Spahn, Sain autographed ball worth between $175-$250

Dear Babe: I have an autographed 1951 baseball from the Boston Braves. At one time (decades ago) all the signatures could be easily read; but not now. Most have faded away, but those of Warren Spahn and John Sain are clearly visible.

– Mike Reilly, Nashua

“First we’ll use Spahn, then we’ll use Sain

Then an off day followed by rain

Back will come Spahn, followed by Sain

And followed we hope by two days of rain.”

That clever ditty is attributed to Gerald V. Hern, in the Boston Post of Sept. 14, 1948. Like they say in the movie ads, it was based on a true story.

As the Braves drove toward the 1948 National League title, the dynamic pitching duo was extraordinary.

Boston swept a Labor Day twinbill, with Spahn tossing a complete 14-inning win in the opener, and Sain pitching a shutout in the second game. Then it rained for two days.

Spahn pitched the next day after the rain, and Sain won the day after that.

Three days later, Spahn won with Sain following up with a win the next day. They got a day and then were sent back for both ends of a doubleheader. They each won.

That added up to an 8-0 record over 12 days.

After their surprising pennant winning performance in 1948, the Braves immediately fell back into mediocrity.

From 1949 through the team’s last year in Boston, 1953, the Braves were fourth three times and seventh in the final year in Beantown.

A 1951 Braves ball in average condition is worth $175-$250, said Mike Gutierrez, consignment director for Heritage Auctions (www.ha.com).

He said a ball in mint condition would be the $300-$400 range.

It’s impossible to judge your ball based on a description, but it sounds as if the $175 might be a top-end value for it, depending on badly the signatures have faded.

Dear Babe: I found a Goldsmith first baseman’s glove while cleaning out my parent’s attic. In the palm, it says Frank McCormick.

– J. G., Indiana, Pa.

McCormick was an outstanding first baseman, who hit .299 in 13 Major League Baseball seasons most of which were with the Cincinnati Reds.

Between 1938 and 1946, he was an All-Star selection in eight of nine years.

He led the Reds to National league titles in 1939 and 1940 as well as playing with the Boston Braves in the 1948 Series. The Reds won it all in 1940 with McCormick earning Most Valuable Player honors.

I found the McCormick lists in an old Joe Phillips “Glove Pocket Price Guide.”

The guide said it was “very common” and valued it at $30-$90. Based on what Da Babe has seen with other gloves that top value has probably come down – unless you’ve a “mint” glove on your hands.

Babe Waxpak is written by Bill Wagner and is a feature of the Record Searchlight (www.redding.com) in Redding, CA. If you have a question for Babe Waxpak, include your full name and hometown, the card number, year and manufacturer or send a photocopy. Please do not send cards. The address is: Babe Waxpak, Box 492397, Redding CA 96049-2397 or email babewaxpak@charter.net.


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