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'56 Rose Bowl Pennant Features MSU Spartan

Bill Wagner - Babe Waxpak by Bill Wagner, "Babe Waxpak"
June 5, 2005

Dear Babe: I have a pennant from the Pasadena Rose Bowl dated 1956 with the seating stub attached to it. It was USC vs. Michigan State. It is in mint condition. The background is green and the printing is white. It has a picture of the Trojan mascot with the Rose Bowl Pasadena in the center. On the tip it says "Michigan State." It is 30 inches in length and 10 inches tall. It is made of felt with ties holding it on a green bamboo cane. The Pasadena Rose Bowl ticket stub is attached on three sides with staples.
David Miller, Riverside, Calif.

Sometimes Da Babe can't see the forest for the trees, but Dave Stark of Pennantking.com in San Diego cleared away the branches. Michigan State, which beat UCLA 17-14 on a late field goal to win that 1956 Rose Bowl game, is the Spartans. A Spartans logo might look like a Trojans logo.

Keep in mind that if it has something stapled to it, it is not in "mint" condition. "I would have to see it to say for sure, but it sounds like a typical Michigan State version of the (Rose) Bowl pennant. The Spartan can look very much like the USC Trojan and that was the case this year," Stark said. Most pennants have a large Spartan with a sword. "There are some minor variations of this pennant, but there are quite a few undated ones around in quantity and great shape," he said. Top of the line pennants sell for $85. The value drops to $65 and below for pennants with damage, including pinholes and probably staple holes as well. "Dated versions can run upward of $125," Stark said.

But wait, don't forget about that ticket stub. It is worth about as much as the pennant. I'd put it at $50-$75.

Dear Babe: I bought an autograph baseball signed by Ken Griffey Jr. and Sr. Both signatures are on the sweet spot. It also comes with a COA. Now that Junior is part of the 500 club, I don't know how much that would increase the ball's value.
Brendan Love, Blue Springs, Mo.

Even with his 508 home runs, Junior isn't the darling of the fans that he once was. There was a lot made when Junior and Senior played together, but the value is for items with just Junior's signature. I checked with Mike Gutierrez, owner of MGAuction.net in Arizona, who put a single-signed Ken Griffey Jr. baseball in the $75-$100 range. It probably would cost more than that these days to get a ball signed by Junior, but there is no shortage, so values for previously signed items are low. Based on that, I'd say the ball signed by the father/son duo is worth $50-$75, probably more toward the bottom of that range since it can only be displayed with both names showing.

Dear Babe: I have a Honus Wagner Official League Ball with a registered trademark that says Honus Wagner Co., Pittsburgh, U.S.A. There is a handwritten date on it of 1935. It is signed by what appears to be the 1935 Pittsburgh Pirates. The legible signatures include among others Floyd Waner, Paul Waner, Babe Herman, Waite Hoyt, Arky Vaughn and Wagner. Babe Pinelli, who I do not think played for the Pirates, also signed the ball.
Mark Hoelscher, Canton, Ga.

I guess having a Wagner ball is the next best thing to an official league ball for the Pirates. That 1935 team finished fourth in the National League. Possibly the squad's biggest claim to fame is that the Pirates gave up Babe Ruth's last three career homers in a game at Forbes Field. It appears you have all the key signatures. The ball is worth $500-$1,000. Pinelli was a National League umpire from 1935 through 1956. I don't think his signature will affect the value, although it would be his "rookie" year.

Dear Babe: I have a scorecard from the Yankees 1984 home opener vs. the Minnesota Twins with Roger Maris' autograph on it.
Rick Davis, Rancho Mirage

The program signed by Maris is really a gloried "cut" signature since the program is from after his playing days. I'd say it's worth $150-$200. As Mike Breeden, a Tuff Stuff columnist and autograph expert, said "Maris signed plenty of more collectible items, so this one would be on the lower end of the range for him."

BABE NOTE: Detroit fans have four more chances to pick up Upper Deck cards of Tigers players past and present. The remaining giveaways will occur June 4 (Carlos Guillen sponsored by Hap), July 17 (Mark Fidrych - Jim Riehl's Friendly Automotive Group), Aug. 7 (Magglio Ordonez - SBC) and Sept. 11 (Trammel - 3 Dimensional Services). Cards go to the first 10,000 fans at each game. In addition, some fans will have a chance of getting athlete memorabilia via a scratch and win card program. The prizes are autographed baseballs for Ordonez & Guillen and authentic Mitchell & Ness jerseys for Fidrych and Trammel. Two other players' cards - Al Kaline (McDonalds) and Ivan Rodriguez (Carpenters and Millwrights) were given away earlier in the season.

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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