Ed Walsh Single Signed Baseballs
b.1881 - d.1959
Notable Team: Chicago White Sox
HOF Induction: 1946
ERA: 1.82 (1st All-time)
WHIP: 1.0 (2nd All-time)
Brigandi Single Signed POP: 13
(does not include personalized, multi-signed or low quality)
Brigandi Rarity: 5
(Scale 1-5. 1: Common. 5: Scarcest)
This rarity appears on virtually all want lists--it's that tough to locate in any condition. Elected to the Hall in 1946, Walsh passed away in 1959, long before the collecting craze hit the hobby decades later. There were few opportunities to obtain his autograph on any medium during that short window.
Few baseball enthusiasts thought to have the early greats sign a baseball, which tended to be expensive and a bit difficult to locate. Virtually all of those recipients later added more signers to the ball, turning it into a "multi-signed" example. Paradoxically in our hobby that actually reduces its value. Yes, in the world of baseball autograph collectors "more means less". An Ed Walsh "single", is an ultra- rarity in the hobby; especially in high grade.
How good--how important--is "Big" Ed Walsh (1881-1959) in baseball history? For starters, this White Sox hurler owns the lowest lifetime ERA in baseball--a staggering 1.82! For the new age analytic guys who may not fully appreciate the ERA stat, his career WHIP is 1.00 and his ERA+ is also the lowest at 2.02. All of that during a 14 year career. That alone clearly cements his credentials for Cooperstown. In addition, this workhorse averaged 375 innings per season between 1907 and 1912. He actually hurled 464 innings one season, as well as 422, 393, 369 and 368 in others. That's hard to believe, especially in light of today's accepted pitching standards. Did we mention that he's one of just two pitchers to record 40 wins in one season? (The other Jack Chesbro).
We've discussed many times in the past that evidence of a player's true greatness is his early election to the Hall of Fame. In this case Walsh was elected in 1946. In simpler terms, the voters thought enough of his career to make certain he was selected before other important candidates. We must keep in mind The Hall opened only seven years earlier (1939). He was not part of the group of players inducted years later in the 1970's when the veteran’s committee opened the doors to so many marginal players.
Walsh has a very appealing signature, legible, and typically bold. You can tell he tended to take his time and put a lot of pride and care into each autograph. It can take up the entire sweet spot or even the entire side panel. He usually added his middle initial too, "Ed A. Walsh" (Augustine). Walsh's pen pressure was strong and most well-preserved examples are still dark and bold today.
Inscriptions in general were quite rare during Walsh’s lifetime, but in the handful of examples known to exist there are actually quite a few 'singles' with inscriptions. Inscriptions include “Hall of Fame" "Cooperstown, New York” “Chicago White Sox”.
Additionally, and more impressively, there are three known examples of Ed Walsh drawing the a large White Sox logo. These are unprecedented and very impressive! They should be considered at a significant premium!
In our history we've only seen about 13 examples ever offered publicly by a dealer, collector or at auction. (3 of which include the White Sox logo drawing.)
See pics below of all the Ed Walsh single signed baseballs we've seen. (All certified by PSA and JSA).