Marshall Samuel earned four sports championship rings during more than 50 years as a sports public relations official and marketer. One piece of that jewelry — a 1978 World Series ring he was presented because of his duties with the New York Yankees — will be part of Wheatland Auctions Services May 2021 Sports Card & Memorabilia auction that ends on May 23.
Samuel, who died in 2001 at the age of 88, earned four championship rings during his career as a sports executive — two with the Yankees (1977 and ’78), one with the Cleveland Browns (1964) and one with the Cleveland Indians (1948).
Samuel was serving as the Yankees’ vice president of marketing, public relations and broadcasting.
The ring is the highlight of more than two dozen items from Samuel’s collection, which include several autographed baseballs.
According to a 1979 story in the Miami Herald, the 1978 World Series ring has a half-karat diamond surrounded by 21 smaller diamonds — each diamond signifies each of the Yankees’ World Series titles.
The auction listing notes that the inside of the ring is stamped with “Greatest Comeback in History,” commemorating the Yankees’ charge to the A.L. East title after being as many as 14½ games behind the division-leading Boston Red Sox.
The ring comes in its original Balfour box and is made of 14-karat yellow gold. The left shank of the ring has the Yankees’ team logo, while the right shank has Samuel’s name stamped into it.
The baseballs from Samuel’s collection that are heading to auction are loaded with big-name signatures. One ball was signed by 13 different old-timers, including Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, Whitey Ford and Jim “Catfish” Hunter.
Another baseball has a solo signature of Roger Maris, who had ties to both the Indians and Yankees.
A Rawlings 1978 World Series baseball carries a DiMaggio autograph and is personalized with the saying, “To My Friend Marshall, Best Wishes.” There is also a baseball signed by noted artist LeRoy Neiman — a personalized autograph — with artwork by Rick Cerone.
From his days as PR director of the Indians, Samuel also had a baseball signed by 15 members of the Cleveland squad, including Bob Feller, Early Wynn, Al Rosen and Bobby Avila.
Marshall Carradine Samuel was born Sept. 12, 1912, in St. Louis and grew up in Chicago. A star in several sports during his high school career, Samuel played quarterback for four seasons at Beloit College in Wisconsin. He later went on to serve as a lieutenant commander in the Navy during World War II.
He spent more than four decades in sports and is recognized as the father of the sports media guide. Samuel expanded the idea of a brochure to a full blown media guide in 1947 while working for the Chicago White Sox. Samuel wanted writers covering the team to have more information about the players, so the media guide was born.
Samuel’s innovation caught the eye of Indians owner Bill Veeck, who hired him in 1948. As part of the Indians publicity staff, he was one of the members of the front officer who helped “bury” the team’s 1948 World Series pennant flag just beyond the outfield wall at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium after the team was eliminated from the 1949 American League pennant race.
After leaving the Indians, Samuel became a vice president for the Cleveland Pipers, an industrial league basketball team that in 1960 was briefly owned by a young George Steinbrenner.
Samuel ran his own public relations firm while working for the Browns. In 1965 he began working as a public relations consultant for Steinbrenner’s American Ship Building Company in Cleveland.
Marketing was in Samuel’s blood. His father, Benjamin Samuel, was a sales representative of the American Can Co. in Chicago, and his grandfather, Web Samuel, was president of the St. Louis Merchants’ Exchange during the 1870s.
Sports was in Samuel’s blood, too.
“I’ve been a nut about sports all my life,” Samuel told the Miami Herald in 1979. “I was a jock way back.”
After a stint as general manager of the Fort Lauderdale Yankees in the late 1970s, Samuel was the New York Yankees’ spring training coordinator during the late 1980s and early 1990s. After 20 years with the Yankees, Samuel joined the Baltimore Orioles as a consultant in 1996, when he was 83.
He later retired to South Florida and died in Delray Beach on June 26, 2001.