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Rare Willard Hershberger Signed Magazine Photo

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Rare Willard Hershberger Signed Magazine Photo

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Solemnly revered as one of the toughest signatures of 20th Century ballplayers, a Willard Hershberger autograph is simply not available on a collector’s whim. As a catcher, Willard knocked around in the Yankee organization for a few years before finally cracking a Big League roster with the 1938 Cincinnati Reds. He was a 30-year-old rookie, and there he was assigned support duty for the Reds’ superstar backstop, Ernie Lombardi. Cincinnati won a pennant in ’39, and as they progressed toward another in 1940, Lombardi sustained an injury which sidelined him for a few games in late July. The reins of field command were turned over to Hershberger who was emotionally out of his depth for the responsibility. (He was still grieving inconsolably over his father’s recent suicide.)

The Reds dropped a game to the New York Giants on July 31st, and guilt-ridden by the loss, Willard took his own life a few days later – the only suicide ever committed by a ballplayer in mid-season. Naturally, his early and tragic demise has left only a scant few of his autographs for posterity. (Also instrumental in that dearth, however, is the fact that Willard played in the Major Leagues for only parts of three seasons…and because he was a utility catcher on the team, his autograph was not hotly pursued by fans.)

For one admirer, though, Willard signed this photo which was published in a magazine. The image appears on a quadrant comprising Willard, Lombardi, Lonny Frey and Billy Myers, and only the Hershberger photo is signed. It’s a fountain pen signature (as "W. Hershberger") diagonally traversing the 2" x 2-3/4" photo. And despite the variegated hues, this signing still projects richly – clean, and abundantly – to a quality of "8-9".    

PSA-DNA Pre-Certified

1938,Magazine,New York Giants,Pennant,Photo,Signed  Billy Myers,Ernie Lombardi,Lonny Frey,Willard Hershberger

Auction End: 03-Mar-09  Post Views: 2520

200  Price; $0.00 – $0.00




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