Exceptionally Rare Bobby Wallace Signed Baseball, with Hall of Famers. JSA
Exceptionally Rare Bobby Wallace Signed Baseball
with Hall of Famers: Mickey Chochrane, Bill Terry, Carl Hubbell, Joe Cronin, and Bill Dickey
Only the second ball we've owned in our 60 year history bearing this early Hall of Famer's autograph. To our knowledge only a handful of these exist. We are aware of one single-signed specimen (in less than satisfactory condition) that was hammered down at 19,000.00 in a 2018 auction (in the rare coin business these subpar types are known as "fillers, simply spot-holders in a collection). Otherwise, a Bobby Wallace-signed ball has not been offered for sale. This one hails from a large collection we were fortunate to purchase. Other items in that collection are equally impressive and once catalogued will be offered for sale.
Roderick J. Wallace, better known as "Bobby" (1873-1960), was elected early to the Hall by the Veterans Committee, in 1953, so recognized by the baseball community as one of the greatest hitting and fielding shortstops of his generation. Playing for the 1890's Cleveland Spiders (forerunner of the Indians) and later the St. Louis Browns (1902-1916) and Cards, he ranked among his league's leaders in hits, rbi, slugging, total bases, doubles, triples and walks. And his fielding was even better, generally recognized as the best of his era.
No wonder he was an early inductee to the Hall. He is a prime example of why the original Veterans Committee was put in place. The rationale was simple: at the time most of those baseball writers voting for a candidate's eligibility never saw the older 19th Century players perform. The Veterans Committee was set up specifically for purposes of evaluating those old timers. It was comprised at various times of baseball executives, both league presidents, baseball historians and some older sports writers, all of whom actually saw those old timers play. In later years, however, this committee was permitted to vote for ANY retired player, irrespective of when he played. In the late-1960's to mid-1970's that led to some questionable inductions.
In the nascent years of the Hall of Fame's voting, receiving the requisite number of votes for enshrinement was no easy task--either you were legitimately deserving, or you were not. No doubt Bobby Wallace was deserving. As a brief aside, the history of this committee is quite fascinating; if you love the game as much as we do, we highly recommend reading some of the material written about it. Bill James is a great start).
This Wonderful Ball--A Labor of Love
The original owner was a baseball lover, evidently traveling to Cooperstown regularly for the induction ceremonies. This ball was apparently one of his labors of love. The Roderick J. (Bobby) Wallace autograph is featured in green fountain pen ink. It is a beauty, dark and bold, and fully legible. For certain, the few Wallace-signed balls we've seen are this eye-catching.
The following year Mickey Cochrane penned his name to the sweet spot. That great Hall of Famer (1903-1962), Mantle's namesake, added the inscription, "Best Wishes, Hall of Fame 1946". In subsequent years Hall of Famers, Joe Cronin, Bill Dickey, Carl Hubbell and ultimately Bill Terry in 1957 affixed their names to this unused and unblemished official league baseball.
(the Fred C. Clarke autograph is of the clubhouse variety - please see JSA LOA)
All of us collect because we love the game itself. We find the history and the tales fascinating. We love searching for items that have wonderful stories and specific accounts attached to them. This is one of those items. It is special, it is significant, particularly for those who love early baseball and the early development of the Hall of Fame.
If you are assembling a high grade collection of baseballs autographed by hall of famers, this is one of the few opportunities you will have to locate an authentic Bobby Wallace. They're that rare--he passed away long before it was fashionable to collect signatures on baseballs themselves--and this example is as fine as you will see. Relative to its scarcity, the strength of the signatures and overall condition, the ball is grossly underpriced. Good, solid value, it will fill that missing hole in your baseball autograph collection.
Accompanied by the all-important Letter of Authenticity by JSA Letter of Authenticity.