The Royal Lineage: Ruth, Maris, McGwire, Bonds.Single Season Home Run Record Holders Multi-Signed Baseball. Put your asterisks down for a minute, and open your minds. Controversy and scandal so often ferment into collecting gold with the passing of years--ask Shoeless Joe if you don't believe it. While nobody could sanely argue that the Steroid Age isn't one best left in baseball's rear view mirror, history also gives us plenty of reason to believe that future generations will look back on photos of turn-of-the-millennium ballplayers with fascination, the physiques straight out of Marvel Comics, the power stats bulging as improbably as their biceps. It was a moment in baseball history, an enormously relevant one and thus an era that shouldn't be simply forgotten and dismissed.
Look at Roger Maris, whose signature turned a Ruth single into a pairing to begin the theme. Between the first day of October, 1961 and his passing in December of 1985, he occupied that baseball purgatory that now serves as a home to McGwire and Bonds, somewhere between fans' and historians' hearts and minds. But today the unlikely pinstriped hero is a sure winner in any sports collectible auction, as safe a bet as any figure now enshrined within Yankee Stadium's Monument Park.
So will the men who elevated the single season mark to seventy and seventy-three in 1998 and 2001 respectively receive the same benefit of time's mellowing influence? Our suspicion is yes. And even if their transgressions forever block the doors of Cooperstown, that exclusion will only keep their names in the discussion, thereby ensuring their relevance, and thus their collectibility.
Ruth occupies the sweet spot of this non-official "Spalding" model, his 6/10 black fountain pen signature bearing the quotation marks that suggest pre-1930 vintage. The faint remnants of a strip of tape that once lay across the autograph are visible. Maris appears in 8/10 blue ballpoint in his customary position near the bottom of the southern panel, where he shares space with a 10/10 black sharpie Bonds. Big Mac utilizes the same tool to assign his own autograph to the northern panel, adding a "70" notation. His signature rates 9/10.
We've never encountered another sphere that documents the single season home run record chain of command, or even a Ruth/Maris duo that would make such a project possible. And right next to historical relevance on the list of key collectible traits is singularity. As any king will tell you, there's nothing better than being the only one. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.
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