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Holloman's First and Only Win Was a No-Hitter

Bill Wagner - Babe Waxpak by Bill Wagner, "Babe Waxpak"
October 30, 2005

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Dear Babe: I bought a baseball at an auction fundraiser that Bobo Holloman signed along with a description of his only win, which was his first start in the majors. It was a no-hitter pitched on May 6, 1953, for the St Louis Browns. He wrote on the ball "1rst start in majors, no hit, no runs game, St Louis Browns 6-Phil A's 0, May 6, 1953, Best wishes and Happyness (sic), To:________________, God Bless!!, Bobo Holloman"
Ron May, Sandersville, Ga.

Holloman earned a place in history when he tossed that no-hitter in his first Major League start. He pitched poorly as a reliever before that first start and didn't do much after the no-hitter. His career was over after the 1953 season. Aside from misspelling "happiness," it was nice of him to leave the personalization blank. It looks like your ball is worth $75-$150, according to Mike Gutierrez, owner of MGAuction.net in Arizona, and Bobby Mintz, vice president of operations for Houston-based TristarProductions.com. I think $150 might be a stretch.

Dear Babe: My dad took me to a USC football game when I was a kid. I met O.J. Simpson, who gave me a signed picture of himself in a USC jersey. The signature says "To Rick, Best wishes, O.J. Simpson."
Rick Curl, Riverside, Calif.

There are plenty of signed 8x10s of Simpson - sans personalization - in the marketplace. Considering that yours is personalized, I'd say $25 tops.

Don't confuse values for existing 8x10s with the apparent demand for Simpson signatures that was evidenced by the 115 or so folks who paid between $100-$125 to have him sign an item when he made an unscheduled and apparently unwelcome appearance at a booth at The National card show in July in Chicago. Simpson was at a booth for a little more than an hour before he was asked to leave, because dealers are not allowed to bring autograph guests in unless it is part of their contract. Dominique Wilkins was also asked to leave when he tried to sign at another booth. Most folks were paying more for the opportunity to meet Simpson and get the signature themselves (or a picture with him) than just for the signature.

Dear Babe: I have a copy of the 1933 Who's Who in Major League Baseball book published by Buxton Publishing. The book was handed down to me with an interesting story. My great-grandfather, James Iovino, was the photographer for the book. After speaking with my mother, she informed me that the book was special, as it is one of two copies where an article on him was provided on page 62. I am trying to verify if this is the case. Would you be able to tell me if there is some history to this?
Michael Hoffman, Chicago

It's a nice story, but I don't think it's true. The page devoted to your great-grandfather is mentioned in the book's description in The Baseball and Sports Publications Price Guide from 1996 written by David Alexander and Robert Cresthohl. As noted in the past, this first edition of Who's Who was published in hardback. The book has a page devoted to each player with a sepia tone photo showing him in civilian attire. Non-playing personnel, umpires and executives are also included. It's a one-of-a-kind because it proved too costly to continue publishing in this manner. The guide's description reads in part, "Even photographer Jimmie Iovino of the Moffett-Russell photo studios rates a full page. He shot all the portraits in the hotels as each team came to Chicago."

The key to the value of one of these books is whether it has the dust jacket and its condition. A copy with a mint dusk cover is probably worth more than $1,000 based on Internet sales I've seen. The value can drop by as much as 90 percent for a copy with no dust jacket or one that is heavily damaged.

Dear Babe: I have a 1991 Pro Set trading card of Montreal Canadiens goalie Patrick Roy and a 1994 Upper Deck Parkhurst card. Both are autographed by Roy. Also, I have a CCM Montreal Canadiens jersey that Roy signed on the back, adding "33 & ROY."
Erica McKinney, Duluth, Ga.

If you have an authentic game-used Montreal Roy jersey, it's worth $7,500 and up, said Rich Ellis, owner of www.dropthepucks.com/sotg in Minneapolis. He said a signed replica jersey would be worth $500. As for the cards, $20 is about right, said Mike Breeden, a Tuff Stuff columnist and autograph expert.

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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