Sold! is the Lou Gehrig Single-Signed World Series Home Run Ball Dated by Owner Oct. 3, 1936 – Without question this is the actual Ball Hit By Gehrig For Home Run in World Series. This ball has never come out on the market, and was in a private collection for 72 years. The family story preserved in memory and in pen.
Lou Gehrig epitomizes the human spirit. He showed up for work every day and produced at a high level. He faced imminent death with grace. In a moment frozen in time, a teary-eyed Gehrig addressed a sold-out Yankee crowd for the final time July 4, 1939. There, he told the emotional crowd that although he had been given a bad break in life, he still had a lot of live for. Two years later, the Iron Horse would be gone forever.
The hallmark of any legendary slugger is the ability to produce when it matters the most. During his Hall of Fame career, Gehrig participated in seven World Series – winning six times. In those seven Fall Classics, Gehrig hit a robust .361 with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs.
In 1936, the Yankees ran roughshod over the American League as they won 102 times against only 51 defeats. Gehrig proved his worth with a .359 average and tied his personal-best of 49 home runs. Oh yeah, a lanky outfielder named Joe DiMaggio was a rookie on the squad. He hit a commendable .323 with 29 home runs and 125 RBIs.
The Fall Classic featured the Yankees and crosstown rival New York Giants. The Bronx Bombers were able to win in six games. So not only is this a Home Run ball from the 1936 World Series, but the Yankee’s won the World Series! History is humming in the bowels of this ball.
Provenance-How We Got It: Attending game 3 of the series were Steve and Charles Fruciano. They were sitting in section 27/28. Yes, they remember where they were sitting, wouldn’t you? In the second inning, Gehrig hit a liner which cleared the fence. Steve reached out and grabbed the ball.
Following the game, Steve took the ball to the Yankee lockerroom and presented it to Gehrig to sign for Charles. Ever the fan-conscious fellow, Gehrig happily signed a side panel and inscribed “To Charles Best Wishes” in black fountain pen. The signature and inscription rate a stellar “6-7” in quality. Gehrig’s autographs typically are not the boldest of all signatures, but adding to the value of this particular Gehrig autograph, is the the featured extra penmanship by Gehrig’s hand, as notated by authenticator, JSA.
The ball has age induced toning throughout. The red stitches have faded over the years. The stampings on the sweet spot -blue Harridge president, are barely traceable. JSA has thoroughly examined this baseball and has conclusively determined the blue stampings, in fact, are “Harridge”. You can visibly see some of the blue stampings but it is not possible to make out the president’s name with the bare eye.
Naturally, the family never realized what piece of history was actually preserved by this historic 1936 World Series moment. This ball remained sitting on their music cabinet in the hallway until decades later.
Years after the ball was signed by Gehrig, a family member was set to donate the ball to the Baseball Hall of Fame. They cleared a spot for Cal Ripken to sign on the side panel. The family thought that if they could get the Ripken, he who broke Gehrig’s record, to sign the ball, it would add allure and more historic value to the ball. We are glad to report that the Cal Ripken autograph never came to fruition and the side panel remains slightly scuffed. The date of the ball still remains and is visible and was not completely removed even after the Fruciano’s family attempt to create a special place for the Ripken autograph.
To ensure there was no other writings or autographs on the ball, JSA has further examined the ball and indeed, has confirmed the original date of “October 3, 1936” hand written on the side panel. JSA also has confirmed that there are absolutely NO other autographs or writing on this ball. To note, the date is underneath the scuffing of the side panel, confirming the date was placed on the ball much earlier, dating to the late 1930’s era.
According to the notarized letter which will serve as authentication, this ball sat in Charles Fruciano’s house from 1936-71 on Henry Street in Brooklyn, NY. The Notarized letter is signed by Charles’ grand daughter (Steve’s niece) Rosemary Turco. She was the heir to the baseball, the history, and the memory. According to the letter, the ball sat atop a music cabinet in the hallway of their apartment. After Charles and Steve’s death, the ball was given to Rosemary’s mother who lived with her and her husband from 1971 until her death.
The orb has remained with the family since the day it was caught and subsequently signed. A full JSA letter will serve as authentication on the signature, the Harridge Reach stamping, and the unknown penned date of “October 3, 1936” clear of any other writings or autographs.
Additionally verifying this historical moment, preserved from this game, is the Program from game 3 of the 1936 subway World Series between the NY Yankees and NY Giants. Stored for years in the middle of a stack of publications, it remained protected and out of the light for decades. The spine does not show the rub one would expect after 70 years, the pages are stiff and crisp, it was not scored and therefore not handled repeatedly . This was bought at the game, set aside safely until arriving to the apartment. With action front cover art signed by the artist Grant Powers and a colorful Lucky Strike ad on the back, the program has a wonderful dated vintage look.
For nostalgia purposes, we have included a game 3 ticket stub ( SGC) Slab Auth 10/3/ 1936 Yankees 2-Giants 1 Lou Gehrig HR.