Rare Ed Walsh Single Signed Baseball
Finest Condition, 7.5 PSA
This wonderful single comes our way from an extensive Hall of Fame collection that we were fortunate to purchase. As the saying goes, it has not seen the "light of day" for decades. Fresh indeed, it was signed circa 1946 by this great pitcher. 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 early period.
Few baseball fans thought to have the early greats sign a baseball, which was a difficult and expensive task at the time. Many of those fortunate enough to acquire a single signed baseball 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 collecting, “more means less". Somehow, this one fortuitously remained as a "single", thus turning it into an ultra rarity in the hobby; especially since it remains unblemished and in flawless condition.
How good and 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 inducted years later in the 1970's when the voters opened the doors to so many marginal players.
About the Ball Itself
This Spalding Official League model, remains in its original state, free of any marks, scuffs or other imperfections. Big Ed's autograph in black fountain pen ink, is large, dark and bold. As fine an example as you will find. Additionally he has added the "Chicago White Sox" inscription under his signature, as well as "Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, New York" on another panel. Also, he has drawn the White Sox logo on the sweet spot - another wonderful addition. We know of another Walsh single with just one inscription and his artwork. That specimen fetched over $14k in a popular 2012 auction. This one is by far a significantly finer example in every respect.
While we respect PSA’s strict grading standards for signed baseballs (we even encourage it) we firmly believe this one warrants a higher designation. The ball itself is absolutely unblemished, never used, and in flawless condition. In short, it looks as if it has just been removed from its original box. It bears only the slightest toning, which actually attests to its originality. The autograph and inscriptions are all dark and bold. They have assigned the ball an overall grade of 7.5 - with both the ball and writing each a "7". They have also assigned a half point for its special "eye appeal" (well at least that helps support our position).
Nonetheless, we can honestly say that it is among the finest Walsh singles in the hobby. It's as simple as that, and it will nicely fill that missing hole in any high grade Hall of Fame collection. Conservatively graded and certainly one that will impress any knowledgeable collector.
Perfect for a registry set and accompanied with the PSA Graded Letter of Authenticity, as well as a JSA Letter of Authenticity. For the collector who demands only the best.