Major League Baseball Team Signed Sheets
As the nation celebrated its summer holiday with picnics and parades, 61,000 New Yorkers sat in stunned silence. Their great American hero, the self-proclaimed “luckiest man on Earth,” was quietly informing them that he had caught “a bad break” and must retire from baseball. Two hundred miles away, a young Boston-area boy named Tom Jacob turned off his radio and planned his next letter.
He’d mail it two weeks later, on July 18, 1939 explaining to the dying first baseman that he was building a collection of autographs to mark the Baseball Centennial, and requesting that he sign the carefully designed sheet he had created to document the winners of the American League Most Valuable Player Award. He instructed Gehrig to sign in the blanks for the years 1927 and 1936.
Gehrig would honor the request with not two autographs on the enclosed sheet but four, and a fifth on the back of Tom’s returned letter with a handwritten message insisting that he had won four MVP’s, not two, and that he had the trophies to prove it. In point of fact, both the youngster and the legendary Yankee were technically correct-Gehrig had also been honored by The Sporting News for seasons that the Baseball Writers Association had made other choices.
Very few autographs signed by the Iron Horse after his heartbreaking farewell exist in the collecting community, but those rare and important signatures represent just a small portion of the intrigue that this special archive contains. From MVP’s to executives, from team sheets to inaugural class Hall of Fame rosters, this remarkable labor of love brings the Centennial season to life unlike any collection we’ve encountered. It’s unquestionably one of the most important autograph archives to surface in the hobby.
From baseball to the Olympics, this collections contains objects from the sporting world.