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8/22/26 Philadelphia A's 1st Sunday Game-Used Baseball From the Estate of A's Trainer E.E. Ebling Family Provenance Letter

Lot Number 584

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Baseball historians turn your attention to this game-used baseball from the first ever Philadelphia Athletics Sunday game. On 8/22/26 Connie Mack and his A's violated Pennsylvania's long-standing "Blue Laws", by hosting the Chicago White Sox for the first ever Sunday game played at Philadelphia's Shibe Park. For those living beyond the borders of the "Quaker State", PA's Blue Laws stemmed from a 1794 morality act intended to keep holy the "Lord's Day". To the chagrin of many PA resident, these laws were kept intact and supported by politicians well into the 20th Century. While cities in other states allowed Sunday games as early as 1902, the authorities in Philly continued to hold out, on the grounds that there could be no "breach of peace among residents in the neighborhood".

Manager and team owner Connie Mack began fighting for the right to play games on Sundays circa 1910. In 1926 he saw an opening, when that year the Philadelphia "Sesquicentennial Exposition" was in deficit and decided to open on Sundays. Mack followed suit, but was blocked by Mayor Kendrick and the police. A Common Pleas Court Judge ruled that those seeking to prohibit Sunday baseball could only do so in court if "their right to quiet and undisturbed religious worship is encroached upon as the result of the game." As courts were closed on Sundays, Mack risked the $4 fine or 6 days' imprisonment and took on the White Sox on Sunday August 22, 1926. With Lefty Grove on the mound, the A's won the game 3-2 and Mack continued to fight for Sunday games, until they became legal in 1934.

From the estate of long-time Philadelphia Athletics trainer E.E. "Doc" Ebling, comes this game-used ball from the first ever A's Sunday game. Presenting in (VG+) condition, this Reach OAL/Johnson ball is totally consistent with the 1926-1927 model used in period American League games, right down to the red and blue stitching. The north panel bears the written notation "Athletics 3-2 Chicago"; and the south panel is written over with "First Sunday Game: Shibe Park, Aug. 22d 1926, E.E.E.". Per an accompanying "Letter of Provenance" from a previous auction sale signed by Ebling's descendant Richard Ebling Wells, these writings are in the hand of "Doc" Ebling. It is reported that the ball was kept in the Ebling family until 1997, when it was first offered for sale. In addition to the signed provenance letter, this ball is accompanied by a signed "Letter of Authenticity" from the "2017 Live Auction at MLB FanFest" and copy of a published account titled "The A's Fight for Sunday Baseball" by Bob Warrington.

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