1934 Spring Training New York Yankees - Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe McCarthy & HOFer Rabbit Maranville Signed Baseball
Spring training is a warm up for the long days of a baseball summer ahead. Young kids take up their position along the fence and wait patiently for their favorite diamond stars to sign. This fortunate fellow had four HOFers sign his Spalding (Star - No. 6-H) baseball in blue pen in the spring of 1934.
First, he had Lou Gehrig sign the sweet spot. Then, the Babe himself - Babe Ruth signed the top panel. Joe McCarthy and Rabbit Marranville autographs capped the end of a perfect day. Now, the ball is fresh on the market and past it's diamond anniversary (80 years and going strong).
In 1934, the elder statesman on the field Rabbit Maranville was trying to play into his forties. With 20+ seasons of wear and tear under his belt, the Gods were not on his side that season. During a spring exhibition game against the Yankees, he severely injured his ankle on a sliding home play. Rabbit missed the season and had a short season the next before hanging up his cleats. We mention this as a footnote to explain how it's possible that this ball was signed before that game or during that series with the Yanks.
And here we go as a must mention... A serious digression caused by a mix of bravado, parlor games and Jim Beam caused another signature to grace the ball in the 1960s - Gino Cimoli of the 1960 World Series Pittsburgh Pirates. We offer our apologies for this happenstance however in consolation (as you are shaking your head) notice the magnificent showcase of either Ruth singly or Gehrig on the sweet with fellow HOFers Rabbit and Joe. Overall, a great Hall of Fame ball with a cautionary tale. Keep any writing implement especially while imbing in your favorite elixir far, far away
JSA Full Letter
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