The personal memento of Hall of Fame tourist Earl Averill1934 Tour of Japan Official Photograph Album with Team Signed Sheet. It was a baseball story that had it all--an exotic locale, a superstar cast, and even a dose of international espionage. It's little wonder that the 1934 Tour of Japan continues to fascinate a full eight decades after Ruth, Gehrig and the boys were welcomed by a half million fans lined ten to twenty deep on the streets of Tokyo in a blizzard of confetti. Though the Babe had never set foot on Asian shores prior to the Tour, magazines such asYakyukai and Asahi Sports had long trumpeted his exploits in America, and he drew the loudest ovations as he rode in an open limousine with his Yankee teammate Lou Gehrig in the parade motorcade. For a month, the American Tourists enjoyed the hospitality and adulation of the people of Japan, playing eighteen exhibition games in a dozen cities, winning every one of them.
Absent was any evidence of the increasing political tension between the two nations, The New York Times reporting, "The Babe's big bulk today blotted out such unimportant things as international squabbles over oil and navies." But seven years later a "date that will live in infamy" provided insight into an unusual roster addition. While the Hall of Fame cast of characters hand-picked by Connie Mack represented the best of the Majors, a light-hitting Ivy Leaguer named Moe Berg had been tapped for Japanese duty by the United States government. In the guise of an excited tourist, the catcher/spy documented the trip in film that would be used for bombing strikes during the Second World War.
The eight decades and Pacific Ocean that separate this historic Tour from present day America have greatly complicated the search for relics from the game's most famous foreign excursion, and the provided example is found at the top of most collectors' want lists. The exceedingly rare leatherbound volume was created only for players and VIP's associated with the Tour, this model deriving from the collection of Hall of Fame center fielder Earl Averill and consigned by his family with their letter of provenance.
The first interior page of the album provides its most important component, an unlined sheet autographed in 9/10 or better fountain pen ink by the nineteen members of the American contingent and their translator Solori Suzuki. The cast, in order of signing:
Babe Ruth, Connie Mack, Frank (Lefty) O'Doul, Bing Miller, Lefty Gomez, Eric McNair, Rabbit Warstler, Frank Hayes, Earl Averill, John Quinn, Charlie Gehringer, Joseph Cascarella, Robert Schroeder, Doc Ebling, Lou Gehrig, Moe Berg, Earl Whitehill, Jimmie Foxx, Clint Brown.
Two signed pages from Japanese competition follow, and then twenty-four official 9x11" photographs snapped during the Tour, picturing the team's arrival, celebratory banquets, team shots and packed stadiums. All contents and the volume itself remain in spectacular condition, with only the slightest wear to the edges and corners of the covers to account for its octagenarian status. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication. Letter of provenance from Earl Averill family.
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2018 November 15-16 Fall Sports Card Catalog Auction