A 30-year accumulation of Brooklyn Dodgers memorabilia comes to market for the first time as Memory Lane launches its 2011 Summer Classics Auction July 30.
The Steve Ross Dodgers Collection includes baseball cards, autographed balls and bats, pennants, programs, yearbooks, autographed books, autographed photos, hats, the collection even includes Ebbets Field seats. The collection was pieced together with an eye for quality, not just quantity…although there is plenty to choose from. It represents a veritable history of one of baseball’s most iconic franchises, from the Dodgers early days in Brooklyn until their cross-country move that broke hearts in Flatbush, but gave rise to a new, wildly successful re-birth in Los Angeles.
As a youngster, Ross was taken to Dodger games at Ebbets Field by his grandfather. A family friend, Dodger coach Jake Pitler, once invited him into the dugout to meet the players. Even though he moved out to the suburbs at age 8, his love for the “Bums” never lessened. As a Little Leaguer, he wore #14 in honor of his hero, Gil Hodges.
Ross’ joy for their 1955 World Series victory was replaced by sorrow in 1957 by their move to Los Angeles. His baseball cards departed with the trash and his autographed baseballs ended up in pickup games. He started to rebuild his Brooklyn Dodger collection in 1980 by way of dealers, card shows and auctions.
Ross’ love for the old Dodgers is captured in the form of numerous team signed baseballs, a variety of other autographed memorabilia featuring Brooklyn greats (and their famous counterparts) and a stunning collection of vintage baseball cards, many ranked among the best in existence, all of them authenticated by PSA.
Among the premier items in the collection are two of the few surviving chairs from the legendary Ebbets Field (MB $1,000 each). The hub of Brooklyn baseball for decades, the ballpark met its end as the 1960s dawned and the Dodgers’ New York era officially came to an end.
Few items signed by Babe Ruth during his stint as a Dodgers coach have survived but among the lots Memory Lane is presenting to collectors is a 1938 Dodgers team-signed baseball featuring not only the Bambino and 20 other members of the club, but fellow Hall of Famers Mel Ott, Leo Durocher and Burleigh Grimes.
The ball is just one of many signed Dodger baseballs available. Collectors can chase those representing the teams of 1940, 1942, 1944, 1948, 1949, 1952, 1954 and 1957 (graded PSA 8.5). Autographs of the team’s brightest stars like Roy Campanella and Jackie Robinson are sprinkled throughout the group and each ball bears authentication from PSA-DNA.
The Steve Ross collection includes several multi-signed pieces including an Ebbets field logo bat that carries 60 different signatures, all in blue Sharpie, including Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Pee Wee Reese and Duke Snider, and a 1952 team yearbook signed by 21 players.
The earliest item in the collection is a 1916 Brooklyn Robins team photo that originated with Casey Stengel. The scarce photo pictures the ‘Ol’ Perfesser’ as a scrappy young player.
Ross had an eye for quality in the Dodger baseball cards he collected. His consignment includes a phenomenal 1952 Topps Jackie Robinson (PSA 8), plus ’52 Topps cards of Roy Campanella and Pee Wee Reese. There is also a PSA 8 John Rutherford. Collectors of the ’52 set realize how hard it is to find that particular card in anything resembling near mint-mint condition.
Also among the lots up for bid will be a 1941 Play Ball Pee Wee Reese, graded PSA 8, a 1949 Bowman Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider rookie card, numerous high grade 1950s Dodgers stars including Campanella, Snider and Hodges.
Other parts of the massive collection will be sold privately via Memory Lane’s website.
Over 1100 lots in all will be offered in the Summer Classics Auction conducted online and via telephone. The auction will begin Saturday, July 30 and close Saturday night, August 20.
Some of the featured lots will be on display at this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL August 3-7. Those who consign items with the company prior to the National will receive a free VIP pass, a $180 value. They will also be meeting with collectors and accepting consignments at its booth in Chicago all week. Contact Memory Lane at (714) 730-0600 for a free catalog, to register for the auction or set up a time to discuss possible consignments.