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Lot
81709

1934 Tour of Japan Album with Team Signed Page from Eric McNair Estate, PSA Mint 9....

2014 May 15 - 17 Sports Collectibles Catalog Auction - Dallas #7105

 
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Auction Ended On: May 16, 2014
Item Activity: 7 Internet/mail bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

Description:
1934 Tour of Japan Album with Team Signed Page from Eric McNair Estate, PSA Mint 9. It was a baseball story that had it all--an exotic locale, a superstar cast, and even a dose of international espionage. It's little wonder that the 1934 Tour of Japan continues to fascinate a full eight decades after Ruth, Gehrig and the boys were welcomed by a half million fans lined ten to twenty deep on the streets of Tokyo in a blizzard of confetti. Though the Babe had never set foot on Asian shores prior to the Tour, magazines such as Yakyukai and Asahi Sports had long trumpeted his exploits in America, and he drew the loudest ovations as he rode in an open limousine with his Yankee teammate Lou Gehrig in the parade motorcade. For a month, the American Tourists enjoyed the hospitality and adulation of the people of Japan, playing eighteen exhibition games in a dozen cities, winning every one of them.

Absent was any evidence of the increasing political tension between the two nations, The New York Times reporting, "The Babe's big bulk today blotted out such unimportant things as international squabbles over oil and navies." But seven years later a "date that will live in infamy" provided insight into an unusual roster addition. While the Hall of Fame cast of characters hand-picked by Connie Mack represented the best of the Majors, a light-hitting Ivy Leaguer named Moe Berg had been tapped for Japanese duty by the United States government. In the guise of an excited tourist, the catcher/spy documented the trip in film that would be used for bombing strikes during the Second World War.

The eight decades and Pacific Ocean that separate this historic Tour from present day America have greatly complicated the search for relics from the game's most famous foreign excursion, and the provided example is found at the top of most collectors' want lists. The exceedingly rare leatherbound volume was created only for players and VIP's associated with the Tour, this model being the one presented to Athletics shortstop Eric McNair, certainly offered this plum assignment due to his close connection to the team's Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack.

Best within these highly coveted Tour albums is the team signed sheet, and this one is a true beauty, every autograph rating 9/10 or better. It has been removed from the album and framed separately for display, but thankfully shows no ill effects from exposure to light. The cast, from top to bottom:

Babe Ruth, Connie Mack, Frank (Lefty) O'Doul, Bing Miller, Lefty Gomez, Eric McNair, Rabbit Warstler, Frank Hayes, Earl Averill, John Quinn, Charlie Gehringer, Joseph Cascarella, Robert Schroeder, Doc Ebling, Lou Gehrig, Moe Berg, Earl Whitehill, Jimmie Foxx, Clint Brown, Sotaro Suzuki (translator).

The album itself shows wear to its exterior, having shed its leather cover, but the photography affixed to the interior pages is only occasionally affected, with some of the larger photos exhibits chipping at the corners. Page of Japanese team autographs is missing. The fact that this is the second Japan album we have offered this year should not fool any collector into believing that these important relics are anything other than enormously rare, and certainly their desirability is unquestionable. From a global perspective, the 1934 Tour of Japan rates among the most significant events in the history of our National Pastime. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Auction LOA from James Spence Authentication.

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Service and Handling Description: Framed - with Glass, Small (view shipping information)

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