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Circa 1952 Bill McGowan Signed Ball - Displays as a Single!
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $720
Red-stitched ball (manufacturer's stampings badly faded) signed in black fountain pen by four different former American League umpires: Bill McGowan (grading "6/7"), Hank Soar ("7"), Eddie Hurley ("6"), and Bill McKinley ("6"). Each of the umpires has signed his name on a separate side panel, with Hurley adding the inscription "To Leo Levitt Best Wishes from." One of the factors that makes this ball so appealing to collectors is that it displays beautifully as a Bill McGowan single-signed ball. It should be noted that examples of Bill McGowan's signature, alone on a baseball, are practically nonexistent. In fact, not surprisingly, we have never even seen a true Bill McGowan single. McGowan died in 1954, but wasn't elected to the Hall of Fame until 1992. That, coupled with the fact that few collectors sought the autographs of umpires, has resulted in the extreme rarity of Bill McGowan signed baseballs today, single-signed or otherwise. This particular ball appears to have been signed sometime between the years 1950 and 1954, which is the period in which the careers of all four umpires overlap. The ball (which is most likely an official American League ball; only the Reach logo is visible on a side panel) is lightly toned and displays a few minor abrasions on the McKinley panel. In Very Good to Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $300. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $720
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