Auction Item Details

Lot 490

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Lot Number: 490

Description: Fine Ted Williams autographed professional model glove with exceptional provenance c.1938-40. Ted Williams and Wilbert Wiley grew up within a typical group of young boys that loved playing the game of baseball. The two young men would head down to the North Park Playground to play baseball almost on a daily basis in the San Diego area neighborhood where they lived. "Wilbert Wiley was my first real boyhood pal." remarked Ted Williams. "It was right here that you and I used to play together with a ball that was wrapped in black tape, or white t ape once in a while. We used to throw curveballs at one another when he'd get off his paper route with enough light to play. Curveballs, curveballs, and then I'd go out and throw him curveballs, curveballs." as relayed by Williams about Wiley during 1992 interview. History now tells us that those endless sessions of curveballs served Ted Williams very well as he ascended quickly through the Minor League system and onto an iconic Hall of Fame career with the Boston Red Sox. Ted Williams never forgot Wilbert Wiley or any other of his young friends often keeping in touch with them over the years and on occasion sharing fond memories at that very field where it all began. In a 1992 interview at the MLB All-Star Game in San Diego Williams recounted, "I did hit my first home run here. It was 280 feet or something. Maybe 250 feet. It was just a fly ball but it was a big thing to me. Now, the last I heard is that I hit it over the street, or maybe those houses". In corroboration of that life long bond Ted Williams shared with Wilbert Wiley we are pleased to offer a professional model baseball glove used by Ted Williams which was presented to Wiley. Rawlings left handed glove is a top of the line "BH" (Billy Herman) model which at the time of issue had unusual lacing which ran through the tip of each finger (no longer present). The web between thumb and forefinger is presently a leather lace but at the time of production was a different configuration as often modified by players based on preference. The missing lacings between fingers may too have been a preference to have been removed by Williams as well. Manufacturers tag is missing from the back as is an additional piece of wrist strap leather and there is strong usage wear evident throughout the still supple leather. It has been signed "Ted Williams" in black marker rating 8/9 out of 10. Although not precisely discernible as to when the glove was presented to Wiley by Williams it clearly dates to the rookie era of Ted's playing career with the Red Sox. It is quite possible that the glove was given to Wiley during a Red Sox exhibition game played on October 5, 1941 at Lane Field in San Diego (Note included images from that game with this lot and the Foxx/Williams signed photo taken on that date). The possiblity also exists that the glove was even used during his final 1938 season with Minneapolis as well in addition to 1939 and 1940 with the Red Sox. Additionally, we note that this particular item is accompained by more physical items of provenance than any other piece of significance which we have offered in our 26 year history. Given the volume of items the following is a very basic listing of included materials, call or email for more details: Ted Williams signed 7"x9" photo by George Burke c.1940, "To Wilbert, one of the best friends I ever had you pal, Ted Williams" (likely signed during the same 1941 Lane field visit; Diamond "Official League" baseball signed, -To Wilbert your friend Best Always, Ted Williams+; Vintage sepia tone image of Red Sox exhibition game played at Lane field where Wiley likely received the glove; Black and white 8"x10" photo of Williams with Wiley and other North Park pals taken in 1980-90s signed, "To Wilbert, Who taught me how to hit the curve ball-Ted Williams"; Black and white 8"x10" photo of Williams with Wiley and other North Park pals taken in 1980-90s signed, "To Wilbert My Pal, Ted Williams"; Color 8"x10" photo of Williams with Wiley and others signed, "To Wilbert Wiley Who helped me to become a .400 hitter, Your pal, Ted Willliams"; and several other contemporary (1980-90s) publications/newspapers/documents/photographs chronicling Williams and Wiley relationship. By any standards, the offered game used glove is a monumental rarity dating to the earliest portion of Williams" legendary career. Professional model Hall of Fame gloves of this caliber and direct primary source provenance are virtually non existent. Based on the aforementioned points this particular glove must be considered as one of the finest of its type to have been offered to date. Includes LOA from PSA/DNA (glove), LOA from Hunt Auctions (glove), full LOA from JSA (signatures), letter of provenance from the Wiley family, and all provenance items mentioned within this auction description: Glove: VG-EX, Signature: NM

Estimated Price Range: ($50,000-$100,000)

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