Auction Item Details

Lot 512

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Lot Number: 512

Description: Historic October 5, 1928 Baseball Attributed to Lou Gehrig's World Series Game #2 Home Run. The 1928 World Series featured a rematch of the 1926 contest between the St. Louis Cardinals, who were the class of the National League, and the vaunted New York Yankees coming off of their historic 1927 championship season. Two young men from South Manchester, Connecticut attended the second game of the Series which took place at Yankee Stadium on October 5, 1928. Buddy Kurland and his friend Scotty Stevenson were seated in the right center field area of the bleachers prepared to root their Yankees onto victory against the Cardinals, they certainly could have never expected the good fortune that came upon them on that fall day. Kurland was a partner in "Metter's Smoke Shop" which was located in the Hartford area of South Manchester, CT. The shop was one of areas leading new stands and Kurland, a huge fan of the Yankees and had followed Lou Gehrig dating back to his Minor League playing days on the Hartford team. The Yankees were facing a tall order in Game #2 against the Cardinals ace Grover Cleveland Alexander. Alexander had dominated the Yankees in their previous meeting during the 1926 World Series and the Bombers were anxious to atone for that drudging. They wasted no time in doing so as two men reached base in the first inning bringing Lou Gehrig to the plate. Gehrig did not disappoint the Yankees faithful as he belted a pitch by Ole' Pete into the right center field bleachers for a three run home run. Imagine the anticipation felt by Buddy Kurland as the ball hurtled toward his seating area only to have another fan knock his hat over his eyes and thusly dropped the home run ball that had, for a moment, been in his hands. As reported by legendary radio sportscaster Graham McNamee, "There she goes into the bleachers in center field. Someone is trying to catch it. He's got it. No, he hasn't. It's his error, the first error of the day. It has fallen from his hands and everybody else is trying to find it" During the chaos and scrum of the events Buddy Kurland's friend, Scotty, who was attending his first World Series game had remained fixed within his seat. When Kurland dropped the ball Scotty calmly reached down, picked up the ball, and placed it in his pocket. Shortly afterward Scotty presented the historic souvenir to a surprised and overjoyed Kurland. As recounted in detail within an accompanying period news article from the Hartford, CT newspaper Buddy Kurland spoke extensively to the surrounding crowd that day about his plans to display the ball in the window of Metter's Smoke Shop. Kurland explained that the ball would be dressed with a black velvet liner "because the ball is dead. It will never be played again." According to period newspaper accounts and family history the baseball was in fact displayed at Metter's Smoke Shop on the black velvet Kurland had promised. Offered is the actual treasured baseball obtained by Kurland and Stevenson as hit by Lou Gehrig in the 1928 World Series. The Ban Johnson American League baseball presents with appropriate evident use and moderate age toning inclusive of a pronounced area of impact to one panel. A very light clear coating was applied in the period which has nicely preserved the ball and inscription. Inscribed in period fountain pen across the side panels and sweet spot, "Lou Gehrig Home Run Oct. 5, 1928 World Series 2nd Game Yanks-Cards Ruth on 1st Durst on 2nd Pitcher-Grover Alexander". Included with the baseball is a period cabinet mounted original image of Metter's Smoke Shop picturing two gentleman standing in front including Buddy Kurland. Additionally included is a period newspaper article (attached to a scrapbook page) which was printed in the Herald newspaper back in 1928 fully chronicling the events of Kurland obtaining the ball. Amazingly, within the article is a quote from Lou Gehrig himself as asked about the home run after the game noting his wish to have the ball for his collection (see auction lot introduction page from this catalogue for full quote by Gehrig). The baseball descended directly within the Kurland family and is being presented for the first time publicly within this auction after 84 years. Within our previous auction venues over the last twenty years we have had the distinct honor to offer many of the most historic Babe Ruth home run baseballs to have entered the marketplace to include: 1933 All-Star Game Inaugural home run baseball ($805,000), May 25, 1935 Babe Ruth 712th career home run baseball ($172,500), and July 22, 1934 Babe Ruth 702nd Home Run baseball ($264,500). By comparison, Lou Gehrig home run baseballs of import are exceedingly rare with the offered exemplar rating among the most significant to have been discovered to date. As such, based on provenance and significance of the home run itself within the history of Gehrig's career and World Series play we feel confident in placing this particular baseball onto a very short list of the most important specimens extant of their type. We close this description with the final paragraph as printed in the accompanying Herald newspaper article, "World's Series games have productive of two of the most treasured events in Buddy's life, so he says. It was at a world series game a few years ago that he found his wife and married her right after the game. Buddy has not regretted this step in his life's career. He says it was one of his luckiest moves. Now the capture of the historic baseball furnishes a memory which he thinks will never die." Includes LOAs from Hunt Auctions (baseball), JSA (period ink inscription), Original Herald Newspaper article, Original Metter's Smoke Shop cabinet photograph, and letter of provenance from the Kurland family: EX

Estimated Price Range: ($100,000-$200,000)

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