With a diagnosis of TB and a prognosis of just 6 months to live, Christy Mathewson convalesced at Saranac Lake in New York's Adirondack Mountains. Meanwhile, sportswriter Fred Lieb organized a Polo Grounds charity game between Giants starters and Giants Old Timers, among them Bresnahan, Wiltse and Doyle. Held on September 30, 1921, just before a scheduled Giants/Braves contest, the "Christy Mathewson Testimonial" drew a devoted crowd of 20,000 and raised $45,000 for Matty's cause. A portion of that sum came from the sale of souvenir autographed baseballs—one surviving example of which is proudly presented. Its side-panel inscription in an unidentified hand begins with the period game notation, "9/30/21 New York-Boston," then continues decades later with a 1960s gift message acknowledging the ball's origins: "Purchased at benefit at Polo Ground NY for $10 / To Chris from Grandpa Edwin G. Wright 9/5/67." (The other side panel adds, "In my opinion Mathewson was the great[est] pitcher and a fine man.") Big Six's carefully crafted, largely clear and distinct signature technically rates about "5" strength, yet the bold fountain-pen script displays far nicer, with excellent visual contrast against the light-to-medium-toned surface of its elegant, red-and-blue-seamed sphere. As a point of reference on value, the only time that a similar Mathewson single-signed "Testimonial" ball has surfaced at auction was in 2012, when an arguably inferior example sold for just shy of $45,000. The highest-ever price tag on a Matty single was our own 2007 record sale of $161,000—and we believe this present offering to be even more extraordinary. A truly landmark piece and one of the hobby's most important Mathewson relics! Full LOA from JSA.
This item has a reserve (estimated value $30,000 - 50,000+).