The unsung heroes of Murderer's Row1927 New York Yankees Pitching Staff Signed Photograph. "The Yankees pitching staff has reached a stage where I must gamble." Of course, Hall of Fame manager Miller Huggins was only joking--no Major Leaguer operating under the watch of Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis would be so publicly brazen. But the sentiment, offered to reporters during Spring Training of 1927, was clear. With such a bounty of talent on the mound, the Yankees just could not lose.
History, as we all know, would prove Huggins prophetic--the 1927 season would materialize as the finest in team history, culminating in a four-game sweep of the hopelessly overmatched Pittsburgh Pirates. Yet the story of Murderer's Row has always relegated the defensive half of the game to the role of mere footnote, a reasonable result of life in the shadow of the game's most dominant long ball artists. But it's worthy of note that the Yankee team ERA of 3.20 was over seventy points better than the White Sox' second place effort, a divide almost identical to the Yanks' margin of victory over Jimmie Foxx' Athletics in slugging percentage. In other words, the pitching staff was every bit the equal of its offensive counterpart.
Here we present a photograph snapped during that most celebrated season in the Bronx, a relic which has no equal at all. Miller Huggins' ten man pitching staff poses against the sparsely populated backdrop of a pregame Yankee Stadium grandstand, left shoulder to the camera. Each ace has utilized the white area of his own pinstriped uniform to apply his autograph, averaging a conservative 8/10 in blue or black fountain pen ink. The full cast: Bob Shawkey, Joe Giard, Myles Thomas, Urban Shocker, Waite Hoyt, Herb Pennock, Wilcy Moore, Don Miller, Dutch Ruether and George Pipgras. Shocker, of course, is the toughest autograph of the bunch due to his sudden, tragic passing just a year after this photo was taken. But most uncommon in Yankees format is the man third from the right, Don Miller, often called "the ghost" of the 1927 Yankees for his occasional appearance in team images despite no record of having played for the team. In fact, Miller was a star pitcher of the University of Michigan who worked out with the team, even earning a Championship ring, though he never participated in a Major League contest. Still he's considered the very toughest of all '27 Yanks.
The photo boasts razor-sharp contrast and measures a standard eight by ten inches in size. Minor tears appear at lower left and upper right, the former confined entirely to the lower white margin and repaired by restorer's tape. Neither defect is of any real distraction, and will be virtually eliminated by a simple framing job. Reverse is stamped "International Newsreel" of New York City. Truly a one-of-a-kind relic for the advanced Yankees collector. Full LOA from PSA/DNA.
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