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Ted Williams Prize from Last Opening Day in Washington

Bill Wagner - Babe Waxpak by Bill Wagner, "Babe Waxpak"
April 18, 2005

Dear Babe: When I was working for a major corporation, I was given a prize of two tickets for opening day of the Washington Senators in Ted Williams' last season. I also received a baseball signed by Williams. The ball is an official Reach baseball with Joe Cronin's signature. Later, I added a Williams manager card to the display. The card is printed by T.C.G. and is number 380.
Bob Wilson, Queenstown, Md.

Williams managed the Washington Senators from 1969 through 1972, their first year as the Texas Rangers. Therefore, I assume you went to opening day of the Senators final season in Washington, which was 1971 - the same year as your Topps Williams card. His first year was far and away the best as he took a team that finished 31 games under .500 the year before and turned it into a winner. The Senators were 86-76 in 1969, finishing fourth in the East in the first year of divisional play. Still, the Senators ended up 23 games out of first place. After that, the team went back to its old losing ways, finishing under .500 in Williams' last three seasons at the helm. The ball is worth $350-$500. The card is a 1971 Topps card with little value.

Dear Babe: I have a Babe Ruth watch fob (photos enclosed). It is in pretty good shape. I have had it since I was about 7. I am now 79.
Donald Tuttle, Marquette, Neb.

Thanks to the ever-helpful enclosed photos, I'd say you have a celluloid scorer from around 1935. Ruth's image on the front has him wearing a cap with a "B" on it that looks like the Boston Braves cap he would have worn in 1935, his final season. The back has places to keep track of strikes, balls, innings and runs for both teams. A quick check with Phil Castinetti of Sportsworld in Everett, Mass., a suburb of Boston, and Mike Heffner, president of auction house in New York, confirmed that your scorer is worth $75-$150. Castinetti said they are common. Heffner noted that this was a Quaker Oats premium and that there is also a much rarer version with Ruth wearing a cap with "NY" on it. Those scorers are worth $500, Heffner said.

Dear Babe: My dad has a large photo that he has had for many years. It shows players and managers for the Eastern League in 1905. It has printed on it "Copyright 1905, Weasner photographer, 244 Gen. St., Buffalo, N.Y."
J. Keller, Massillon, Ohio

Based on the photo you sent, it is hard to tell if your dad's photo is damaged or if just a piece of matting that was used to frame it is missing a corner. Assuming it has all the players from the 1905 Eastern League, it might be worth as much as $3,000-$5,000, depending on actual size and condition, said Mike Heffner, president of auction house in New York.

Dear Babe: I have uniform patches for the 125th anniversary of baseball, 25th anniversary of Hank Aaron's 715 home runs and the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's breaking the color barrier in 1947.
Pedro Caberson, Atlanta, Ga.

When it comes to patches, Da Babe always turns to Murf Denny of Bruel, Wis. He sells all three of the patches you have for $25 each. Since these are fairly recent patches, there isn't a premium for patches actually worn on Major League uniforms. Generally speaking, a real patch would have stitch marks, showing it had been worn or possibly have a soft back. Reproductions are sometimes a shade smaller than the originals and have a hard backing, Denny said. He noted that the Robinson patch comes in four flavors. There is a teal version that was worn by the Marlins, one in French the Montreal Expos used, one that says Dodgers that was worn in Los Angeles and then the generic version for everyone else, Denny said.

Dear Babe: I have a 7Up bottle with the great record of John Wooden's achievements at UCLA.
Hal Blankenship, Riverside, Ca.

"These are fairly common," said Richard Mix, who publishes the Commemorative Bottle Checklist & Cross-Reference Guide out of Carrollton, Ga. The bottle is worth $12-$15, he said. Whether the bottle is full or empty doesn't affect value, but could make a difference in desirability, Mix said.

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About the author
Bill Wagner is a veteran journalist with 37 years in the newspaper business as well as being a former Army combat correspondent in Vietnam. He developed the Babe Waxpak sports card column in the 1980s and took over authorship in 1993, expanding into sports memorabilia and autographs as well as answering questions on cards.

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