Tucked in a private collection for years, the baseball believed to be the one Chicago Cubs pitcher Orval Overall tossed for the final out to clinch the team’s last World Series victory in 1908 is up for auction. It could sell for $100,000 or more.
According to Heritage Auctions, the ball was obtained immediately after the game at Detroit’s Bennett Park by Tigers manager Hughie Jennings who later wrote on it: “World Series, Tigers & Cubs, Oct. 14, 1908, From Charlie Schmidt” (the Detroit catcher who was at bat and made the final out to end the series, four games to one).
“This may be the most important piece of historic sports memorabilia for Chicago Cubs fans,” said auction director Chris Ivy.
“After Schmidt hit a weak dribbler, Cubs catcher Johnny Kling tossed it to first baseman and team manager Frank Chance for the final out and the Cubs’ World Series victory. Detroit manager (Hughie) Jennings, one of major league baseball’s earliest souvenir hounds, then obtained the ball directly from Chance,” Ivy stated.
According to Heritage, Jennings gave many of his baseball souvenirs to his girlfriend, Nellis Pearl. This particular ball was among Pearl’s estate items that were privately sold by her heirs a quarter century ago. The consignor, who wants to remain anonymous, says the historic ball has been kept by his family since 1990.
Years later, Ty Cobb was reunited with the baseball and his dated autograph appears on one panel.
Just beneath the stamping of AL President and founder Ban Johnson’s facsimile signature appears a bold “1908,” the first of only two seasons that American League balls were branded in that manner.
Ivy says it’s the first time the ball has been offered publicly with the owner opting to capitalize on the publicity that has followed the Cubs’ first trip to the World Series since 1945 and interest in Cubs World Series memorabilia.
Bidding will conclude online on Saturday November 19.