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Odd set of signatures

Rick wrote:

Hi -

I'm trying to track down a bit of information.

I have a baseball, signed by members of the 1939 Yankees, that I am assuming was signed during the '39 World Series with the Reds (my father got the ball, and he lived in Cincinnati at the time, and he and his father were huge baseball fans). However, there is one additional signature that I do not understand - Leo Durocher. He was on neither team at that time, but rather was the player/manager for the (Brooklyn) Dodgers. I know that he played for both the Yankees and the Reds in his day, but not around that time.

Is this sort of thing common? Possibly some sort of opening ceremony, where he might have attended?

Anyway, just thought you all may have some idea. Thanks in advance either way.

Rick Ireland


Charlie Haeffners Reply:


I'm guessing that Durocher was visiting some old baseball buddies in the Yankee clubhouse, and simply signed the ball while it was being passed around. Maybe he did it out of habit, or maybe he thought he was being funny. But that's a guess.

Whatever the reason for the signature, it sounds like a great keepsake.

Charlie Haeffner

Rick wrote:

Thank you; I appreciate it. I've been researching the history of a series of signed baseballs I have for some time, and it's fascinating. Being a die-hard baseball fan doesn't hurt either.

I have several such balls, all collected by my father in the late 20's through the late 30's. Unfortunately, there are only 17 that have survived to end up with me, and the stories of each are incomplete. Sometimes the story of a ball is a bit of a let-down. For example, I have a 1938 All-Star ball signed by the starting lineup for the National League; my father never attended the game. His father, a businessman in Cincinnati, received a box of signed balls in a promotional venture by the owners of the Reds. According to my dad, his father handed them out to co-workers, and saved one for himself. (See, here I was looking for a stirring tale of my father as a kid, stretching over the wall at Crosley field to catch a foul ball, and the fielder being so impressed by the catch that he offers to take the ball to the dugout and get all his buddies to sign it...)

Thanks again.

More from Rick:

By the way, something in the way Charlie Haeffner worded his response ("Durocher being funny") prompted me to scavenge about for images of Durocher's signature (eBay!), to see if the 'D' of Durocher is enlarged and in quotes, as it is on my ball. Interestingly enough, it's not, although his 'L' and 'D' are quite pronounced, compared to the rest of his script.

As an aside, my wife works in an elementary school, and I've used these balls during their American History classes - they help spark a connection for some of the kids, specifically the boys. It's amazing to see their eyes light up when they hold in their hands the very ball once held by Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio. (On the other hand, Mell Ott has no impact - sigh!)

Thanks again.

- Rick

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