1924 Washington Senators Ball with Ty Cobb
The Senators were the only team that derailed the Yankee dynasty of the '20s, in '24 and '25, and several key members of the first of those outstanding teams -- most notably Walter "Big Train" Johnson -- signed this Official American League Ball. But the ball is really a hybrid Senators-Tigers ball as it is signed by some hallmark Bengals -- most notably Ty Cobb -- whose markers were evidently obtained by an intrepid autograph hunter when they came through D.C. The dual nature of the ball makes it a real rarity, and perhaps one of a kind. Johnson, who went 23-7 with a 2.72 ERA that season, when the Nats sidetracked the Yankees by 2 games to take the AL flag, left behind few signatures, so any ball with can boast it is an instant keeper. This is a heck of a signature, too, sitting pretty on the sweet spot in black ink and grading an impressive 8 out of a possible 10. Cobb's is on a side panel in a thicker grade of ink flow, fat and sassy and grading an 8. Another highly rare signature belongs to Heinie Manush, who was in just his 2nd season with the Tigers. His marker is right above Johnson's and is an 8 as well. Still another HOFer on the orb is Stanley "Bucky" Harris, the Senators' player-manager, whose autograph rates 8/10. Other Senator signers include Joe Judge, Muddy Ruel, Goose Goslin, and former Senator Al Schacht, who had become known as "baseball's clown prince" for his comedy bits at ballparks. Other Tiger signers include Earl Whitehill, Ken Holloway and Topper Rigney. 14 signatures in all, none grading lower than a 7. Ball itself is splendid with a light golden tone, sharp and clear stampings and taut red and blue seams. Nothing less than manna fallen from the baseball heavens.
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