A baseball signed by 11 of Major League Baseball’s original Hall of Fame inductees in 1939 and a Bobby Orr circa 1972 Boston Bruins game-worn jersey headline the Lelands Spring 2019 Classic Auction, which opened for bidding Tuesday and runs through June 7.
The baseball includes the signatures of 11 original Hall of Fame members, who were all present at the inaugural induction ceremony in Cooperstown in June 1939. Among the autographs are Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, Cy Young, George Sisler, Tris Speaker, Eddie Collins, Connie Mack, Grover Cleveland Alexander and Nap Lajoie. The autographs on the ball were collected that day by Eddie Rommel, a star pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1920s and early 1930s and later an American League umpire. Rommel was in Cooperstown for the ceremony and obtained the signatures. Last year, a similar 1939 HOF induction class signed ball sold at auction for $623,000.
The ball is one of 42 pieces consigned to Lelands by the Rommel family including a 1924 Yankees team signed baseball that features a Lou Gehrig rookie era signature. Given that Gehrig appeared in just 10 games in the 1924 season and his official rookie season was 1925, it’s one of the earliest Gehrig-signed baseballs. A game-worn Rommel Athletics uniform, a Dwight Eisenhower “Opening Day” baseball signed to Rommel and a number of original photographs.
Fresh to the market, the Orr jersey is circa 1972. Signed on the front, the jersey shows at least 12 repairs on right sleeve, according to Lelands, with repaired elbow threading which “suggests the sleeve may have been torn off during a fight.” It’s the second major Orr piece offered by Lelands this year. In its last auction, Lelands sold an Orr 1966 Topps USA Test #35 PSA 9 for a world record $204,000– the second highest amount ever paid for a hockey card.
The current auction also features Knicks legend Walt Frazier’s game-worn jersey from Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals, which the company calls “one of the ten most important basketball jerseys ever offered for public sale.” In the historic, series-clinching win over the Lakers that gave the Knicks their first title, Frazier had an astounding 36 points, 19 assists and seven rebounds in what is considered the best Game 7 performance in NBA history. The jersey was given by Frazier to a Knicks ball boy not long after the Finals has been photo-matched to Game 7, which took place 49 years ago Wednesday.
Another centerpiece of the auction is a phenomenal collection of Pittsburgh Steelers game-worn jerseys directly from the team’s archive, including those worn by Lynn Swann, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Jack Lambert, Mel Blount and Jack Ham, among others. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the jerseys will be donated to the Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research.
The auction also boasts Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis’ last-ever game-worn jersey – from the 1962 Coaches All-America Game – as well as a Syracuse football game-used ball carried by Davis during the team’s 1959 National Championship season, a 1959 Syracuse team-signed football, a 1956 Jim Brown Syracuse career trophy game ball and Floyd Little’s 1973 Pro Bowl game-used jersey. Among the other football memorabilia up for bid is an extremely rare 1940s Sammy Baugh Washington Redskins team-issued and game-used jacket.
The Lelands Spring 2019 Classic Auction also features an extremely rare original photo of the 1914 Baltimore Orioles minor league club–including a 19-year-old Babe Ruth. Standing casually on the far right of the photo, Ruth would win 14 games by midseason before being sold to the Boston Red Sox.
Other auction highlights include the earliest known baseball photos of Cap Anson, a 1952 Topps complete set with a PSA 5 Mickey Mantle rookie, a newly discovered and highest-ever graded Ty Cobb 1917-20 M101-6 Felix Mendelssohn card, Yankees star Aaron Judge’s first career grand slam ball and the 1968 American League MVP Award presented to Denny McLain for his 31-win season.
Also up for bid is Pete Rose’s 3,772 hit baseball in 1982 – which moved him past Hank Aaron into second place on the all-time hits list – as well as a 1973 Brooks Robinson signed, game-used Baltimore Orioles jersey, a 1957 Harmon Killebrew Washington Senators game-worn jersey from a time when he wore #12 rather than his more familiar #3, a 1948 Leaf #8 Satchel Paige rookie card, a Ty Cobb signed photo and a 1993 Toronto Blue Jays World Series Championship Owner’s Trophy.
The auction also includes some historic and rare boxing memorabilia, headlined by a 1910 E78 SGC graded complete set and an 1889 N386 Spaulding & Merrick Canada Chop John L. Sullivan SGC 20, considered one of the holy grails of boxing cards. Other highlights include Sonny Liston’s robe from his 1968 fight with Henry Clark, Jake LaMotta 1946 fight-worn trunks, a 1971 Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier “fight of the century” on-site fight poster signed by both, and a program and ticket from the historic 1892 John. L. Sullivan vs. James J. Corbett fight.
In addition to the Orr game-worn jersey, other hockey memorabilia being offered includes a Bobby Clarke late 1970s Philadelphia Flyers game-worn jersey, a Frank Brimsek 1940-41 Boston Bruins game-worn jersey, a mid-1930s New York Americans wool hockey jersey and a Mario Lemieux 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins game-worn jersey.
“This is one of the most diverse auctions we’ve had in years – one that’s packed with unique and important pieces,” said Lelands Chairman and Founding Partner Josh Evans. “From the 1939 Hall of Fame baseball and Orr jersey to the Frazier 1970 Game 7 NBA Finals jersey and the finest boxing collection up for bid in decades, this auction has something for everyone.”
Bidding is underway now at Lelands.com.