It was acquired by a 13-year-old fan befriended by a player over 44 years ago.
Since then, it's been sitting inside a paper bag for all but an hour or so. It could have fetched a few thousand dollars in a major auction, but a 1965 Green Bay Packers autographed game ball is instead heading to the team's Hall of Fame at Lambeau Field.
The ball, in near mint condition, contains autographs from at least three dozen players and coaches including Vince Lombardi. Wisconsin resident Chris Morey, then 13, received the ball Oct. 10, 1965, after the Packers' 27-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field.
Morey's father, Jay, took Chris to his first Packers game that day, and the two later went out for a meal before heading home. A number of Packers were at the restaurant and defensive end Lionel Aldridge gave Chris the ball.
An avid collector of baseball cards at the time, young Morey had the appreciation and foresight to take care of the ball and kept it stored and out of light for the past 45-plus years, only occasionally bringing it out to show family or friends.
"Knowing I received a gift, I knew I just wanted to hold it and decide one day what to do with it," Morey said. "I thought one day this would have some historical value. Football was very big in my family growing up; my grandma was a huge fan. I knew that someday it'd be nice to have. The Lombardi signature was invaluable to me. I had to keep it."
Not wanting to make an awkward decision to choose one of his two sons as an eventual recipient, Morey recently thought about selling the piece of Packers memorabilia, but ultimately decided the best place for the ball was in the Packers Hall of Fame. "We wanted to keep our family's name associated with ball," Morey said. "If the Packers Hall of Fame wanted it, we felt its home should be there. We felt thousands of fans would enjoy viewing it, and our grandson can go there one day and say, 'That's my grandpa's ball.'"
The ball was donated in a case affixed with placards that read, "1965 Green Bay Packers, World Champions," and "Football Donated by Chris Morey and Family, Monona, Wisconsin."
"It's in fantastic condition, among the best I've seen from that era," said Hall of Fame Director and Archivist Tom Murphy. "The Lombardi teams are, obviously, considered among the best in NFL history, and to have this gem from the '65 championship team in our collection is outstanding for the Hall, and of course for all Packers fans that visit. We're very appreciative of the Morey family's donation."
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