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1925 Hughie Jennings Single-Signed Ball - PSA/DNA
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $4,200
Official National League (Heydler) ball signed by Hall of Famer Hughie Jennings in black fountain pen (grading "3") across the sweet spot. Hughie Jennings' signature is among the rarest of all Hall of Fame players due to his untimely death in 1928 at the age of fifty-nine, which, of course, was well before the establishment of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 (Jennings was inducted in 1945). Jennings' signature alone on a baseball is particularly elusive. This is one of the very few examples we have ever seen offered at auction. Ideally, a number of additional, vintage, handwritten black-ink notations provide a brief history of the offered ball, including when and where it was signed. The word "Giants" is printed directly below Jennings name. Written on the South panel are "New York Nat'l/Sept 18-25," the notation "G 8/C 3" and a line drawing of what appears to be a bird in flight. (What is most interesting is that we have seen this same exact drawing on another Hughie Jennings single-signed ball. Given that fact, it seems certain that Jennings, for some reason, drew the sketch on each ball. JSA has also stated in its accompanying LOA that the drawing of the bird is in Jennings' hand.) The East panel bears the word "Chicago," while the North panel features the scripted name "E. S. Dougherty" (the name of the original owner). In their totality, the notations indicate that this ball was obtained by Dougherty at game between the Giants and Cubs on September 18, 1925, in Chicago (Jennings was a coach with the Giants at the time). Research indicates the Giants did visit Chicago on that day, and as recorded on the ball, defeated the Cubs by a score of 8-3.
A more detailed history of the ball is provided in an accompanying two-page handwritten letter of provenance (two sides of a single sheet), dated July 12, 1999, written by the grandson of the original owner, "E. S. Dougherty." In the letter, which can be viewed in its entirety on our website, the writer explains that his ball was a foul ball that was caught by his grandfather while attending a game between the Giants and Cubs. Prior to the end of the game, he gave the ball and his favorite pen to the batboy and asked if Hughie Jennings would sign it for him. Jennings complied, but, as noted in the letter, neglected to return the pen. One more interesting point to note is that the ball itself is a rare one-year style ball that was only produced during the 1925 season, as indicated by the "Patented March 17-1925" stamping on the front panel. The ball is lightly toned and displays a number of stains, including one area of heavy staining on the West panel that obscures most of the "Spalding" logo. A number of moderate abrasions are evident, as is a red-ink notation (listing of numbers) on the front panel. Fortunately, most of the aforementioned flaws do not significantly affect the Jennings signature. Graded 2.5 by PSA/DNA (both the autograph and ball are graded 3, but as PSA/DNA notes, there may be a plus or minus 0.5 for eye-appeal, hence the half-point deduction from the average grade of 3).Full LOA from PSA/DNA and Full LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,200
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