1939 Hall of Fame Opening Weekend Program Signed by Ten of the Original Inductees (PSA)
Quite simply, this is one of the most important pieces of baseball memorabilia we have ever come across. A few important items from the 1939 Baseball Centennial celebration in Cooperstown remain in circulation, most notably a ball signed by many of the original members of the Hall of Fame, but aside from that we believe this to be the premier memento of the event, as 10 of the 11 living, original inductees have signed the back cover of this program. The historic weekend included the dedication of the National Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame, followed by the Cavalcade of Baseball at Doubleday field. The Hall was first conceived in 1936 and five original players were elected to it, including Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Honus Wager and Babe Ruth, but it was not until 1939 that the actual structure was ready to open to the public. It was built in Cooperstown, NY, adjacent to the field where Abner Doubleday purportedly invented the game of baseball, though this was later disproven. This program is the official version for the opening ceremonies and the game held at Doubleday field. Thousands flocked to Cooperstown for the Hall's opening, which was the first Hall of Fame for any sport, and the ceremony took place on the venue's front steps. Baseball's commissioner, Kenesaw "Mountain" Landis, who had restored integrity to the game following the "Black Sox Scandal" of 1919, was there to preside over the proceedings, and Babe Ruth delivered a memorable speech encouraging the youth of the day to follow in the inaugural class' footsteps. The spine has been repaired, and though there are a few small chips, it is in VG condition. The incredible signatures include Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Connie Mack, George Sisler, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Tris Speaker, Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Honus Wagner and Larry Lajoie - all in black fountain ink averaging 8/10. The near-complete set is missing only Eddie Collins, who was inducted in 1939. We have seen other signed programs with additional, extraneous signatures, but none as comprehensive as this one, which was signed by the only 10 of the original, living Hall of Famers on the day the Hall was dedicated: June 12, 1939. This exquisite program measures 8.5x11" and comes with PSA and JSA LOAs.