punched holes along the top border and is otherwise in Excellent to Mint condition. Full LOA from James Spence/JSA and full LOA from Kevin Keating. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $9,000
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