Advanced collectors of team-signed baseballs take your best cut at this rare WWII era example. Presented is a 1943 New York Giants team ball signed by (20). Led by HOFers Mell Ott, Carl Hubbell, “Ducky” Medwick and Ernie Lombardi, the ’43 Giants limped to a lackluster last place finish, as these aging stars were all limited to part-time duty that year, while the team’s other stars Sid Gordon, Johnny Rucker, “Ace” Adams and Van Mungo didn’t create much in the way of batting fireworks or pitching dominance. Still team balls from this era are very tough and the overall pleasing quality of the signatures on this fully authenticated sphere make it a prize possession, especially considering the mega-important presence of all-time greats Ott and Hubbell.
Signed by (20) members of the 1943 Giants squad is Spalding No. 1 model ball with “Professional Baseball Fund” reverse sweet spot factory stamp (EX-MT) with a clean off-white to light-cream surface. This incredibly rare ball type was produced in accord with the wartime effort to raise funds to outfit military troops with baseball equipment.
Authenticated with full photo LOA from JSA, the featured autographs are readily discernible, ranging (“3-4” to “7-8”) with:
Sweet Spot: Hugh Poland (d.1984), Gus Mancuso (d.1984)
North Panel: Bill Voiselle, Connie Ryan, Harry Feldman (d.1962), Tom Sunkel, Hugh East (d.1981), Carl Hubbell (“6”, d.1988)
South Panel: Van Mungo (d.1985), Mickey Witek, Sid Gordon (d.1975), Johnny Rucker (d.1985), John Wittig
East Panel: “Ace” Adams, Bobby Coombs, Ken Trinkle (d.1976), Howie Moss (d.1989), Vic Bradford, Bill Sayles
West Panel: Mel Ott (“5”, d.1958)
The presence of three players positively dates this period-signed ball to Spring Training of 1943 or April of that year at the latest, as Poland and Ryan were traded to the Boston Braves near the end of April and noted minor league terror Moss didn’t appear in any big league games in ’43. Worth noting is the interesting tidbit that in a nod to wartime conservation, Commissioner Landis directed MLB teams to restrict travel and conduct Spring Training at or nearby to home in 1943, resulting in some pretty frosty playing conditions.