Rare Willie Mays Signed Authentic "Spaldeen" Stickball Custom Framed JSA COA

Sold out

In his early seasons in the Major Leagues, the "Say Hey Kid" would spend time playing stickball in the streets of Harlem with young kids. He claimed that this was how he learned to hit a curveball.  "I played stickball in the morning, around 10, for about an hour," he explained.  "There was a bunch of kids.  They'd come and knock on my window, 'cause my window was on the ground level.  I could walk from where I lived down the street to the Polo Grounds.  So I'd buy the kids ice cream, then go to the ballpark.  I did that all year in '51, and in '52 till May, when I went into the military."

Kids in New York would play with what they called a "Spaldeen" - a Spalding "Hi-Bounce" rubber ball.  A bit smaller than a tennis ball, the "spaldeen" got its name simply from the sound of "Spalding," pronounced with an affected New York accent.  Like many great names, "Spaldeen" came to represent any pink, bouncy rubber ball - though the Spalding Hi-Bounce was always the original "Spaldeen."

Presented here is a lovely shadowbox, measuring 18 1/2" x 20 1/2".  At the top, is a photographic print, measuring approximately 13" x 10 1/2", picturing Mays playing stickball on the streets of Harlem. Very cool of an idea this is - a display that doesn't celebrate Mays' Hall of Fame status, his 660 home runs, his status as one of the three or four greatest players that ever lived - it simply celebrates a superstar athlete, playing ball in the street with kids.  It's what baseball is all about.  Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.