From the estate of Frank "Lefty" O'Doul1934 Tour of Japan Team Signed Cigarette Lighter Baseball.
We all know that smoking is dangerous, but the true vintage baseball fan must still show the addiction some grudging gratitude. Without the siren's song of nicotine, the hobby would lack its greatest trading card era, and Honus Wagner wouldn't be its million dollar baby. But of course it was the Babe's ubiquitous cigar that fueled his early demise from throat cancer, and we'd bet his personal example of this unique Tour of Japan keepsake is the worse for wear because of his habit.
O'Doul, however, was apparently not much of a smoker, considering the evidence of the ball's remarkable condition. This specially crafted keepsake from baseball's most noteworthy foreign excursion exhibits a stunning absence of handling, missing a portion of the lighter's mechanism but otherwise revealing no indication of use or wear. While O'Doul may not share the Hall of Fame credentials of the Tour's greatest stars, he's arguably the most significant American in the history of Japanese baseball, enshrined in the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame and the man responsible for naming the famed Tokyo Giants after his own ballclub in 1935.
It's interesting to note that this is a baseball custom-made for its service as a cigarette lighter, a fact made apparent when viewing the extra wide sweet spots of the sphere. One side sprouts the stem of its lighting mechanism. The four panels bear spectacularly preserved signatures from the following:
Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Connie Mack, Lefty Gomez, Earl Averill, Charles Gehringer, Moe Berg, Earl Whitehill, Joe Cascarella, Frank Hayes, Clint Brown, Bob Schroeder, Rabbit Warstler, John Quinn, Doc Ebling, Bing Miller, Eric McNair, Lefty O'Doul.
An unknown hand has penned "All American Japan Tour 1934" on one panel. A light coating of shellac has preserved all autographs at an 8/10 level or better. The first example we've encountered since Lou Gehrig's personal model commanded $41,825 at our 2011 Chicago "Platinum Night" event. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.
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