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Boys of Summer '55 Title Team Ball a Keeper

Bill Wagner - Babe Waxpak by Bill Wagner, "Babe Waxpak"
November 20, 2005

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Discuss in the Collector Zone

Dear Babe: I have a baseball signed by the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers.
Steven Channing, Durham, N.C.

The Boys of Summer ended decades of frustration by whipping the Yankees to win the World Series that year. It was their first and only title while in Brooklyn. Aside from New York Yankees baseballs, when it comes to team-signed baseballs, they don't get much better than a '55 Dodgers ball. MastroNet.com auctions sold one for $4,375 in its recent August sale. That's a tad higher than most average balls, said Mike Gutierrez, owner of www.mgauction.net in Arizona. A pristine white baseball with bold signatures could sell for as much as $20,000, possibly more, Gutierrez said.

Dear Babe: I have an American League baseball (signed new and never used in a game) that contains the following signatures: Babe Ruth, Jimmie Dykes, Zeke Bonura, S.G. Bordagaray, Dixie Walker, Ted Lyons, George Earnshaw, Lefty Gomez (twice), Red Rolfe, Evar Swanson, Ben Chapman and umpire George Moriarty. The ball was signed at Comiskey Park in Chicago on May 23, 1934, before a White Sox-Yankees game. My father's company, the Illinois Bell telephone company, was having a father-son dinner that evening and two members of the dinner committee went to the park that afternoon and obtained signatures on two baseballs. That evening, the "trophies" were raffled off. I was 11 at the time and was fortunate to win one. Considering its age, it is in remarkably good condition. I have kept it in a clear Lucite box, covered on all sides, for several years.
Charles Conway, Buford, Ga.

You'll be happy that you have kept the ball protected all these years. It's worth $2,500-$4,000 thanks to Ruth's signature, according to Mike Gutierrez, owner of MGAuction.net in Arizona.

Dear Babe: We have four large totes of boxed baseball cards. They were the collection of our son's father-in-law. We have partial sets and full sets from 1982 through 1990 in two of the totes. The cards are from Fleer, Donruss, Upper Deck and Topps. They are all boxed sets and in good condition.
Mary Nell Gifford, Highland, Calif.

Your best bet is to pick up a copy of a Beckett Baseball monthly guide or a copy of Tuff Stuff. You'll be able to find values there. A card shop, major bookstore or stores such as Shopko and Target with good magazine sections will have the guides. The sets you listed are not extremely valuable because they are newer and from the period when mass production was the order of the day. If the other boxes have older sets, they may be worth more, as will newer upper-end products.

Dear Babe: I have an Official Gillette League (World Series Special) ball. The names on it include Willie Mays, Willie Davis, Ernie Banks, Nelson Fox, Felipe Alou, Jim O'Toole, Juan Marichal, Gus Triandos, Roy McMillian and Ray Sadecki. Most of the names are well-penned. A few are a little worn.
Timothy Watts, Pittsburgh

The Gillette ball has stamped signatures and was available through a mail-in offer in the days when the razor company sponsored big league baseball games on TV. Most folks say these baseballs (there was another with American League stars on it) have no value. I've also been told that a really nice ball still might attract some interest. I didn't take care of the ones my grandfather got for me (he used Gillette Blue Blades) and most of the signatures on my baseballs have faded away.

Dear Babe: I have a St. Louis Cardinal popcorn box from the 1982 World Series signed by Bowie Kuhn, Lee MacPhail and Chub Feeney. As I got an autograph from each, he tried to write larger than the one before.
James Komoroski, Kansas City, Mo.

It looks like $50-$100 for this trio of baseball executives, said Mike Heffner, president of www.lelands.com/auctions in New York. For the record, Kuhn was the commissioner back then, while Feeney was president of the National League, while MacPhail was his American League counterpart back in the days when each league had a president. MacPhail is the only one of the three who has a spot in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

BABE NOTE: Hockey's back and that means another season of Upper Deck cards distributed by McDonald's restaurants throughout Canada. This year's 51-card set will be available starting Nov. 22. The set will include No. 1 draft pick Sidney Crosby, the 18-year-old Penguins rookie.

As always, there will be plenty of inserts along with memorabilia and autograph cards that will be available through mail-in redemptions for those who get "instant win" cards in their packs. Insert sets include Superstar Spotlight, Top Scorers, NHL Next Generation, The Goalie Factory and CHL checklists. Redemption cards could earn collectors jersey cards, patch cards, autographed cards, goalie gear cards and Plexiglas cards.

"This is a great way to introduce cards to new collectors, especially kids," said Ian Jones, sales manager-premiums/promotions for UD.

Packs will cost 99 cents each with a purchase of fries, drink, hash brown or side salad. There's a limit of three packs per qualifying purchase. The cards will be available through the end of the year or while supplies last, said Ron Christianson, communications manager for McDonald's Canada.

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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