Several Hall of Fame-worthy pieces of baseball history will change hands when Memory Lane Inc’s 2010 Summer Treasures Auction concludes. The southern California-based auction company is offering a pair of rare, historic game-worn baseball jerseys to bidders in this event - www.memorylaneinc.com. Both were once on the backs of two of the game’s greatest stars of the pre-World War II era.
Game-worn flannel jerseys from Carl Hubbell and Charlie Gehringer stand to be the centerpieces of any sports memorabilia collection and Memory Lane is proud to offer these relics from a bygone era in professional sports.
Hubbell, who pitched his entire career for the New York Giants, is represented with a jersey dating to the 1937 season, his last in the city where he made a name for himself by leading his team to three National League pennants. Trivia buffs also know that it was the great Hubbell who struck out, in order, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin at the 1934 All-Star Game.
The jersey is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from MEARS, which has given it its highest rating, an A-10. The LOA indicates that the jersey has significant game use as well as all of the normal tagging for a 1930’s Giants jersey. The tags are in the collar with a button down front. Made of heavy felt, the jersey was worn by “King Carl” as he closed out his brilliant, Hall of Fame career. Minimum bid on the Hubbell jersey is $25,000.
Finding a Charlie Gehringer jersey on the baseball memorabilia market has been impossible—until now. While any shirt from “The Mechanical Man” would be a hobby treasure, the jersey offered in MLI’s auction dates from Gehringer’s rookie season of 1926. It is the only known Gehringer jersey in the hobby.
The Gehringer jersey also comes with a full LOA from MEARS, which reports the jersey carries the characteristics and evident game use of a Tigers jersey from the era. The button-down pinstriped flannel jersey shows heavy game use with tags in the collar. The player ID tag is stitched into the tail.
Gehringer, who batted left-handed and threw with his right, compiled a .320 batting average and had seven seasons with more than 200 hits -- a hit total never reached in a season by Ted Williams or Mickey Mantle and reached only once by Willie Mays.
He was the American League batting champion in 1937 with a .371 average and was also named the American League’s Most Valuable Player. He was among the Top 10 vote recipients in the Most Valuable Player voting for seven straight years from 1932-1938 and was the starting second baseman and played every inning of the first six All Star Games.
Gehringer’s career totals of 2,839 hits and 574 doubles both rank 19th in Major League history. Gehringer also led the Tigers to three American League pennants (1934, 1935, and 1940) and one World Series Championship (1935). He hit .379 and .375 in the 1934 and 1935 World Series.
Gehringer was also one of the best fielding second basemen in history, having led all American League second basemen in fielding percentage and assists seven times. A durable player, Gehringer had two consecutive game streaks of more than 500 games—one from 1927-1931 and the other from 1931-1935. The Gehringer jersey has opened at $10,000.
Few players in history can lay claim to the batting skills of Tris Speaker and one lucky collector will have the opportunity to own one of the tools of his Hall of Fame trade. Memory Lane is offering a 1925-26 era game-used bat once swung by the long-time star. The bat comes with an LOA from PSA/DNA that has rated it GU10.
This particular model is an H&B bat that weighs 37.2 ounces and is 36 Inches long with heavy use and a handle crack that was repaired with eight small nails. Numerous ball marks and deep ball stitch impressions can be seen on all sides of the barrel. This bat features an appearance of factory side writing on the right barrel bearing Speaker’s name and return date. Also on the right barrel, in vintage grease pencil, are the characters “peaker 6-30-26”.
Speaker was one of the game’s most exciting players during his long career that spanned parts of the first three decades of the 20th century. He played in 2789 games, accumulated 3514 lifetime hits and finished with an astounding .345 lifetime batting average. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1937. Bats from this era are rare and the minimum bid on this one is $7,000.
One of the best 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball cards on the PSA Set Registry and the highest known graded 1952 Topps unopened wax pack are also part of the Summer Treasures Auction now underway at Memory Lane Inc.
The Mantle card has been authenticated and graded 8.5 (NM-MT +). Of the other 10 ’52 Mantles graded by PSA, seven are 9s with just three 10s. The authenticated ’52 Topps pack rests in a PSA 8 (NM/MT) holder.
“In my opinion, the 1952 Topps Mantle card stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the cards that have been graded 9,” said Memory Lane’s J.P. Cohen. “The eye appeal of this one is just very, very nice and the opportunity to finally put a card like this into the marketplace is really exciting.”
The card was once graded “8” but recently bumped to an 8.5 after the owner submitted it for re-examination when PSA added the half-grades to its 10-point grading scale. “This is one of those cards that was too nice to really be an 8,” said Cohen. “It’s well deserving of the new recognition that comes with the half grade increase. The owner of this card realized that.”
Is there another 1952 Mantle residing in the high-grade pack that Memory Lane is offering? That’s part of the mystery. The dark-colored wax wrapper makes it impossible to know who is inside or even what series the pack is from. It’s believed that six cards are inside.
Remarkable as it may seem, collectors and investors will be bidding on a virtually pristine 58-year-old pack of baseball cards. You could consider it the ultimate lottery ticket. “This is the highest known graded 1952 Topps pack,” Cohen said. “We’ve put the pre-sale estimate at between $20 and 30,000.” Not bad for something that once cost a nickel. In Memory Lane’s December 2009 auction, an unopened 1952 Topps 5-cent wax pack of lesser quality sold for a hobby record price of $15,406.
PSA Set Registry collectors putting together “Super Sets” of the highest quality will be chasing this rare survivor from another era since the pack is part of the Registry’s checklist.
Nicely preserved, the decorative wrapper has none of the usual flaws that plague most of its counterparts. Its corners are tight, as is the seal, and the package presents just as it did on the candy counter more than half a century ago.
Memory Lane’s Summer Treasures Auction is currently open for bidding. Full color images of all items are available online and in the company’s free auction catalog. For details and to register, visit Memory Lane or call 1-877-606-LANE (5263).