Memorabilia from two of the greatest right-handed pitchers in major league history — 60 years apart — is up for grabs in the Huggins and Scott 2019 spring auction, which ends Thursday.
A check signed in 1922 by Christy Mathewson and a 1982 “Tequila Sunrise” game-used autographed jersey of Nolan Ryan are the highlights in the auction, which will close beginning with the 30-minute rule at 11 p.m. on May 9.
Mathewson’s check, drawn on the Adirondack National Bank of Saranac Lake, New York, was for $50 and dated July 14, 1922. It was made out to “Cash,” and was signed by Mathewson.
The Hall of Fame right-hander, who won 373 games, lived in Saranac Lake as he tried to recuperate from exposure to poisonous gas during the tail end of World War I. The check is graded mint 9 by PSA/DNA and was signed in black ink with a steel fountain pen.
Mathewson’s money pitch was the deceptive fadeaway, but there was nothing coy about Ryan’s bread-and-butter pitch. The Hall of Famer out of Texas relied on a blazing fastball, and later, a circle change-up that baffled hitters expecting heat. Ryan won 324 games and struck out 5,714 batters during his 27-year career.
By 1982, Ryan was a fixture with the Houston Astros. The uniform for sale in the Huggins and Scott’s auction is from a season that saw Ryan go 16-12 with a 3.16 ERA. Ryan also struck out 245 batters, and during the 1982 season he earned his 200th career victory, a 3-2 win against Cincinnati at the Astrodome on July 27.
The knit pullover jersey has been authenticated by SGC’s Dave Grob with a “superior” assessment. It is personalized in blue marker with the inscription, “To Cindy, Best Wishes” on the right shoulder. The Astros’ uniforms of the early 1980s were very colorful, and this jersey has a horizontal pattern with bright red, orange and yellow stripes. A large, blue star dominates the jersey, about chest-high, while “Astros” is sewn across the chest in blue twill.
Other items up for auction include a check signed by Babe Ruth in 1945 and a near-mint (PSA 7) 1888 N28 Allen & Ginter baseball card of Cap Anson. Mickey Mantle is represented with a 1952 Topps card graded PSA 1.5 and a 1951 Bowman rookie of the Mick graded PSA 3.5/ From baseball’s earliest days, an 1863 Union vs. Eckford baseball with the date and score (Union 28, Eckford 7) is sure to draw interest.
Auctions outside baseball include a 1986-87 Fleer basketball set that includes a PSA 9 Michael Jordan rookie, a complete set of graded cards from the 1954-55 Topps hockey set, and a pair of tickets from the Muhammad Ali-Sonny Liston rematch in Lewiston, Maine, in May 1965.
Away from sports, a 1959 Fleer Three Stooges unmarked short print checklist that grades PSA 9 is an offbeat item, along with a 2000 Rittenhouse Archives Twilight Zone autographed card of actor William Shatner in near-mint condition. Autographs of performers include Brad Paisley, Snoop Dogg, Who bassist John Entwhistle, John Denver and Hank Williams Jr. There are also memorabilia items from politicians and coins and stamps.