Historic Baseballs Offered in Goldin Auctions Opening Day Auction

2015 Goldin Auctions Opening Day Auction is Live – Ends May 9thWhen baseball fans attend a game, they all dream of leaving with a baseball from an historic moment or their favorite player. In the 2015 Goldin Auctions Opening Day Auction scheduled for April 13 through May 9, 2015 at www.GoldinAuctions.com, collectors can bid on 45 such baseballs from historic players, games and moments. These include the only known game-used ball from the final game of the 1941 season when Ted Williams became the last player to bat over .400; one of the earliest Babe Ruth signed baseballs; final out balls from Denny McLain’s wins #28 and #31 in 1968; and Derek Jeter’s final hit baseball at CitiField.

For baseball history buffs, September 28, 1941 is significant for two reasons: it was the date Ted Williams went 6 for 8 in a double-header to finish the season batting .406; and it was the last game pitched by the great Lefty Grove. Unknown to most, it was also the greatest moment in the short career of A’s pitcher Fred Caligiuri. And thanks to Caligiuri, this baseball from that day has survived.

Caliguiri gave up two hits to Williams in three at bats which secured Williams’ average over .400. But he also pitched a 6-hit complete game for his second and final career win. To commemorate his greatest moment, Caligiuri saved this baseball (Lot #11) and in blue pen he proudly inscribed it: “GAME BALL 9-28-1941 I BEAT LEFTY GROVE IN HIS FINAL GAME. GAME 2 OF DOUBLEHEADER WILLIAMS HIT 406.” The winning pitcher then added his signature to the ball’s sweet spot to complete its provenance.


The ball exhibits tremendous game use with the leather covered with turf marks and scuffs plus nearly 75-years of aging. The fact that the ball is from the historic game for both Williams and Grove pushes the limits on the historical value of this Hall of Fame-worthy ball. Comes with full Letter of Authenticity from JSA which confirms not only the signature of Caligiuri, but also the inscription was written by him.

Although there is no doubt about the lineage of the Caligiuri baseball, there is some question as to whether another baseball signed by Ruth, Ty Cobb and several other players (Lot # 529) is dated 10/6/1914 or 10/6/15. Regardless of the date, there is no doubt that it is among the earliest Ruth signed baseballs. The ball is also signed by Cobb and his Tigers teammates Harry Heilman, Oscar Vitt, Donie Bush, Howard Ehmke, Jean Duboc, and Hooks Dauss. As is common with 100+-year-old signed baseball, the signatures have faded somewhat over time but all are legible. The Cobb and Heilman are the boldest signatures while the Ruth signature is very legible, written over the Reach logo. The ball has surface wear and appears to be game used, with an abrasion that looks like a bat mark.

Whether the date is 1914 or 1915, it is a very special and historical baseball. If it is from 1914 it is one of the earliest known signed Ruth baseballs. If the ball is from 1915 then we have a ball from the day Ruth pitched the Red Sox to his first ever World Series birth with a ball that is very likely game used based on its condition. Both authentication companies clearly agree that all of the signatures are genuine and that this is one rare and historically significant ball. Comes with a full letter of authenticity from PSA/DNA and full LOA from JSA.

“Both the Williams and Ruth baseballs come with unique stories and a connection to an historic event,” said Ken Goldin Founder of Goldin Auctions. “Williams’ decision to play in the doubleheader and risk finishing the season batting under .400 is one of the great stories in baseball history. Similarly, a Ruth autographed baseball from his Red Sox career is quite rare and a most desired item among collectors.”

Two other balls up for auction come from the remarkable 1968 season when Detroit Tigers pitcher Denny McLain became the last man to win over 30 games in a season. And, with the elimination of 4-man rotations, it is likely that his 31 wins will outlast Williams’ .406 batting average in the record books.

Both balls are personally signed and inscribed by McLain as the final out baseballs from wins #28 (Lot #7) and #31. The ball from his 31st victory (Lot #8) on September 18th is signed Denny McLain and inscribed “31-6, 1968” in black ink while the other ball is signed Denny McLain and inscribed #28 9-6-68 8-3 v Twins. Both baseballs show minor fire damage, but McLain’s signature and inscription are still intact and the balls are still in good condition. The balls comes with a full LOA from Mears, a COA from James Spence Authentication (M01997 & M01999), and a notarized certificate of authenticity signed by McLain attesting to the specific game use of the baseballs.

Several other game balls from baseball greats up for bids include:

Lot #438 – 1971 Tom Seaver game-used and inscribed ball from opening day win over Montreal. This Official N.L. (Feeney) ball was used in that contest and is autographed by the Hall of Famer along with “Open Day Game Ball @ Shea” and “Mets 4, Expos 2” in clear ballpoint pen. Also inscribed in unknown hand is “4.6.71.” Comes with JSA Auction and MEARS LOAs.

Lot #439 – 1972 Steve Carlton game-used and inscribed ball. This Official N.L. (Feeney) ball was used early in that season, as the lefty got the win in his team’s 3-0 victory over the Giants. Carlton, who fanned 14, signed and inscribed the ball “4/25/72 Win #3 Phils 3 Giants 0.” The early-season victory was a sign of things to come, as the future Hall of Famer would win a career-high 27 games and the Cy Young Award in that ’72 campaign. MEARS LOA.

Lot #467 – 2014 Derek Jeter game-used and signed baseball from his last hit at CitiField – In the 7th inning Mets hurler Carlos Torres served this ball up to Jeter who slugged it for a long single, his last hit at Citi Field. The ball shows great game use and Jeter has signed the ball,

For more information about The Goldin Auctions 2015 Opening Day Auctions or to receive a free catalog, visit www.GoldinAuctions.com.

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