Description1923 Christy Mathewson Single Signed Baseball from Braves Opening Day. In the rough and tumble Dead Ball Era of our national pastime, when the sport was populated by brawling drunks and illiterate farmhands, Matty was recognized almost as much for his gentlemanly comportment as he was for his remarkable Hall of Fame abilities. As commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis famously eulogized the fallen baseball hero, "He was an inspiration to everybody, and may we have more of his kind." The 373-game winning right-hander autographed this Official American League (Johnson) ball just two years before his untimely demise, the delayed result of a World War I gas attack.
This early passing, and the eight and a half decades that have since elapsed, have conspired to deny the collecting hobby of all but a meager few autograph exemplars, particularly on the hide of a baseball. In fact, fewer than five Matty singles have been offered by major auction houses in the past dozen years. The presented example is a red and black stitched ONL model, just like the ones with which the Big Six forged his Cooperstown bronze. His black fountain pen signature adorns the northern panel, projecting at a strength of 6/10 to 7/10.
A notation in an unknown hand on the western panel announces "Braves Field, April 17, 1923," the Opening Day of the National League season. The newly sworn president of the Braves was almost certainly honored that day, particularly considering the New York Giants team stationed in the visitors' dugout for the game. One might even speculate that this was the first pitch ball. A few scattered scuffs on the ball suggest this may indeed have been more than a mere souvenir, but even as nothing other than a Matty single, its collecting appeal is enormous in scope. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.
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