1934 Yankees Signed Baseball

Value (2009) | $10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction

GUEST:
My mother, as a young girl in Newark, New Jersey, decided that she wanted to go to greener pastures, and in 1934, off she went alone to St. Petersburg, Florida, became a hotel elevator operator and realized that the Yankees were about to take spring training at the hotel where she was working. She was a very pretty young lady. She was somewhere in the general vicinity of 18 or 19.

APPRAISER:
Wow, which is a big deal in 1934, to head down to St. Petersburg.

GUEST:
A very big deal, yes.

APPRAISER:
Alone.

GUEST:
And as the elevator operator, as each Yankee came on the elevator, she asked for his signature. And got them all, as well as the coach. And dated more than one of them, as I remember from my boyhood.

APPRAISER:
Wow! Was she a sports fan? Do you remember?

GUEST:
Not particularly, no.

APPRAISER:
Or did she just like men in uniform?

GUEST:
She just liked men in uniform. Men in uniform, excellent. At that time.

APPRAISER:
St. Petersburg for years, since 1914, has been the home of various big league ball teams. The Yankees started going there in the '20s and continued going there until the '60s. So, your mom there, in '34, was at the end of one of the greatest eras in Yankee history because it was Babe Ruth's last Yankee year. Still a great year for him, and he still managed to have a lot of fishing and fun in many different forms. He was a great partier. But there are also other mates that were on the team, including Lefty Gomez.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Well, Lefty Gomez is on this ball. As great as the Babe was, the gentlemen who had the two greatest years in 1934: Lefty Gomez and Lou Gehrig. But Lefty, who they called El Goofy, had the triple crown of pitchers that year. Lou Gehrig had his MVP season that year. This is one of the greatest Yankee teams never to have made it to the World Series. What happens is they finished behind the Detroit Tigers. So your mom caught the tail end of one of the great dynasties in baseball, and that's what makes this ball so special. You have Ruth on here, you have Gomez. You have Gehrig on the other side. So, a great, fantastic baseball. If we look at this now, you notice it's a little tan. It's from being shellacked. Do you know if your mom did it?

GUEST:
No, my dad did.

APPRAISER:
And that was the practice at the time. In fact, Babe Ruth sent out letters to kids with baseballs saying go shellac the signatures because it will help keep them for posterity. And what you see is the signatures still look great, but the ball itself has gotten darker over time. So, now we're looking at value. I would put an auction estimate of about $10,000 to $15,000 on this.

GUEST:
Wow.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Leila Dunbar Appraisals & Consulting, LLC
Washington, DC
Appraised value (2009)
$10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
Event
Atlantic City, NJ (June 06, 2009)

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