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    1923 Christy Mathewson & Kenesaw Mountain Landis Signed Baseball. 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 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. Most of that small population derives from his front office service to the sport he once dominated, dating to the final year of his all-too-brief life.

    This particular example is the second we have encountered dated to Opening Day of the 1923 season, as an unknown hand has penned "Braves Field, April 17, 1923" on the side panel. This handwriting is identical to that of the Matty ball sold in our November 2011 Signature Auction, suggesting that a small population of similar baseballs was produced to honor the Hall of Fame ace, each identically notated by a clubhouse man or some other figure in charge of such things. This would have been a major event in Mathewson's life, as it was the first game since he and Giants attorney Emil Fuchs put together a syndicate that bought the Braves, and rather remarkably, the visiting team was the New York Giants.

    Newspapers of the day reported the following: "At Braves Field, Boston, High Commissioner Landis and Christy Mathewson, 'Big Six' of other days, now president of the Boston outfit, will grip hands as thousands cheer, bands throb festily and camera men crank. Commissioner Landis, out of friendship for 'Matty,' will honor this city of once famous teams. Truly, a great day, with the world's champion Giants, Matty's old team, playing his new one."

    And below Mathewson's we find the man who would eulogize him later that year, signing in the same 8/10 black fountain pen ink that characterizes Matty's. Landis likewise dates the ball in his own hand, "4/17/23."

    The baseball is an ONL (Heydler) model exhibiting the stamping format utilized between 1919 and 1924, lightly and evenly toned with only minor signs of handling. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2016
    12th-14th Thursday-Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 20
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,476

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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