Description1929-92 Legendary Sluggers Multi-Signed Baseball with Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle. An elite cast of characters, stunning condition and remarkable provenance conspire to create one of the most desirable autographed baseballs ever to get its turn on the Heritage auction block. The "Reach Official League" ball enjoyed its first brush with greatness on May 18, 1929, as we learn from the included DVD of a 1992 interview of the ball's original owner Jack Thorp, who was ten years old when he attended his first Major League game with his father at Yankee Stadium. Though a small notation on the ball states "4-18-29," Thorp's description of the event as a doubleheader against the Red Sox indicates that it was May, not April. He recalls presenting Babe Ruth with a cheap dime store ball for signing, and that the Babe traded him for a better one, signing the sweet spot and then passing the ball and pen to Lou Gehrig.
Thorp didn't see the ball again for many years, until it turned up in his father's belongings after his passing. Now living in Texas, Thorp got the idea to add the Rangers' manager to the ball, and made the roster of signers a trio four decades after that day in the Bronx with the addition of Ted Williams in 1969.
The next target, shortly thereafter, was a recently retired superstar slugger who made Texas his home after hanging up his spikes, Mickey Mantle. Thorp tracked him down at the Country Cookin' headquarters and snapped a photo of the Mick as he signed the ball. That photo is included in the lot, dated May 1969 on reverse.
Hank Aaron's assumption of Babe Ruth's career home run record in 1974 inspired Thorp to seek him out next, and so he and his grandson made a pilgrimage to the Astrodome on April 19, 1974 for a visit by the Atlanta Braves. And now there were five.
Later that year, an Old Timers Game at the Arlington Stadium brought the great Joe DiMaggio into striking distance. On July 6, 1974, Thorp left the ballpark with six autographs in total.
And, finally, in February of 1992, the baseball claimed its seventh and final autograph at a public signing for Stan Musial. Thorp snapped a photo of The Man as he held the ball in his hand, and that photo is included in the lot.
Heritage is pleased to play a role in the remarkable journey of this historic sphere, an unparalleled assembly of the twentieth century's greatest sluggers. Only Ted Williams, at 4/10, has been diminished in any measurable way from the strength of its initial application, with the balance rating 8/10 or better. Today it serves not only as a testament to those men, but also to Jack Thorp, and his six decade love affair with our National Pastime. DVD of interview with Jack Thorp. Photos of Mantle and Musial signings. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.
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2018 November 15-16 Fall Sports Card Catalog Auction