Autographs Gone, But 1918 World Series Ball Set for Sale

The starting third baseman for the champion Boston Red Sox snared a ball from the Red Sox final 20th century World Series title. Now, the ball–less the Babe Ruth signature it once contained–is about to be sold.

An official American League ball used in the final game of the 1918 World Series headlines an upcoming sale to be conducted by Sportsworld Auctions of Everett, Massachusetts.

The baseball has never before appeared in the sports memorabilia marketplace. It comes from the octogenarian son of Fred Thomas, third baseman for the Red Sox world championship team. Thomas recorded the first out in the ninth inning of the deciding game against the Cubs before 15,238 fans on September 11, 1918. The game at Fenway Park was far from a sellout, but would take on a life of its own as the Sox last world championship victory for 86 years.

Warren Thomas says his father brought the ball home, where it rested in the family home comfortably placed in a wicker basket. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly for the time, It was available for use in games of catch. The ball had been signed by members of the winning team including a young Babe Ruth but they eventually faded as the ball was handled. The signatures were later traced over and the ball was shellacked for preservation. It is not the signatures then, that will bring value and attention to this item, but rather, the historic game from which it comes and the clear provenance.

“We are honored to have acquired this item for auction, and pleased that Warren would select Sportsworld to find its next home,” said Phil Castinetti, president of Sportsworld Auction.

The auction, which goes live online on April 10 and concludes five weeks later, will include:

  • A1967 American League Championship ring from Bosox broadcaster Ken Coleman
  • A collection from Dave “Boo” Ferris (Red Sox star pitcher of the mid-‘40s),
  • Hockey collections from Wayne Cashman, Gary Doak, Wayne Carleton and Don Awrey including all three of Awrey’s Stanley Cup rings and Cashman’s 1972 Summit Series jersey when Canada shocked the USSR with an upset victory in the much heralded international series

The auction also includes a large graded collection of hundreds of T-206 tobacco cards that were discovered several years ago, including multiple copies of Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson and many other Hall of Famers. The cards will be auctioned individually.