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Key Signatures Missing from 1941 Dodgers Ball

Bill Wagner - Babe Waxpak by Bill Wagner, "Babe Waxpak"
September 11, 2005

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Dear Babe: I have a 1941 autographed baseball signed by 17 members of the Brooklyn Dodgers team that won the National League pennant. I was 8, and everyone in my family was a Dodger fanatic. In 1941, Ford Frick was president of the National League and his imprinted signature is on the baseball. The names on the baseball include Paul Waner, Dixie Walker, Augie Galan, Billy Herman, Leo Durocher and Dolph Camilli among others. It's a wonderful reminder of the Boys of Summer.
George Ehrhardt Jr., Gainesville, Ga.

Actually, we're talking about pre-Boys of Summer. As you noted, the Dodgers won the N.L. pennant but came up losers in just five games to the Yankees in the World Series. Technically, you don't have enough names for this to qualify as a team-signed ball. Eighteen is pretty much the minimum with most collectors preferring 20-plus autographs. While the ball does have Durocher, Waner and Camilli, it's missing Pee Wee Reese and Joe Medwick and that really hurts. Your ball is worth $300-$400. If it has Reese and Medwick, the value would jump to $800-$1,500.

Dear Babe: A friend of mine has a number of cards that include a 1941 Playball Taft Wright (No. 32), Big League Chewing Gum cards of Babe Ruth (181), Lou Gehrig (92) and Randy Moore (69), along with a card signed by George Scott (385) and a Cap'n Crunch Mike Schmidt card (16).
Bruce Klemme, Seal Beach, Calif.

That's quite a variety. If the Taft Wright 1941 Playball card is an original, it's worth $40-$55 in excellent-mint to near-mint condition, according to Beckett's Almanac of Baseball Cards and The Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards from the editors of Sports Collectors Digest. I cannot tell from the photocopy if the 1933 Goudey Randy Moore card has a back or not. If it does, it's worth $60-$90. I would be careful since the 1933 Goudey Ruth and Gehrig cards are definitely reprints that might be worth a couple of dollars if they are mint. Naturally, that casts doubt on the other two older cards. Folks have been known to trim off the reprint lines. I'd say that 1970 card signed by George Scott might be worth $5-$10 to a Red Sox fan, while a 1989 Cap'n Crunch Mike Card is worth 50 cents to $1.

Dear Babe: I have two unused tickets and a ticket stub (photocopies enclosed) from Boston red Sox games at Fenway Park in 1999, 2000 and 2002.
Maria Vogel, North Andover, Mass.

Unless something historic happened at a game such as a no-hitter or a homer by someone heading to the Hall of Fame such as Manny Ramirez, stubs and even full tickets from recent games have little, if any, value. There might be a little interest in the full ticket that has Pedro Martinez on it if you find someone who collects that player in particular.

Dear Babe: I have a 1991 Donruss Signature Series Cal Ripken hologram-bordered baseball card. It is part of the series that was signed by Ripken. It is numbered 328 of 5,000.
Jeri Bernstein, Norcross, Ga.

Aha, you had me scratching my head looking for a 1992 card. A search of Beckett.com's online baseball price guide, looking for a Ripken card with a run of 5,000 quickly turned up a 1992 Donruss Elite Signature card (S2). The basic Elite set had 10-cards inserted in Series 1 and 2 foil packs. Those cards had a 10,000 print run. There was also a Rickey Henderson Legends card with a 7,500 run. Beckett.com and The Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards from the editors of Sports Collectors Digest list the card at $150-$250 with Beckett having the higher value.

Dear Babe: I have a Sterling Silver platter (tray) with Walter Briggs' portrait and the signatures of the 1940 Detroit Tigers etched into the platter. The inscription reads "Presented to the American League Champs from the Baseball Citizens of Detroit." I cannot find any information about this piece. Would you happen to know the history of this platter? Was it the only one given to the team or was every player given one? My wife's grandfather, Red Kress, was a member of the 1940 Detroit Tigers, and that platter has been in the possession of his family since his death in 1962.
David Frazier, Pomona, Calif.

The serving platters were given to all players on the team, said Mike Heffner, president of Lelands.com auction house in New York. Heffner said he has seen a few of them over the years. He valued your plate at $3,000-$4,000.

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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